Article by Angela Mollard.
Marcus Goulding, who is in his seventh year at the seminary and due to be ordained a deacon on September 10, believes the church needs good priests more than ever. Now aged 25, he got the marks to study law, but the calling from God was louder. As he prepares for a life of the collar rather than the wig, he feels a responsibility for restoring the integrity of the church.
“The clergy abuse hurt me deeply. While we are all frail and sinful, I hope I can contribute to the healing and make amends for those priests,” he says.
He credits a far more rigorous formation program for ensuring that only those with genuine intentions and sound psychological health are accepted as men of the cloth. “In the past, people became priests who should never have been priests.”
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An altar boy in his local parish, Goulding experienced a calling to enter the priesthood during high school. But when he told his father of his plans, the response was far from positive. “I was a strong academic and had always said I’d do law or journalism, so I couldn’t really blame him,” he admits.
Goulding also had to consider to what extent his parents’ divorce when he was 10 steered him away from the idea of conventional marriage and fatherhood. “I’d love to be married,” he says. “I would bring a lot to being a husband and a father. But as Pope Benedict XVI said, every priest should be someone who is able to be a father, not just in a biological sense but in a human sense. Priests are often called ‘Father’ and that means a lot to me.”