I've noticed, along with the explosion of blogs of every sort, a number by seminarians discerning the priesthood. I've visited some of them, have some linked at your right, and seen posts from them, linked at other Catholic blogs.
Many of those seminarians visit here, and I'm delighted to have you.
But may I offer you gentlemen some advice?
Be careful about blogging!
This may seem obvious, however -- what you blog is visible to the world, including anyone in your diocese . . . including anyone who may have an agenda in your diocese . . .
I've seen blogging seminarians who boast how orthodox they are; who make it very clear they are traditional and conservative. I just visited a blog where the young man talked about heresy in one of the parishes he was involved with.
Be careful, gentlemen! You're asking for trouble...
Now, some might protest: "Shouldn't I speak up?"
Well, that depends. What did the Scripture say today: "a time for all things." There are times when you must speak up, as a seminarian; but there are many times when one feels one must -- but, on reflection, one needn't; and one might have done better to hold back. It happens to everyone of us, including seminarians with admirable zeal.
Do remember, my friends, that it is very unlikely you will face battles or choices, as a seminarian, that you won't be able to re-visit, and fight with more "heft," as a priest. In the meantime, you will learn a great many things that will not make you any less zealous, but certainly more prudent.
I don't want you to be false. Never say something you don't believe; never do something on your own initiative that you do not believe to be right.
On the other hand, there are times when you may have to remain silent; and while that can be galling, it is not necessarily a sell out. After all, in most situations, you will be acting under someone else's authority; so obeying that authority is legitimate. If that authority wants you to say something that is true, but perhaps incomplete, that need not be selling out -- and if you persevere, the time will come when you will have the authority to do it better. Then it will be your turn.
Seek out a priest -- or any friend -- who, regardless of whether you and he agree in all matters, you do hold to be a man of integrity, to be truly wise, and to have your best interests at heart, and to love the Church. He should be someone outside the seminary system. And confide in him. Let him be the one who cools you down when needed, or confirms you and gives you advice in prudence when you need to act.
Here's the thing.
Priests need to have quite a variety of gifts, including zeal, including holiness, including firmness and boldness, including orthodoxy and commitment to the Faith. But that is not the end of the list. We also need to be "gentle but ardent shepherds," as one of the collects in the Missal says; we need to be prudent, sensible, patient. We need to be able to choose our battles, because you will not be able to fight them all, at least not all at once. We need priests who can build bridges ("pontifex") to all we can. If I can find a way to proclaim the message faithfully, and keep that person who disagrees from walking out? I think that's the right way to be "pastoral."
You see, there are many temptations, and the most perilous ones are not obvious -- they are disguised as "angels of light." The temptation to be more certain than you really have right to be (I don't mean about the big things, but about more subtle matters, or about application rather than principle), the temptation to make the present situation more urgent and more unique than it is, the temptation to overestimate ones own importance (you will learn that when you've preached awhile: many listen well; but many will break your heart!)
Also, remember -- this was important to me -- that your primary task as a seminarian, is to learn and prepare. It's not your turn yet to lead. So wherever they send you: learn first; fix later. No matter how much good you do, you won't fix the whole Church -- learn to accept that fact.
Also, no matter what experiences you go through, at the seminary or anywhere else, they won't keep you from being the good, holy priest you aim to be!
If -- and please God, when -- you are a priest, you'll discover most of the faithful aren't fighting these theo-political battles. They have their own battles to fight, and whether they are conservative or liberal, what they want and will honor with extraordinary generosity and faith, are priests who lead, teach and sanctify them.
You will find, when you are a priest, that doing these "basic" things will occupy and satisfy you, with no compromise.