If there is a course which needs to be publicised, that of relationships should be a must for all people. We are human beings. We come into contact with other people all the time. We simply know the faces of some people. Others, their names. Some, we know where they live. A few we share some common interests. The preferred ones, are our friends. The best, become best friends.
Every time that we meet a new person, a new relationship is born. The person could be simply on a nodding acquaintance, but the fact that we notice the person or the person notices us, there is a common point which could remain at that level or be developed into something more friendlier.
In a church, relationships happen all the time. We go there frequently. Most probably we meet the same people all over again. In some churches, the congregation is becoming less and less. Consequently we get to know each other more because of the small number.
Now people carry their luggages all the time. Luggages mean all their emotional and intellectual and physical experiences. Some are looking for company, others are looking for attention. The list of colours of human needs is truly infinite. In any case, the people who go to church, like all other people have their own needs. It’s this hidden agenda which may give new life or kill/poison relationships. Unknowingly, people tend to see the outer layer (the body). But beneath that, there is a complex layer of humanity which includes several hidden assets or challenges.
Now coming to our main theme: that of a priest woman relationship, it has all this plus many more. The priest is the one who is supposed to listen. There aren’t many people who tend to listen outside the best friend ring. Consequently, unknowingly, he puts himself in a vulnerable position. In other jobs (in psychology), people are trained to deal with these issues. In most cases the priest has been trained in philosophy and theology, but rarely in emotional development (except the usual keep your distance approach!). He is already in a big disadvantage. In most cases he does not know how to deal with most of the cases he listens to, except for the fact that people bestow on him the power to speak about relationships with no professional training at all!!!
The woman who speaks to him, is seeing just one angle of the priest: obviously the most attractive which is the caring man who listens to her needs and who is no hurry. He might be physically very attractive too, which adds more fire to the burning heart. The more the woman shares about her personal life, the deeper their relationship becomes. Obviously, sharing fuels all great relationships.
Unknowingly, the fact that they speak in a private place adds more intimacy, which makes their relationship one step away from a truly deep one. Now in a professional setting, the professional person, although he/she listens to one’s personal stories, keeps the distance in a healthy way. In the case of the priest, who lacks professional training, and who passes through crisis and has no supporting wife or significant other, becomes more prone to fill up his life with such a relationship. It’s his inner suffering or emptiness which makes him call for help. The woman, in many cases is the only one who knows about his inner turmoil. When the priest, shares his own personal experience, he changes from a counsellor to a client. He needs a counsellor, where the woman, maybe out of pity, fulfils this job.
During such level of intimacy, in most cases, the promise of celibacy has already been broken, with or without sex. The personal attention and the level of sharing implies a very special friendship. Even married people at this point are in a very delicate situation. It’s very easy to slip over and from a deep relationship it turns out to be a romantic one. The fact that social media has brought many lives very near each other could mean that now relationships are put in a new light. People can share and get to know each other without physically meeting at all. Again this influences the woman-priest relationship, when in order to avoid gossip they prefer to meet online. Once there is a deep sharing from both sides, it’s a question of time when kissing, hugging and the rest becomes part of their story. In most cases, both of them feel the lack of important relationships. Hence their relationship is the only one which keeps them going.
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