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Women deacons = married priests?

When we were at school, we used a particular expression called the missing link (referring to apes in view of human beings). We are all the time pushing for a married priesthood. Yet maybe we are missing a good link. How can the Catholic Church allow its priests to get married when there is a low appreciation of women? The fact that some women marry a priest and are still regarded as those who tempted the priest to abandon the altar (table where mass is celebrated), may speak volumes! Why are all important decisions taken by men in the church?

The recent decision by the Pope to allow studies to investigate (it’s still a study, please don’t jump into conclusions), the case of women deacons, may finally help our cause. What’s a deacon? Well the deacon is one who celebrates all the sacraments (except mass and the sacrament of reconciliation), and could deliver a homily (explanation of the readings) during mass. But if you want a more detailed and a biblical explanation, go for this link. In any case, together with the married apostles, there is the hidden figures of their wives. What did they do? Surely as married couples, they were aware of Jesus’ call.

Let’s not forget about the Holy mother of God, Mary. She carried baby Jesus in her womb for nine whole months. Now by general criteria of priesthood, she would classify as a priestess: she gave Jesus to the world; She had great intimacy with her son; She suffered and practically took part in the sacrifice on the cross. In many saintly books, she is portrayed as the one who leads to Jesus (priests’ work). How can such a glaring example go unnoticed?

Mary Magdalene was the first person who saw the risen Christ, before the apostles according to the gospel. Does not this give a special message to women’s active participation in the church?

In today’s world, it’s still the woman in many cases who nurtures and keeps a close contact with children. She is the one to pass or not to pass on faith. She is the one who attends most frequently church activities (in some areas, statistics prove this). Lay women and lay men are the ones who share the priest’s vision for their parish. In most priestless parishes, they are the ones who are guarding our treasures. Whether we like it or not, this is going to be the future. Priests are much less and in the Western world they are going to be in such a small number, that they would be completely outnumbered by lay people. Shall we live in denial and still press for celibate priests?

On another level, one main argument which is being unfortunately discarded is that of the signs of the times. God is not enclosed in a book. God can speak to anybody in any time. If all the corporations, companies, schools and the general public, there is rising awareness of the importance of females, how can the church put its head in the sand by ignoring women? How can God speak to the general public in one way and then speak differently to the church?

In David Rice’s book, (Shattered Vows, Exodus from the priesthood), there is ample proof that the priests’ wives have increased the spirituality and enthusiasm of the priest to work for others whether in a sacramental form or another. Instead of writing negative comments about the church, maybe we need to be more positive and write about the miracles which take place in today’s church, through the active participation of women. Let’s hear from our readers, how they sanctify priests!

One of our readers has asked a few ‘outside the box’ questions. I believe that if our blog has to continue and increase readers, one of the key elements has to be honesty. Well I’m trying to be as honest as possible by answering her questions. It has to be one of the imperative motivations when working with adults in the church: no question could be discarded; nobody should feel embarrassed to ask any kind of question.

We are being told that the reason why women are not priests is because Jesus was a man, celibate, and his disciples were men, therefore to follow in his footsteps, a priest must be a man. Married priests, well, it has to do with money, and would cost the Church way too much to support not only the families, but in a case of divorce, it would be too costly for child support, etc. Everything has to do with money, and having more time to ”devote” to his church, therefore priests should remain celibate.

That’s another myth which says that married priests will cost more. Actually some of my priest-friends who are not Catholic are telling me that a single, unmarried priest in the Western world, costs much more when taking into account the whole picture. But let’s base our arguments on the bible. Yes it’s true that most of the apostles were married. Nobody can deny that. It’s true as well that celibacy has a biblical value. Again nobody can deny that. In our opinion the conflict is that they have tied celibacy with the priesthood. We are in favour of a well chosen celibacy and not a forced one as it is now, where every priest has to promise celibacy. Regarding the married priest not being available is a lie as most of them are more available more than non-married ones. Try to phone a non-married and see if you’ll get an answering machine. Phone the married one and you’ll be answered to, together with the sound of a happy family, children running, shouting etc….

Apparently, Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene? Apparently, proof of that, is that back in the day, a man was not allowed to ”preach” if he was single. Otherwise he would have been put to death. So, Jesus was married? She was referred to as the Holy Grail. Mary M followed him everywhere and was also in the painting of the Last Supper, right beside him. Apparently they also have a daughter.

Another point: Apparently in the past, there was one woman Pope, but the reason she had succeeded in becoming Pope was because she pretended to be a man. Evidence proved otherwise when she became pregnant.

Apparently the Church is hiding all this from us because it would cause a whole revolution in the catholic Church, starting with women justifying becoming priests, pope, etc. ??

I have now watched “Da Vinci Code”, and now, I admit, I am more confused than ever. Can you shed some light please…. and why if it is not true, are there so many documents and videos that talk about such stuff? (I have not watched the videos to confuse me even more, but saw that there are tons out there!)

Well thanks to the internet we are being exposed to more ideas in a shorter time! On the other hand we have to be very careful when it comes to believe who is saying the truth. We have seen it before in books and newspapers (not all that was published was true), and we are seeing it again on the internet. It’s ok to put your ears to the ground and hear what other people are saying. But in this camp we need people who have studied theology in order to digest everything with theological glasses. That’s why we need more laity (ie not priests, nuns or friars but baptised people), to go for theological studies, as in the future most parishes (maybe already!) are going to be run by laity whether Rome likes it or not.

Now regarding the special woman called Mary of Magdalene. We only share news and secrets with the most trusted friends or significant others. It’s a fact that when Jesus was resurrected he appeared first and foremost to her (Mary of Magdalene!!). The resurrection is central to our faith. Now that theologically means a lot. There surely was a very sound relationship spiritually. Why did he appear to her BEFORE the apostles??!!

Secondly, it wasn’t normal for a man in the Jewish mentality to let a woman touch him in public. She did when she washed his feet……now we can’t jump into conclusions. Other hearsay doesn’t mean it’s true, but neither can we discard that there was a truly good relationship between the two. Now we can never be sure of a marriage or of a daughter (to be truthful). This is like in court, we cannot condemn some body because we think he’s a criminal. Only one concrete proof condemns him to prison. In theology we need some kind of proof before we can accept it as true. Now we understand that it’s not easy to study about somebody who lived around 2000 years ago!

On the other hand, some cultural changes, makes us read the bible with new eyes. Women are not to be excluded from important decisions. Hence, whether we have proof or not from the bible, we can testify that today’s cultural vision (regarding women occupying important roles in society), is another way of God talking to us. We never believed that the bible is the ONLY vehicle through which God speaks to us! God cannot be closed in one single book! He goes beyond the bible. Besides, most of the theologians believe that there is not single sound theological reason why women can be excluded from priesthood!

Another important note is that all theologians teaching at a university need a permission from their local bishop. Hence if a theologian is studying (not simply hearsay or just reading a newspaper) and comes to a different conclusion, most probably he would have his licence to teach, withdrawn! This effects their studies, lectures etc…..We only hope of having one single university in the world, where theologians would be totally free to come forward with odd ideas!

We encourage all our readers to continue the debate…..

I would have never guessed that such cases do really exist. How could a priest treat his wife like a slave? Although he is not functioning as a priest any more, yet he was trained and lived as a priest (in public) for many years. Technically he is still a priest because once a priest is always a priest. How can one explain such barbarism with a fragile woman? We are looking to our honest and mature readers in order to receive their kind feedback. Is there a human rights’ lawyer amongst our readers?

It’s very easy to pass judgement. It’s harder to help and try to win this difficult situation. As adults in faith we are obliged to help first and foremost. Hopefully it will serve as an eye opener for other women.

My name is Patricia. I did not have high education and worked with my family since I was 16 years old. Lately we had financial difficulties.

I decided to search for a man on the internet. A man (Lawrence) contacted me. He wanted to marry me. He promised me a better life. He promised to take me to several exotic places. A friend I knew called me and told me about Lawrence. He knew about him and consequently I trusted Lawrence more.

Lawrence sent in all the papers necessary for marriage to my country. I still had some doubts but Lawrence would every time assure me of a better life.

Because of his compelling words and my own dreams to have a good and happy family life, I made the biggest mistake in my life and agreed to book the marriage at the Registration office to get married.

We finally got married. On our wedding night he wanted to sleep saying that he was tired. The second day was the same. I understood that he was not interested in me as a women. He acted like he was afraid of me or he was never before together with a women. I asked him why and he told me that he was a Catholic Priest for a long time and never had any sexually contact with a women, so he needed time and my help too.

I believed what he said and trusted him, but every time he was angry and would shout at me. There was always a reason to be angry at me.

One day after coming back home he said that the following day he was going back to his country!!

I asked about myself. He said that I would go at a later date.

I didn’t hear anything from Lawrence. i tried to contact him on the internet but he did not reply. Finally he replied on a certain date. The message was devastating. He asked me to go to the Registration office and ask for the cancellation of the marriage!!

If we wanted to cancel the marriage we had to go to the Court and ask for divorce. But Lawrence does not want a divorce. He wants me to go to the Registration Office and delete the Marriage certificate.

Every day I cried and begged him not to ask that from me because it was very difficult to stay alone and with my family relatives asking so many questions about ‘us’.

Then Lawrence agreed to let me visit his country but I had to promise him to obey him and to work hard.

I went to his country. His brother and wife picked me up from the Airport and I stayed with them until Lawrence arrived, as he was abroad.

Soon I discovered that his house seemed like a Guest House because people from all around the world used to come and stay free of charge. He drove them all around the island, going to the beaches and restaurants, while I was not permitted to join them and had to go for work and take care of the guest house and host all visitors.

He did not allow me to call my family and shouted to me not to call them nor to talk with them. This was the start of more bad things. He wanted me to work and he found me a job as a dish and pot washer in a beach restaurant.

I worked 7 hours a day, it was hard and heavy work and one morning I could hardly move due to pain in my back, but Lawrence forced me to go for work.
I worked again for 5 hours, but my back hurt me a lot and I couldn’t work any more. Lawrence became devilish to me…screaming, cussing and he beat me. It was the first time since I was with him.

Every day he had women from different countries in his house and he wanted me to host them. He brought the women saying that it was their house and they could enjoy themselves.

Myself, as his legal wife, he always said not to touch this, and not to use that, not to use water or hot water, electricity etc…

He founded another restaurant where I had to work (cleaning dishes and pots for 6 hours a day). It was a very hard job for me, but Lawrence forced me to work and he would not allow me to stay at home while he was enjoying him self with the women guests in his house, he drove them around and accompanied them to beaches where they swam. With the meagre pay I received I had to buy the Grocery
for home.

Many times he ate from his mother’s or friends’ and from restaurants’ while I stayed at home, hungry and with no money to buy food. But to his guests he wanted me to pretend that I was a happy wife.

When I lost my second job, Lawrence was very angry again and he said “if you do not go to work i will bring you men to have sex with them to earn money!”. I immediately refused and promised him that he would do that, than I would readily commit a suicide as I was not a prostitute.

Lawrence brought me to a cleaning company to work for 4 hours per day in a Bank. I was very happy with that job but he wasn’t because he wanted me to me to work full time.

With the money I earned he forced me to buy foods and everything needed in
a household.

Besides, during my work, Lawrence always guided me outside the house and told me not to talk with other people. Once he saw me talking with a neighbour. He was furious and warned me again not to talk with other people outside his house.

All the time I was there he wanted me to visit his parents and spend time with them but no one else. Lawrence expected a lot from me, I had to obey him and to take care of him. I had to hand him the money I earned. But he did nothing for me nor to make my life better. He gave me lots of hopes and promises before our marriage, but they were all empty promises.

Lawrence told me that he had a friend in another country and they needed someone to look after their disabled child. I was not happy to go to another country and to look after a disabled child. I came to his country because he married me,
but he did not want to treat me as his wife.

He said again that if I earned enough money I could stay in his house, if not, I had to pack up and go back to my country.

I dared warn him that if he would not treat me as his wife, then I wanted to divorce him. He told me that I had to pay for a lawyer. He beat me again. Lawrence always warned me not to talk with his neighbours, nor to his brother and wife or his parent what was really going on between us.

I lost the cleaning job at the Bank because I asked for a full time job. In the meantime I met a lady Doctor. She said that her cousin needed someone to clean dishes and pots in his restaurant. It was a part time job again. Lawrence did not want me to stay in his home doing a part time job. Incredibly he
not earn the amount of money he demanded from me!!

Lawrence threatened me to put me on the streets. He offered me the solution of going back to my country. If not, he would kill me!!!

My marriage with Lawrence took place in a cloud of lies, manipulations and
force. Now he is refusing to grant me a divorce.

Lawrence has a reputation, as a priest, of being a pillar of society. [Officially he has left priesthood now]. He vows to serve as a man of God and help people in need..whenever they are in need. Actually it seems that he was helping himself in order to have a decent living from the proceeds of his fund raising.

In the mean time, with his own hand he had turned me into an ‘Orphan’ because of his unreasonable treatment towards me. I’m his legal wife. He married me under false pretences and have treated me like a piece of scum ever since.

His marriage duty bounded him to look after me, his legal wife…to take care of me in good and bad times and to take care my body and soul.

Since the end of 2015 I haven’t heard anything from Lawrence. I am desperate and do not know what to do. I can’t pay a lawyer to help me with the Divorce. I can’t go back to Lawrence’s country for problems with visa. He destroyed my life and made me the outcast of the village. I live here in my country as a registered married women. Consequently I can’t start a new relation without a divorce.

We had some technical problems so we couldn’t publish this story yesterday. Thank God we have solved our problems and we are again publishing regularly.

My name is Lucy! My heart aches when I read all this stories.. First of all please note that English is not my first/native Language, so I apologize if I make a grammar mistake.

I received Catholic Education in Private Schools all my life until High School, Nuns/Priests schools which in my country are very common since we are a Majority of Catholics.. so I found myself a very caring/respectful person towards a Priest. Actually I’ve been sending money monthly to the Seminary of my city for about… I do not know more than a decade every month.

I just met this priest around 6 months ago, this is actually his 2nd or 3rd year as a priest. He is 10 years younger than I am.
I’ve been married for 15 years, I started thinking about him since I first met him… it was basically pure attraction and I now I am not certain if its just attraction, I just cannot get him out of my mind..

When I realised about this feelings I thought…. Really God? Is this a bad joke? I’ve been helping the Seminary of my city for 15 years and now I am falling in love with a Priest? Is this a temptation? Am I crazy? What am I thinking? Guilt, Sin etc…I am married and he is a man of God bla bla…… all this words crossing my mind.. I was educated so as to always pray for Priests, to always respect Priests etc.,

How did all this start? Well my boys started going to the catechism in the Parish.. both go with him and both just love him and he loves them too. I started getting involved in the activities in which moms were needed so I helped a little bit during some important celebrations.

I do not know if he likes me, but sometimes I think.. yes.. We started getting together from time to time, not alone, but always with some people but he looks at me in a way I can hardly stand, I turn all red, I say non-sense things, I can’t talk,… when he looks at me my legs shake, all inside of me shakes.

When he says Hi, he gives me a kiss on the cheek and he holds my hand longer than a normal Hi takes… sometimes he tells me you are cold… or whatever my temperature is.. haha!! or he just holds it like if he doesn’t want to let it go…or let it go very very softly and slow..

He is always looking for physical contact, he rubs my arm, my elbow, my back, once he even rubbed my leg, (I have to confess I almost died) all this for a few seconds, but I think he doesn’t know the effect his touch has on me… when I am with my kids he can’t stop looking at me, as if we are “kind of alone” he behaves very affectionate, but if we are with a lot of people he doesn’t even talk to me… he hardly says hi, and he becomes sometimes cold, distant.. or he turns to the opposite side..

During celebrations, not properly the mass, (but sometimes even there), in other celebrations or activities I see him looking at me… smiling at me in a very discrete way, but never never says hi until people would have just left… He stands up close to me.. and he rubs my arm… and how can I forget one time I was alone and he came and stood up right in front of me..with his guitar singing God knows what because 1st, he was singing very low.. and 2nd.. I just could not pay attention because I got so nervous that I just got deaf.. after all this or when something “important” happens he just goes away, he just stops talking to me or tries not to even look at me… sometimes he even adopts this “I am a priest position.”

He has never said anything to me… not one single thing… all he does is just what I told you… and I have never said anything to him either… but I think he knows… Obviously I do not confess with him but I do it with another priest of the same Parrish but I do not speak about my situation with him. I have told the priest that my friend-priest is someone I know from work.. anybody else knows because once I tried to speak about this with my friends but nobody understood what I was going through and all they thought was that he was a bad priest…

I started going to Therapy, my Psychologist said I should tell him in confession… or just ask him what was going on, why all this touching? But then I asked for spiritual advice from a priest and he said no way I should say anything, that I should live with it and change my feelings and move on… continue with my marriage.

Of course I understand this leads me to nothing.. I am married, he is a man of God, which I do not really try to disturb, even when I know I might be doing it already… I already feel terrible for being in this terrible sin, sometimes I do not even participate in communion specially if he is giving it because I just can’t look at him that close… I feel ashamed and not deserving it because of all this feelings and thoughts I have in my mind…

I would be very very glad if you can just give me an advice..!

One who is reading our stories, may get the impression that the only challenge for priests – in view of relationships – is the that of women. Well, after eighteen years living in a monastery we can safely say that most priests are attracted to men! Some readers have already pointed out, that the monasteries is an all men club. So it’s no discovery that most of them like, enjoy and feel secure with other men. This is another reason why married priests is never going to be a priority for whom relationships are equal to men.

We are in favour of relationships. We are never going to condemn anybody who falls in love. We know from many other stories, that nobody selects the person with whom it may fall in love. Yet we want to state clearly that we are not in favour of clandestine relationships, whether it’s with a man or a woman. Secret relationships point to all the negative connotations. It may seem interesting and exciting at the beginning, but one may soon feel all the negative effects, mentioned in several of our readers’ comments.

Today, we have the story of a man who falls in love with a priest. We are happy that men too write to our blog as it reflects the hidden reality which is found in many cases around the world. It maybe that in most cases in the Western World, men find it difficult to put their case in writing. We hope that this example may encourage other men to write too.

My name is Eli. My story is probably not very different although I am a committed man in a relationship with another man. This year, I decided to try return to my previous parish. My first mass there, the priest essentially cornered me and made the excuses giving me confession in his office after mass. Then it proceeded to having drinks and then on another occasion dinner. Following this, we had an exchange via text and email that was exciting, In the excitement of getting to know a new person, and also having flirtations.

Did I mention that this priest is a very good-looking man? In our discussions, he mentioned the things that he could not do as being part of the church. So many things, of course sexual and also do not have favouritism, or exclusivity for anyone person in particular. In our discussions, he mentioned to me that after six years he had prayed to God to be given a companion. Obviously there is an attraction there, and I’m certain that it is mutual. There has been nothing physical, however I feel that six months later I cannot be in this situation in my life of having to take care of the emotional needs of a lonely priest.

It was not more then two months and that I was feeling a very strong emotional connection to him and feelings of love. I mentioned this to him and he hoped that he was not the cost for instigating or starting any of these feelings, And begged me not to make any rash decisions and leave my relationship.

In this time, he has gotten to know my partner and I, and my children. Currently, my feeling is that he has potentially developed some feelings for me and is running away from them and so can run hot and cold with me. It is in this way that he says: ‘God bless you’, that makes me feel his instead of saying something else. However I might just be the one that is a bit delusional here. I consider myself very intelligent person, and feel that an emotional level I’m dealing with someone who has the intellectual capacity in relationships of an 11-year-old. He can go from being very sweet and caring one day, to ignoring me for four days.

I’ve told my partner about this maddening crush, and have prayed for a long time about it. I no longer want to play guessing games, or be used by anyone else to make them feel better about themselves. I would really like a solution to this situation; Do I continue to harbour a friendship? Or do I close the door on this, and move on. I should also mention that in the meantime this priest has also developed a fondness for my partner and my partner is more interested in continuing with the same parish. I think if I had my way, I would leave. I’m hoping readers can provide me with some insight on the situation.

Some readers were moaning that we were just publishing impossible love stories. Priests were simply playing with girls/women and leaving them hanging on for ages, without ever deciding to go for the big jump. Well first of all, these are the readers’ stories. We do provide false names in order to cover up some personal details (at the request of the readers), but we never make up stories. If the readers are sending these type of stories, please don’t blame us! Secondly, it amply shows that most priests would never leave their comfort zone. So this could be an excellent lesson for those who have just joined our blog!

Finally, we did receive a story with a very happy ending! But it does not mean that there aren’t other successful stories. Most probably they don’t bother to publish their stories. If you do know of other successful stories, please try to contact the people involved and kindly ask them if they wish to see their love story published.

Hello. I’m Amelia. I happen to be someone who did fall in love with a man who left the priesthood to pursue our relationship. His name is Ivan. We met at his parish and are still together more than five years later. I came out of a very bad relationship and the love that I have received from this man has changed my life. It is all about commitment.

There were times in this process when it was very difficult and still is at times but that is life. I like A’s comment. If it is meant to be it will happen and last. Falling in love with a priest is not what I planned and not what he planned either. We live openly and I have not tried to hide our relationship any more. It has amazed me what a wonderful and loving man has come into my life and I thank God every day for that love. Leaving the priesthood can be done, but it is full of ups and downs. My life hasn’t been easy so I never expected this journey to be easy and neither did he.

We support each other and realize at this point in our life that we need each other. After he left the church it was very difficult at times. I worried a lot about whether or not he would want to go back and how he was going to make a living. His steadfastness and dedication to us has been amazing. We are slowly building a life together and more people know about our relationship now. I hope that in our small way we are showing our local community that life can go on after leaving the priesthood.

When we first started having feelings for each other it was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. One of our repeated conversations that we like to have is pinpointing that moment when we knew we were developing feelings for each other.

Going down this road is not for the faint of heart but before this I felt very hardened and almost had a lack of understanding what love really was between two people. Priests who want to leave to pursue a different life should be supported and I wish there were better support systems for that. I wish we could help others who are considering leaving and help them and support them.

Well we are here to give a helping hand. Readers please be active by asking all the questions you deem fit. It’s up to Amelia and Ivan to answer our questions.

We are providing just one link (there are many others), where the love of a woman has enhanced the life of the priest. Just click here.

I am Petra, my friend/priest’s name is James. We first met in our place where he was invited to celebrate mass, since after that he was already close to our family. He even brought us to his hometown and met his family there, it was such an experience to be able to know him better as a person. Many days have passed; we were consistent in our communication like every day. If he wasn’t busy, he would call/text until we were actually seeing each other and when the time came he confessed his love for me. We secretly meet once every week. We went out at some private place where we were free to express our love to each other; we kissed, held hands and made love. Our relationship got deeper and my family had a suspicion of us being so close to each other.

There was a time that I forgot to log out my account on my laptop and left it on. I didn’t know that one of our family member tried to use it, and accidentally saw our conversation, including our pictures, and printed all of it as proof. I was unaware that they started to investigate my schedule every time I stepped out from our house and there was a parishioner as well who reported to my family when my priest was not around at the church, so they would trace us to see if we had met.

After what happened we’ve talked about it we both admitted that we felt guilty of what we had did; we lied to them just to have our own happiness without knowing that it would have hurt other people immensely; he told me that he was willing to sacrifice his love. He told me that we would have stayed as friends and nothing would have changed. At that time I thought that it was really over between us but fortunately, later on, he was sorry for things he had said to me because he was stressed and confused at that moment. We are still fighting for our relationship. It has been 2 months since we last met. We are not meeting just to avoid the issue for the meantime and I don’t know until when we are doing this.

I describe my family as religious and conservative type; I can obviously tell that they can’t accept him because of his status, his age (we have a big gap, he’s much older than me) and they don’t want to lessen their dignity as well. In our country priests here are highly respected people. They think that once a priest they can’t commit sin, they are not supposed to hang out with girls, they can’t enjoy, they can’t drink in public, etc. I don’t think it is a sin to marry a priest but in the eyes of the people it is already a sin.

As long as we love each other we can survive the upcoming circumstances, I am not afraid and ready of what people will be saying about us nor about me because I know what kind of situation am I into.

Sometimes I asked him about his plans if he would leave or continue. He has no answer yet but he was happy that we’ve come this far. He had mentioned the idea of having a business and sometimes he had mentioned that he wanted to have a family in the future. There are some cases where he’s having a problem on dealing with his superiors; based on my observation I don’t think he’s happy anymore. Well in fact he requested the higher official to give him a break from religious life but unfortunately they gave no feedback about his request, so it’s still pending.

Falling in love is not just for the young ones. Even falling in love with a priest is not always a story between a young priest and a young woman, as this story illustrates. This is Jacqueline who is sharing her story with all our readers. She is first telling her story. In the second part, I’ll ask her some questions.

I think I just have to share this story. I am still shocked by it. It goes like this: I met this new priest about four years ago. We clicked instantly. He is now 48 years and I am now fifty. I was never married because I never wanted to, however I was so attracted to this foreign priest who came to our isles. Yes we kissed but there was never any sexual relations because I believed I should not be the one to do that with a priest [old school thinking]. After four years into the friendship he was transferred to another parish. He still visited my home once a week. Eighteen months in this parish he called me to tell me that he was leaving the country because of a situation [a sexual relation with a seventeen years and nine months girl and to please forgive him]. He said he had ignored her several times but eventually one day it happened.

One month afterwards, the girl started calling him and telling him dirty things when he was seen speaking with other women. When he told her about it, the girl told her parents. The result was that the priest had to flee the country like a scared puppy, never to return. All the parents wanted was that he would leave the country. We were in contact every step of his journey and I knew his agony.

Parishioners never knew the true reason why he was leaving. However, from his religions order (eg Franciscans, Jesuits, Carmelites etc…), where I knew some priests, I was able to find out that the young girl took a ready made meal at times to the priest. On that fateful day, realising that the priest was intoxicated, she began stripping and a sexual relationship took place. One priest told me that she was a problem girl and that it was evident in her messages e.g are you f***ing her?

I told him that I loved him as he left. A few days later we spoke and he said that it was a real test for him. The girl sent him a message saying that she hated him because her parents now hated her. That was two days after he left. He never replied and he never heard from her again. As for me I was in shock for days and I realised that if he cannot be faithful to God he cannot be faithful to no one. He is many many miles away from me but we do still communicate.

Where did you meet?
I met him in my parish.

What is his character?
I found he was the humblest man I ever met.

What was happening in his spiritual life?
He was extremely lonely for all his relatives were abroad. He was quite spiritual but very realistic.

What do you really think about his relationship with an under age girl?
I found he drank a bit too much but he never drank alone. After drinking he may have said foolish things. He was from a country where girls marry at sixteen years of age. Like in his country, he thought that a minor was sixteen years and under. I understand the temptation of priests. A priest in his order confided the entire scenario of what happened that dreadful day and the fact that the girl stripped in his presence to me, she was out for him and it was premeditated.

Why do you keep communicating? Is there a future for your relationship?
The incident is still fresh in my mind, I still want to know that he is good. He asked my forgiveness so I bear no grudges and he is miles and miles away from me, so very soon the communication will dwindle and he will be a memory. Definitely there is no future for us but I wish for him to get counselling and stop the drinking and be a good priest again.

Now to our readers to start the discussion. Just to start the ball rolling, does a sexual relationship happen all of a sudden? Is a priest prepared for such situations?

Faith – Love – Celibacy

This week we have a general reflection by one of our readers – Anna. She has been a regular reader of our blog. She wishes to share her thoughts with the rest of the readers. We welcome all those who wish to write their opinion as we wish to make it your blog. In fact the last post has created a record of 106 messages! Well done to all our readers. We invite the new ones to overcome fear and share their story with the rest of the readers.

A man becomes a priest when surrounded by a religious environment that influences him to choose that specific religious pathway. Some are inspired by the life of saints or, while still in their early teens, pushed by their families to acquire a better education. The older generation thought that having a priest in the family gave them a better chance to get a good spot in heaven.

The young seminarians live and grow within a typical regimented spirit; going to Mass, to Holy Communion and the various piety practices just because all the others do so, too. Sometimes the spirit of devotion at that young age is reduced to the “must” of practice. As they grow a little older, they discover that the world is also populated by pretty girls. They start to have feelings, which they initially dismiss as wrong, evil thoughts for a seminarian heading to priesthood and a life of chastity, poverty and obedience.

Repression, however, is not a Christian behaviour. It is destructive and results in physical, psychological and emotional imbalances. The desire to approach a superior to confide a priest’s inner turmoil is often brushed aside with an “it will get better, don’t worry,” statement. The hierarchy makes communication inadequate because of defensive responses, distorted perceptions, mutual antagonisms and sometimes just raw ignorance. No wonder then, that many priests start wondering why their activity within the church has to be such a barren life and decide to leave.

The leadership of the church has always been in the hands of elderly males who repel anything new, different of what they have been used to follow for generations. They are terrified by any sort of reforms and, with rare exceptions, blindly reject any possibility to bring the archaic church laws and regulations up to date with the advanced realities of life on the planet earth and its society. They believe only in the things they want to believe. Yet, they are human and subject to the same sins they so fiercely condemn.

One of those sins is sexuality, which is portrayed by the church fathers as taboo, an evil to be avoided at all costs. Yet the root cause of most sinful or scandalous behaviour was the church’s policy on celibacy, which is considered by the medical establishment and a larger portion of the public opinion, including that of practising Catholics, as simply unhealthy, unnatural and damaging to the individual, physically, emotionally and psychologically. It serves no useful purpose and only did, and still does, generate much pain and suffering to healthy young and not so young men who are prevented from expressing their love for another human being and live happy and productive lives.

Celibacy should no longer be an imposition but a choice. Many priests find themselves in the position where they would love to share with a female soul their faith, their ministry or their missionary work. What is wrong with the church that it can do nothing more for the present inner conflicts, the exodus of clergy and the anguish this creates for thinking men within the church?

Most Catholics hope that the present Pope, Francis, will adjourn the celibacy issue and adapt it to the times we are living in. Whether he will succeed is questionable, being surrounded as he is, and pressured by an aging population of Cardinals, Bishops and Monsignors who are strongly resistant to change and therefore inflexible towards the needs of a newer generation of church workers, priests and missionaries.

It is important to point out that a priest leaving his status is not a delinquent Christian. In many cases he merely chose to live his Christian commitment in secular life. Not all leave due to the celibacy issue. Some feel that the original motivation leading to a decision to become a priest has not been fulfilled. Some leave the priesthood with a mixture of courage and uncertainty. To leave a structured situation that provides entirely for the logistics of living takes a great deal of strength. Many old thoughts and habits are to be shed and there is much new stuff to be learned. Help to re-establish him when leaving the ministry would be advisable, as most of his training and experience is not helpful in the lay world.

To some degree, priests are ignorant of practical matters of everyday life such as, how to approach an employment interview, where to buy clothes, how to live on earnings, how to build a social life, and that includes the emotional aspect when dealing with the opposite sex. He will need to know a little more than how to make love to a woman. He will need to get acquainted with a woman’s chemistry and all those things that up until then had been denied to him and kept from him to avoid the sinful temptation of the flesh.

Conversely, the woman that falls in love with a priest would need some sort of psychological and emotional introduction to his educational formation as they all have individual needs and a standardized procedure can definitely not be followed. It does take enormous courage on both sides to face the many, initial obstacles, and to build a strong, long-lasting happy relationship. Celibacy may no longer be part of their lives, but Faith and Love will prevail and remain.

Another priest goes cold

Hi, my name is June and ever since I’ve grown emotionally attracted to my parochial vicar at my church, things at my parish have never felt the same. Since our parochial vicar came in 2013, after his ordination, I knew I had found him attractive, but at this point in time, I didn’t really pay too much mind to it. As I started to work in ministries again, I got to see him more and as a result we grew closer. He began to know my name and face, and he would lit up like a kid with a cookie when he saw me but of course I kept things very formal.

It wasn’t until his mother died, that he began to grow more affectionate. Since he was gone for over 2 months, I generally began to miss his presence. It was sad to not see him around and it had always given something to look forward to. But since we are friends on Facebook, I would write him and show my support and he greatly acknowledged and appreciated that. When he returned,
I had a conversation with him about college and my overall fear of the future and he assured me all would be fine, and extended his arm out to me, and he allowed me to lay on his shoulder for quite some time. He kept saying how he knew I would do something good and how much I cared for people since he said I was very supportive to him when his mom had passed.

It was strange at first but it felt like two teenagers in love, smiling at each other outside and hugging in front of the parish office since I had been there for a night catechist dinner gathering. From there the interaction grew more affectionate, he would compliment me by telling me I was holy and perfect and a saint. He would hug me tightly when I went to say hello after mass or at an event. When I told him once how much he inspired me to become a better catholic, he hugged me instantly and said he loved me. I was stunned since I had feelings for him and only dreamed he’d say those words. But initially I said I love you too. For a spiritual appointment, we were together for over an hour and after we finished, he said he was proud of me and that he loved me, so when he stalked towards me in his office, he took me in his arms and hugged me tightly.

He kept telling me that it would be ok and laid his head on mine while we held onto each other for well over a minute. I, of course, was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to make of the situation. I knew it was wrong to like my parochial vicar but I had never met such a good hearted man. Later that same day, after mass I apologized to him for everything at the appointment and told him I loved him too, which his response was “I love you too”. And we would smile at each other while saying this, like little kids with a crush. From there on moving forward, I reached a point of insecurity of his feelings for me and began to go up to him at wrong times and be too comfortable talking to him about things.

One day he snapped at me, and I was completely hurt by it because he was always so sweet and never crossed. When I went to see him for reconciliation he told me that I needed to set boundaries and told me I wasn’t the centre of his universe. It confused me because I had never said that I was. During the confession, I said I was happy we were still friends and that he doesn’t hate me, in which his response was that he didn’t and that he was my priest. Which I said I know but I meant part of my parish family, and he once again said “I’m your priest”. The situation puzzled me why he all of a sudden was being so hostile. We didn’t hug any more, and I tried to not interact with him for any reason. I was incredibly hurt.

For some weeks after, I served as a greeter and he said hello to me and after mass, he said thank you for serving. I had always sent him cards for Easter and his birthday and so I did, and he thanked me for those but yet when I invited him to my birthday dinner he never came even though he told me he received the email. I found it strange because even though I’m young, doesn’t mean we couldn’t be friends. He’s only 30 and went to two birthday events in the past for a woman turning 40 who was married and works at the church, and a 75 year old birthday for a parishioner, so I wondered why he never showed up to mine. But back at church, when I brought a drawing of Jesus that I had made, he approached me and he admired it, saying it was beautiful and asking if i drew it. Which I said yes and he continued to look at it with awe. I don’t know if he ever had feelings for me and set boundaries in general or because of me, since he deactivated his Facebook, he only hand shakes people now instead of quick hugs, and doesn’t seem to do anything that doesn’t have to do with church.

I wonder what inspired the sudden change and it makes me wish I knew If he had ever meant anything he told me, it is possible to believe he still cares for me at all? Now it’s almost as if we’re still able to talk but it still feels awkward and I’m beginning to wonder how he sees me. Am I someone he still believes to be perfect and a blessing? Did he mean what he said when he told me I looked gracious in my dress while I served? Should I still that the friendship we once had can be saved? What should I do?

We expect our readers to share their experience, knowledge and spirituality in dealing with loving a priest with June. May God Bless you all!

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