A priest besides facing a lot of difficulties before leaving the parish, he normally has one major challenge: how does he earn his living? Leaving the parish will deprive him of any financial gain. He is just penniless (especially if he comes from a monastery). Let’s forget all the sermons delivered to ordinary people about loving our neighbour (!!), where he has worked for free and now the church does turn its face in the opposite direction when he needs her most! Seriously, he has to face this reality once outside the normal comfort zone.

In some countries, the Catholic Church does not let others employ him!! Others, would not accept his new situation, so they make it extra difficult for him to find a job.

Besides all this, normally a priest in such a situation needs some time to adjust to new surroundings and situations, so ideally he needs to take some time off. In cases where he has a wife and children, or babies on the way, he has to interrupt his adaptation time in order to start gaining money. Now in normal cases, he cannot present his theological certificates as they are not valued outside the church. So it’s very important that he starts training in another area. Although there are no rules, ideally, the priest and his new family would be to move a little bit away from the old habitat. Some people can be really cruel! Others simply are not prepared to see the priest in a new role…especially some woman haters who can’t stand the fact that a priest could make love to a woman and celebrate the eucharist!

The priest himself needs to adapt himself to living in a real family (not the previous one living with other priests), where he needs to attend to daily, small, needs. Although he thought other couples to dialogue and listen to each other, most of the time, he starts his real exercises in real life. Children wouldn’t listen all the time and they ask for odd things, maybe at the wrong time!! Anyway with the help of his wife he might do some other practical courses such as cooking, looking after children etc…..In all this he starts to see God in the new surroundings. He starts a different theological course!

Notwithstanding these difficulties, there are other people who support him and who are ready, to have his services as a married priest!! This comes as a surprise because in the seminary, they used to refer to lay people as ignorant in religious matters. Yet the common people, having just a heart and some common sense, would realise and accept the new status of the resigned priest! Other priests, once out of the church, they don’t want to do anything related to the church. We respect their decision. After all, married priesthood is a calling so no one should force it unto others.

In some parts of the church they are ready to train lay people to start doing more work in the church but would not accept a resigned priest or a married priest!!

Other priests are afraid of making this big step forward, maybe because of what the people might say or because of very few job opportunities. But some of them are writing in a different way especially in Catholic Malta…..finally! Anyway prepare yourself because the Holy Spirit shows the way forward for the church in an unexpected way!

Homily (in Maltese)

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