We are trying to answer some of our readers’ requests….one of the most popular questions is: why do priests fall in love?
We cannot give you all the reasons on this page for various reasons. But surely we can write about a few of them. Please may we remind you that what we’re going to write about, maybe does not fit your experience. There are so many different cases in the world that sometimes one case is totally different from another.
Most of the priests answered their spiritual call when they were very young in age. Hence they give what we can call a blind answer. When the candidate grows up, he matures and makes one of the most startling discoveries: that he cannot stay single all his life! The spiritual, philosophical and theological preparation do not prepare the candidate to face the big challenge of celibacy! There is no training in building up relationships, consequently it’s no surprise that some pastors treat their parishioners in an inhuman way! Some of the stories we read in our email box are truly incredible, yet true.
Another reason is that many priests are led to believe that the Eucharist or God himself will help them to live a truly celibate life (i.e. the abuse of spirituality over the human body). Some priests do receive attention from other priests (in a non sexual way). They might think it might substitute the need for a women. Others go to the extreme level of thinking that women are evil, hence no friendship or any personal relationships in order to avoid the devil (!!). Actually it’s more of a defensive attitude in order to shut down all natural awakenings in his body.
Others try to reach out to women but the community makes sure that any relationship stops there as they truly report any sightings of a priest with a woman to the local beer shop or else to higher authorities. We did read and experience some unique stories about how the believers start to gossip as soon as a priest is seen talking to a woman!
Our readers would be thinking right now….so how do priests fall in love with a woman notwithstanding all this negative image about women? Well our bodies were created by God and no one can change that….not even the Pope. God created them male and female. We seek our partner all the time, knowingly or unknowingly. Secondly, the priests face a truly lonely life where they comfort many people in different situations but there is nobody to comfort them. Although in many parts of the world, the woman is seen as evil (from some who misquote the Catholic point of view), the priest in real life sees the many talents women have. Hence one day or another he has to discard what others told him about women and believe the daily life which amply shows the many sacrifices most women face in daily Christian life.
The priest has to deliver the homilies to crowds every Sunday. Indirectly he would be exposing his inner self. The woman who listens to his homilies wants to discuss further some of the topics mentioned by the priest. The priest speaks about the gospel……but in the meantime he has to touch many sensitive areas. Many relationships started on the platonic level with no intention to develop further. Yet, meeting his female listener, the priest has the chance of meeting face to face a woman. In many cases it’s his first time meeting with an adult of the opposite sex and discussing sensitive matters with a woman. The priest (man) discovers a true partner. One who listens and is interested in what he says. In comparison, meeting with other priests, they do not give him the same attention. Sometimes jealousy and other infantile attitudes from other priests may give rise to a very high level of unhappiness: one which makes the priest feel useless and totally unimportant. He starts to live in a desert, closed in his own personal thinking. One cannot continue to live in this state for long.
In some cases it’s very common that the priest avoids the celibacy challenge by becoming a workaholic. Obviously, one can hide the problem for sometime but NOT forever. Some priests do abuse children or adolescents in compensation for the lack of sex. Please note that this has been proved scientifically.
In convents or monasteries, it’s very common to find a high percentage of homosexual priests. This drives the heterosexual priest to find refuge in a woman. The double standards of some priests maybe a catalyst to make a final decision to love the woman of his life.
Love and love affairs is a state of mind of which the priest does not feel at home at all. He is truly afraid to make the slightest step. Yet love cannot be submerged forever. Love is truly infectious! The people listening to his homilies or any other pastoral work, may notice the fire in the priest’s words or action. The beauty of it is that a women who is truly in love with a priest, makes him live his calling on a higher level! Because the priest lacked a supporter, lover and a deep listener, now most probably he is on fire and his transformation shows in all his work! Most probably the woman he knows so well is an active person in his parish. Consequently, it shares most of his dreams for his personal view of pastoral work. This is one of the reasons why we are all out for married priesthood. It benefits everybody, especially the Catholic community.
We’ll speak about the consequences of falling in love with a priest in our next issue. May God bless all our readers.