We were brought up in a society where the priest used to be one of the pillars of society. We see him in our greatest moments in our life: baptism; confirmation; marriage; funeral; reconciliation etc….We speak to him whenever we have doubts, sins, worries, difficulties etc…Indirectly we expect him to be a man for all seasons.

Yet the million dollar question is: is the priest that strong? What makes a priest become frail, weak or fragile?

One thing which is obvious is that we expect too much from one person. In reality, the priest studies about philosophy (it’s about thinking in an abstract manner) and theology (study about God). Most of his studies are done in theoretical manner. In real life, everything is different. It’s one thing to study about God and it’s another thing when one has doubts about God. So although he is fully qualified to speak about some issues, he has never lived these issues in his intimate life. This should bring about a radical change in the priests’ training scheme. Is it ok to ordain priests who are so young? Is it ok to ordain priests who have never ventured out of their nest? Is it ok to have priests coming from the so called ‘good families’?

Let’s forget all about his studies. Let’s assume for once that he is fully qualified for the job. The priest is expected to deal with relationships challenges; he is expected to lead a community of believers of various ages and cultures; he is expected be a good manager… and the list goes on. How many things do parishioners expect their priest to do? On the other hand, one of the most urgent needs in today’s parishes is that most probably he is expected to live all alone. So while he leads other people, he himself might be facing a mountain of challenges which might be of faith; existential or relationship ones. In most cases he does not have a person of trust with whom he can talk to. This leads to frustration and boredom.

Ironically, he finds himself talking to a woman and most of the time, without knowing it, he might be starting a relationship. In many cases, the woman herself is surprised to find a man who is available to talk to a woman about his feelings, thinking etc…This in itself is an attraction for some woman as they hate men who just talk about sex or other tedious or insipid subjects.

Some married priests have experienced this kind of introduction, although we remind our readers that we can never generalise as there are different kinds of relationship initiation for married priests.

The advantage of the married priests is that without forgetting or turning aside the training they received in the seminary (training grounds for future priests), they are experiencing a normal family life where experience enriches their philosophical and theological training. The fact that they are leading a family life is giving them enough training how to manage and preach the gospel in the life of today. It’s not easy to talk about the young people when his own teenagers are sitting in the first row!!! When he is talking about relationships or marriage, his wife is part of the congregation too!! He cannot tell lies or just speak beautiful words. If he is not capable of leading his family than all his congregation would see it. On the other hand leading a family gives him energy and talents to guide the larger community (parish).

 

 

 

 

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