Not all married priests or other priests involved in a relationship can come forward and be public about it. Sometimes we take it for granted that we enjoy full rights in all parts of the world. Well, although we are living in the year 2014 it doesn’t mean that everybody accepts a married priest in the Catholic Church, especially in some European countries. In a way it is understood. After so many years of brain washing, now people in the church view a friendship of a priest with a woman as sinful or wrong. But that should not be the attitude of the Church which is based on the gospel and the early lives of the apostles.

Notwithstanding some negative attitudes, there is some hope. The young people of today, although unfortunately they are not experts of theology nor of the bible, feel that there is nothing wrong with having married priests. Discussing the issue with some young people (not all of them though), they see a married priest as one who is in a better position to understand their life and its challenges. Other older people, like many people of their age, are the ones who understand best the situation. Notwithstanding some prejudices, the older people are the best people to see for advice.

But today let’s focus on the couple: the priest and his wife. Do they have an easy life? We’ve been telling many couples, that although we are all in favour of married priesthood, they should prepare themselves for some challenging times. Some of the wives have to bear the grunt or the criticism of the parish people where sometimes she is viewed as the one who took away their priest…..others call her by some strong names such as a b……..Others have suffered consequences on their professional lives. Some of them had to change town or city.

The big problem is where to live. In most cases the priests depend entirely either on their family or their new spouse. Some family members would shun their so called ‘ex-priest’ because they find themselves under the spotlight. It’s very difficult to convince them that there is no ex-priest as once a priest is always a priest!

The priest himself has suffered consequences because after all that training and experience, most probably he is not allowed to work in a parish, even though parishes are dying out because of lack of priests!! It’s shameful that it treats them in this way. The priest in most cases needs to find a full time job. We try to give a professional advice on what kind of job he might be able to do, although we don’t know the requirements and working conditions of his country.

On the other hand, it is an advantage because he can start his own community and start accepting people who were left out of the ‘normal Catholic community’. In that sense the priest would start seeing things from the point of view of these people. It could be the initiation of a new spiritual journey for the married priest. Obviously not all priests would like to continue working as a priest. In most cases they abandon their priestly work forever. We cannot force anybody but we just pray and talk to these priests to show them that their work is badly needed, especially as the number of priests is dwindling down.

On the other hand, now that he cannot ask for money as was his normal way of doing things in the church, now he has to find a full time job. Normally it has nothing to do with the church, unfortunately. Most priests though, do not know how to put into writing their experience in the parish to manage other similar jobs, albeit in a different working environment. They need professional help in order to re-write their CVs.

But what is the first step to do after taking the decision to marry his love of his life? Our opinion is that the couple needs first and foremost to settle down as a couple. Like any other couple, romance or dreaming is one thing, living together is another thing. How is the priest as a husband (not exactly the same one she saw preaching and being available to the others…..)? The same goes for the priest. It’s one thing to see an attractive woman, dressed to kill and it’s another thing to wake up with her and seeing her without any make-up! One day or another they are going to have some conflicts as any other normal couple after all. But the way they manage their conflicts is very important. It could be the end or maturation of their relationship.

Living with a woman 24/7 is surely a new experience for the priest. His wife needs to adapt her mind and will to live full time with her dream – man and priest. They need to start sharing all things between them, the good and the bad days. Some priests who have lived their whole life giving orders or having the last say may find themselves in difficulties in order to admit that they are wrong or that they need the advice of somebody. On another level, they cannot expect their wife to fulfil all his needs, as was the custom in the parish.

Being a priest is not a part-time job. A man who has chosen to become a priest did so because of number of reasons. Some priests might have second thoughts on leaving the parish. The guilt feeling might become so strong that it makes his life miserable. This is the reason why always ask the priest to distinguish between a moment of crisis and a new life decision. A moment of crisis could be resolved without making any big changes. A new life decision would always involved turning one’s life to a different direction.

Sadly some priests need a new direction in life, but because of social pressure, they may decide to go back to the parish with some fundamental questions unresolved! In other words they go back just because they are afraid of gossip and judgemental people.

As this is your website, we would like to receive your comments and/or questions about this subject. Please don’t hesitate to make this website full of your opinions and what you really think about it.

 

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