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I have noticed on several blogs dealing with “women who love priests” that the women feel quite justified in placing all the blame for the problems with the relationships on the padres. It is my opinion that the priests only need to accept 100% responsibility for anything they do when one of the parties is not a consenting adult. Then there is a priest and a victim, morally and under the law in most of civilization.

The Roman Catholic Church is not kind to its ministers on the one hand. That same church disapproves of “disordered lifestyles”, such as homosexuality, but, when it comes right down to it—what lifestyle is more disordered or abnormal than the one required of a priest? Unless one is an asexual being or incapable of love, how can a man feel fulfilled living a lifetime without either? The seminarians, so idealistic at the outset, find they cannot in the long term. Where there is a void, one tends to fill it somehow. Some priests over-eat or abuse alcohol. And, yes, others indulge in covert sexual liaisons, some legal, some not. They view it as a “temptation” but are unable to resist because they are just men and not angels. Moreover, it must be expected that the priests have the need to love and be loved just like other human beings—even if the church furnishes their other needs and some really do live like kings.

If you felt that a priest was attracted to you and you made the first move by revealing your love for him in a clear manner, then you tapped into this profound need. Priests are busy, have plenty of responsibilities but, at the end of the day, they are lonely people. They have no one to comfort them, although there are those who feel obliged to tell them what to do, how to act. There is the bishop, the vicar general, and the spiritual advisor to whom the priest confesses. He is afraid to displease them all because they can voice their disapproval of him at best or strip him of everything he has at worst. It is understood that one really loves a man and not a priest but that doesn’t prevent one from creating a kind of “monster” when a woman confesses her love. Don’t forget that your priest may have been lonely, unfulfilled, longing for intimacy before he couldn’t resist taking you up on your offer to whatever extent—but he wasn’t conflicted. That began on the day you said “I love you”.

Perhaps he was already in love with you at the time or half-way there, but it was you who lifted the lid from the Pandora’s Box if you pushed the situation to what it became, essentially invited the priest to take advantage of your love for him. Now, if you have to deal with the demons that flew out of the box, don’t hold yourself blameless. Not if you started up with a man who didn’t consider himself free to be with you in the way that you would like him to be.

Even though I do not believe in the concept of a man being married to an institution, as some would describe a priest’s circumstances, starting up with a priest is very like embarking on an affair with a married man. Unless one is in an actual prison, freedom is mostly a state of mind. Whatever they do or don’t do, these men do not consider themselves free and available. The choices put before them will not be without consequences, some quite severe. Added to that, many of the cases of the women who love priests that I have come across involve females who are perhaps separated but still legally married and certainly married in the eyes of the church! Some even consider themselves married but are not averse to having an affair with a priest. They still complain if the priest holds them at arms length! Presumably, these women want everything from everybody and are not viewing matters in a clear fashion. In ballroom dancing, it takes two to tango and in life, as well. Responsibility is something that is best off shared.