Tag Archive: A priest falls in love

The signs of the times are calling for married priests in the Roman Catholic church. It’s not far fetched but we do feel that the wind is blowing in that direction. On the other hand, we are standing on the ground and not flying too high. It’s not going to be an easy change. This is because for various reasons. One of them is, that many people want progress but nobody wants to change.

If the church really wants married priests, how are they going to call for vocations with the present circumstances? The church calls itself the expert in humanity. Yet, do workers in the church have the best conditions of work? Is the church ready to preach by example? How many married men are going to join the church with the present conditions? What type of hindrance keeps married men from joining priesthood? Can we alter something in order to attract the best possible candidates? The financial package is not to be forgotten, plus spiritual, humanistic and intellectual formation.

On the part of the laity, are they prepared to study theology and other studies to give a professional service to their parish? Studying means many years of studies. On the other hand one can’t have a course similar to the one provided for non-married priests where they can afford 6 to 7 years without gaining money. How can they receive married ones while maintaining the responsibility of the family?

What about the general reflection about the family? Are the married ones expected just to obey? Are we prepared to re-write the whole ‘relationship’ chapter in the theological studies from the point of view of married priests? Are these married priests to be given their right to give a unique feedback to the general church?

One of interesting debates is when married priests have teens themselves. Even when they preach to the congregation their own teens will be there! That means somebody who is trying to live the gospel. This week I met some families who are complaining that there teens are abandoning the Sunday Mass!! That would already be a tough challenge for married ones. Yet, the challenge itself could prove to be a witness to many other families!

Speaking about the teens, what about the women. Is the wife of the pastor going to be a silent spectator? Or is she going to get a significant role in the running of the parish? After all, like many other women she is the silent supporter of her husband’s work! She is the one to help him going on. She could be the voice of many other women who are still living in the periphery of the parish!

With all this in mind, it makes sense to call back all those priests who have left. Why? Because they have something which new candidates don’t have: experience! Once they were at the centre of activity in the parish. In these last years, they have lived their most difficult time of their lives. They know how one feels when one is discarded in society. That makes them better candidates to look at those in society who feel not welcomed anymore. Those discarded have always been an important part of the church. It’s the new generation which will form up the new church. It’s not a surprise that most married priests welcome all kinds of people who are in different phases of faith!

Priests today have a dark cloud above their heads owing to the sexual abuse crisis. Yet married priests could prove vital to thwart that conception of priesthood. This is another hidden asset of married priesthood which could link the church with the outside world once again.

We wish to make it clear that every love story between a priest and a woman is unique. We cannot generalize about what happens. Today we are sort of thinking about so many women who although they love their priest from a truly holistic point of view, yet the priest never commits himself. It’s very difficult to tell the woman involved that she is being taken for a ride as she loves him thoroughly. Yet we wish to help these women to see reality and not their romantic point of view.

Some of our readers have been in a relationship (including sex) for an incredible number of years….yet they are still enjoying one per cent of their relationship as they cannot walk hands in hands in public. They cannot raise kids together, they cannot simply be together for a long time, without pressure or fear of someone seeing them. They cannot spend significant time together or just be together.  Some would ask: how could a woman tolerate such conditions in her love life? Well, we repeat, we are NOT judges. We understand (=does not mean we agree), because when one is in love, it’s not easy to see reality. On one hand it’s a blind process. On the other hand it makes it crystal clear that one needs to talk about such a relationship with another person in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now the problem is that this situation is already very delicate. Some of our readers are afraid of publishing their stories because other readers may become very harsh in their judgement and simply call for an end to this relationship. Maybe this tradition has been present in our church for many centuries where we were used to condemn all those who had a different opinion. We firmly believe that by stopping the relationship the challenge won’t go away, for both persons. Love is not simply a button/switch to turn it off or on at will. Those who speak about stopping a relationship there and then, surely need to go to the kindergarten’s school of love!

In some cases it could be just an adventure from the part of the priest to have a sexual one and experiment. Some might call it ‘the attraction of the prohibited’. Afterwards, he does not want to be committed in a relationship. Although it hurts, because nobody would like to be used in that way, yet it’s better to wake up to reality now, than later on!

On the part of the woman it could be that in her fantasy the man is Mr Right of whom she has been dreaming for many years. As we have written in earlier blogs, he fulfills all her needs. In many cases, although she might not be thinking about sex, yet she is preparing the way to have a unique and intimate relationship. Now if sex happens or not is not important as there is already a close and unique bond between the two. Sex, in many cases, would the last step in their building up of a relationship. Although we do not wish to put all the emphasis on sex, yet it could be the first wake up for the woman and the priest….wow what’s happening? Where do we go from here? What is our future?

The priest’s most common game would be to justify all that he does…but when it comes to sex, that would be a little bit difficult. In some cases, he would simply disappear never to come back again. Otherwise he would simply find any kind of excuse just to have sex. Some stories written in our email box included: it’s not me, it’s God who is loving you! I love you, there is no sin in loving a person; I can’t live without sex etc……Some priests, in order to escape the judgement of their conscience they might blame the woman! “You tempted me!” Well it takes two to tango.

What interests the woman is: when are we going to start living together as a couple? Well the priest has a lot of excuses such as: just let me think it over… I need to think…..I have to talk to my superiors/confessor/friend….I have to go for a retreat……I need to get to know myself first……….All in all they are good comments. Yet the time frame is the tool which classifies these statements as false or true. Why? Because life is short. We cannot keep procrastinating forever!! OK. Think it over till next year (for example). So please women, it’s better to give a time limit which you think is practical. After that stick to your guns and just leave. Otherwise your priest will become an expert on lies and keeps you hanging on forever. Is that the life you want to live ?

Another practical step would be to stop seeing him after an agreed time frame. A good statement would be: don’t call me or write to me unless you have decided to leave the parish. I don’t wish to waste my time in a useless relationship. We know from experience that this is a very hard decision to stick to as we some women prefer to listen to their heart rather than to their mind, yet not taking drastic action may actually give more power to the priest to keep her hanging on.

What surprises most women is that the priest keeps procrastinating on leaving active priesthood to live with the love of his life. Maybe because he is being served. He is having the cake and can eat it too. We, as married priests would never agree with priests having a clandestine relationship and abusing women. We are of the opinion to come clean and show everybody that the priest loves a woman and according to the bible he wishes to be a priest too. Although not everybody agrees with married priesthood, yet most of them admire us for the courage to take the plunge and to live sincerely without hiding anything. We are coherent with our teachings. We don’t hide anything. We wish to have the bible as our inspiration.

In a way that’s what we are campaigning for: married priesthood. It’s not just a woman that is ‘tempting the priest’ (sorry for borrowing such a horrible expression), but rather many of the priests are not living their celibate call as proved by scientific investigations. Hence we need to see the big picture: can we make celibacy optional? It’s not simply because we want to have sex but rather to witness to the people of God how to live in a normal family life and testify God’s world. Most of us work full time in a different job to earn our living. We work part-timers in the Church. When we work outside the church, we are not on a podium, but that could be the best way to witness our beliefs. Surely the world needs witnesses rather than teachers when it comes to preaching the word of God.