Tag Archive: Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna


My Testimony

My name is Louise Ouellet and I am from Canada. I would like to tell you a little bit about my story and what I am trying to do about mandatory celibacy. It was during the fall of 1995 along with my twin children of three years old and my husband whose life has been shortened by the HIV virus, I was walking toward my new church in this huge metropolis where we started a new life.

As I entered this magnificent building with breathtaking frescoed architecture, I never would have thought that a man wearing the Roman collar, someone who is married to the Church, was going to upset my little imperfect but quiet world. As I was watching him walking back and forth to get things ready for mass, I got hit with a huge wave of what instantly submerged to my very soul into a pool of pure overwhelming love.

He walked at a brisk pace in the large corridor that ran along the rows of carved wooden benches. As he approached the row where I sat, our eyes met – it was love at first sight. I felt as if I had always known him, but at that point, I did not even know his name. The only details I had were his exceptional height, blue eyes and a smile that lit up his whole beautiful face.

Despite this new indescribable feeling that came over me, I felt much guilt as I thought about my husband. The service ended, and I returned home with my family, determined to forget this incident and dismiss this new feeling.

From one Sunday to the next this uncontrollable love got the better of my reason. I wanted to know more about this man that stirred my soul and my heart. So, I decided to let events flow to open the door to friendship. I wanted to discover, without it being obvious, whether what I felt was mutual.

During this time, my husband’s health deteriorated quickly, and I felt overwhelmed. Since he did not take the drugs needed to stabilize the disease, we found ourselves faced with evidence that he had only months to live – now he had contracted full-blown AIDS.

I asked the support of the man of my heart, in his position as a priest, to accompany us on this painful journey. He nodded reassuringly and gave us all the support we needed during the illness, death, and funeral of my husband.

Now a widow, the relationship became increasingly close between us. Not two days would go by before we would call or meet each other. As insignificant as it could be, any excuse was good enough to see each other. The desire to kiss and to say how much we were in love was evident but neither of us dared to confess it.

Months had passed without anything physical happening between us, I felt his prudence and especially his fear despite his desire. One day, after having hinted that he contemplated marriage, I began to see my dream coming true. He seemed ready to take the step. There was now no barrier between us – my happiness was at its peak.

One day, his superiors realized that something was wrong. They saw that the morale of my beloved priest had been low in the recent months. He had confided to his spiritual director, revealing that he suffered from loneliness. With the help of a pretentious friend of ours, they quickly found the culprit for an inconvenient truth, for them, and could see that we were in love. They decided to separate us by imposing on him severe restrictions, of which I had no right to know the details. As for me, I was pushed aside without explanation nor support. I could quickly see that no one cared about the excruciating pain I felt.

The only thing I knew is that he was forbidden to talk to me or to my children and he was obligated to give them all my personal letters and emails, after which they would read; violating my privacy. One of them took me to his office and tried to intimidate me and mocked me about my letters. I felt so humiliated.

To keep me away from the man I loved, they began to destroy my reputation, to intimidate me and to spread rumors of ‘scandal’ among some parishioners, who were quick to judge and harass me. Meanwhile, my priest wept as much as I did, which added to my pain. I tried to fix things, but the more I tried, the worse the situation became embittered.

After twelve years of harassment and suffering, my health deteriorated due to stress and traumas that I was enduring for so long. I couldn’t beat the depression, so I decided to move far away, leaving behind the man of my life for whom I could do nothing. We never had the chance to kiss or to hold hands. We never made love.

After much therapy, I managed to go through mourning. I could forgive his superiors and some parishioners and make peace with the situation. It’s been 19 years since he was forced into silence, but the love is still in our hearts and the hope is still alive for the Church to exchange mandatory celibacy for the freedom of choice-optional celibacy. Even if this change was to come too late for my beloved priest and myself, at least it will be for the benefit of future generations.

Even if I terribly miss my beloved, I am presently in a good place in my life. I have learned with time to love myself enough to let go and appreciate life as it is. The love that I feel has grown to be an unconditional love; I believe that God, the Great I Am, is love… therefore, there is no barriers, no laws, no distance and time to stop us from loving each other. The day that I was awakened and embraced this fact, I was free from the pain. Now, I take time for myself and I share the wisdom that I salvaged from this traumatic experience in a comforting form of support for others.

One of my ways to give my support was by writing a book to share my story and bring awareness about the consequences of mandatory celibacy. It was released this summer and it is called Forbidden to Love-Pure Hearts Crushed Under the Law of Celibacy.

Also, 3 years ago, I created a website (http://forbidden-to-love.com) to give my support to the others who are going through the same thing as I did. There is so many of us, women, children and priests with heart-wrenching stories… My heart is broken for every single story that I read. It gives me the courage to keep on trying to make a difference even if sometimes it is only a word of encouragement.

In this present moment, I launched a petition to request the abolition of mandatory celibacy and to have the right to vote during the Synod. If you wish to sign and share it in your social media and in your community, you can follow this link:
https://www.change.org/p/pope-francis-vatican-help-us-abolish-the-mandatory-celibacy-law-in-the-catholic-church
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Besides, Louise has published all her story in an ebook form. For more details visit her website. Thanks Louise for publishing your story. You have already helped so many people. Let’s talk, let’s write. Let us not put this challenge under the carpet. The Catholic church has suffered a lot because of celibacy. Let’s make it optional. Let us not divide Christ present in the sacrament of matrimony and the sacrament of the Holy Orders! Both of them are sacraments! Both of them nourish the soul.

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Reading and reflecting through our readers comments, views, spirituality etc…sometimes one gets the idea that because we are baptised, we should have an easy life!

Our Catholic sign is the Cross. We were never promised a rose garden! Psychologically and spiritually we should prepare ourselves for challenges 24/7. We have to convince a lot of people because the Catholic Church is composed of more than 1 billion people. Not everybody sees the urgency in calling for married priesthood! Not everybody agrees with our ideas. Shall we drop our ‘fighting’ spirit? Shall we enclose ourselves in our small world? No way!

We are sure that we are on the right track because finally the Pope is pushing forward the same ideas! That means a lot in at least giving us credit that we are not damaging the church! In every parish there is the urgent need of more priests. Why? Because priests are what cement is to building blogs, they serve to build the sense of a spiritual community. Although we are calling all laity to become truly adult in faith (actively participating in the parish), priest are always needed as they the ones who can confess and celebrate the unique sacrament of the Eucharist.

Besides, the priest can visit many families to bring God’s news. The priest has to preach and teach the people of God not only about God himself but rather bring the latest teaching of the church to the common people. It’s not a joke because there is a lot of ignorance outside the parish about God, the church and its rules etc….

The latest news from Ireland seems that the bishops are NOT going to take the Pope’s invitation and ask about priests to be allowed to get married! Well, it’s not the end of the story. We urge all our readers from Ireland (and non-Irish readers) to write to the bishops to urge them change their mind. We need active readers who are not afraid of challenges. You can write directly to the Irish bishops here!

On the other hand, on a different subject but regarding another hot potato for bishops, Maltese bishops surprised everyone about their attitude when dealing with remarried people. The Maltese bishops were bold enough to take the first step instead of waiting to see what others might do. They interpreted the Pope’s letter to the world called, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). If one needs to read the Pope’s original document, one can go here.

So please don’t lose faith! Let’s keep going. Let’s keep talking and discussing with other people. A married priest is nearer to the common people. All that he does, shows his commitment to his family. He is not a loner, he is accompanied by a family. He cannot forget about what other people are passing through because he has his own kids who are facing all the challenges of the common people.

When a priest looks at a woman

This is our latest email we received some days ago. It tells the story of how a priest looks for something else rather than friendship…than all of a sudden he stops immediately his friendship to leave the woman hanging on. There is a lack of clear and understandable communication from the part of the priest. Is it on purpose? Is it because of lack of communicative skills? Is it because they are afraid of admitting the truth? Is it because they feel vulnerable?

Let’s encourage more women to come forward and write their story. Writing could be part of the healing process. Writing will give extra strength to other women out there who are suffering in silence. Readers please be active! Comment and write what you think. 

How do you know when a priest loves or hates a woman at the same time? Ok let me tell you my story. I am Lily. It has been a year since a priest (Rev Leno), at my church has been looking at me.

Have you ever spoken to each other? Have you ever embraced, kissed (etc….) him? Why do you think he started to look at you?

The priest began by being friendly to me in public, cracking jokes. For example, one day I was sitting in the back of the church joining a prayer group when he looked at me and said, “I don’t look too bad, you can come and sit closer.” Some people showed that they were not too pleased with that joke, based on their facial expressions. You can tell when people are uncomfortable with things. And since that day I can feel some tension each time I go to that prayer group. I can also tell by the look that those people give to me. They never gave me that look before and I’ve been going to that group for years. One week later after he had made the joke, I went to a morning service where there’s only a hand full of people. He looked at me and stopped while he was doing the service.

For his protection and for my own reputation, I would rather keep a distance. I have had men looking at me the way, exactly as he does, and those men always tell me that they have feelings for me. I know when a man has feelings for me. A girl can tell those things.

That is is all he does, he looks at me in particular way. To be honest I really like the way he looks at me. That is one of the reasons why I started developing feelings for him. But the people who serve at the church have been furious since that day. It is like they have a really big problem with the way he looks at me. They treat me as if I did something wrong. I had to leave my prayer group because someone from the group said in public that a priest cannot give you what you want.

Why did you take it personally? Maybe that person was referring to something else…I mean are you assuming things or did somebody speak to you in a very clear way?

The man looked right at me and said that a priest has everything and doesn’t need anything else. And that a priest cannot give you what you want. So why can’t you give another man that favour? Ok everybody could see how the priest was looking at me during the service that morning. And the unusual look for the people started right after that day. Yes people are talking behind my back but I don’t know what they are saying because I chose not to pay attention to.

Why can’t you give another guy a favour. He was speaking freely, but I know he was talking to me. Since then I have been avoiding making eye contact with the priest. He has been preaching in a way that shows that he is trying to express his feelings. Is that wrong for him to do? Yes people at my church are big on sharing feelings in public. Sometime I wish that he would stop expressing his feelings in public. The past week I posted a message to another priest on Facebook.

What’s his name? So let’s assume that this priest has a soft spot for you…why did you communicate with another priest?

The other priest’s name is Ben. I only sent a message that said, “Were are you now? Do you still go to the same church?” He came back started looking at me across the church and as I was leaving the church he wanted to come and talk to me. I walked fast, just to avoid him.

I was just trying to be kind to the other priest because the other priest has left the church. He was only there because he was done with school and was at the church for training. Since that time he completely avoided making eye contact with me, pretended like I wasn’t there.

When he looks at me at a distance, he looks at me as if I’m hurting him. He hasn’t been smiling, has a depressed look, preaches about humiliation and when a woman leaves a man for someone else, because she wants to explore something else. He also preaches about friends betraying other friends. He spoke as if he was really depressed. I sent him a message and wrote some things that could make him feel good about himself and he has not answered. I think I have created another problem. The other priest…started coming back to the church and is now looking at me. I do not want to hurt people. The priest I have feelings for really draws me to him but I really want that to stop. I cannot believe that I am attracting two unavailable men. I am an introvert person, calm and sits at the back of the church. How am I able to attract two unavailable men? I really have feelings for the first priest. He is such an amazing priest. He has a really attractive personality. But I just want to enjoy his services and enjoy him as my priest for I know nothing can ever happen romantically between us. I only want him to be my priest.

What’s an update?

One of the fascinating words today is update. It means to bring up-to-date! We want to update several areas in our life and that of material things. This applies to religion. We were once very young children. We had our first ideas about God and the church. We grew up, we made experience, attended courses..so on and so forth. We continued to update our idea of God, church etc……It means that we are understanding more about religious themes. Everybody understands better as one grows older. Not updating it means to remain with the same childish ideas, in other words being left behind or not learning at all.

Why are we focusing on the word update? Because of the wonderful call of the Pope for the church to do outreaching i.e. to go out of the temple and look for the man/woman of today. But the multi million dollar question is: how can one call for an outreach if one does not update? i.e. the church needs to update its teaching about sexuality; justice; work; rights; environment; relationships etc…..We firmly believe that outreaching without updating the present teaching would sooner or later backfire. The initial enthusiasm may soon die.

The priests (those responsible for updating and preaching the contents of the Catholic religion), have been brainwashed that the teachings of the church do not change!! So whilst people do change in many areas, in the area of the Catholic religion they have to make an exception!

This is quite insulting as it means throwing into the trash what other people have experienced about God! God speaks in everyday experience. We cannot discard what other people experience about God. The mentality that the priest knows it all in the area of religion has to stop. Adults in faith (according to the updated teaching of the church) have the right to seek God in other ways! They are Adults in faith not children to be lectured at!!

Why does this happen in the church? We firmly believe that the unmarried priest does not have a family of their own. Hence they have to make an extra effort to understand the world of today. Most of them spend most of the time closed between the protective walls during the initial formation period. They are expected to study on books. Most of them are very young. Non married priests have the most strange ideas about women where most of them still see them as a devil in disguise. Most of them had never a real and deep relationship with an adult! How can they have a healthy relationship with their parishioners? We are not surprised by some of the stories shared on this blog as it amply shows the lack of preparation of unmarried priests to meet the society of today. Consequently it will effect their ‘handling’ of people in parishes and their explanation of the teaching of the church. It will effect their focus in their parishes.

The married priest is the one who is living the married experience which in itself is part of a chain of many other experiences….a deep relationship with an adult; understanding the opposite sex; loving an adult; taking care of children; interacting with his own sons and/or daughter; taking care of his house; being a parent 24/7 for all his life…….

The married priest is at an advantage over other priests because he has his own sons and/or daughters where it’s not so easy to educate and he has to respect this often contradictory attitudes/opinion/clothes etc…..Yet they are his sons and or daughters so he has to forgive and love. He is the one who has to understand their journey in life and their right to choose the wrong path or maybe the joy of running on a ‘greener grass’. The spirit of teenagers who feel like grown ups only if they say no to their parents!!! I remember one episode where my son and I used to go shopping for clothes. He used to ask for my opinion about the choice of clothes. He used to select the clothes that I hated most!

All this experience might help him to approach people who have left the church. Surprisingly, some of the married priests too have people in their family who do not wish to go to church. Below we publishing part of the

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
EVANGELII GAUDIUM
OF THE HOLY FATHER
FRANCIS

47. The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.[51] These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a toll house; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems. (published on the 24th November 2013)