Tag Archive: daphne caruana galizia


The Red Line for priests

Noticing the lack of comments by priests on our blog, I feel it’s my job to try to fill it in. Obviously I can’t speak for all priests. Yet I’m trying to keep in mind the hundreds of stories I have read, listened to and witnessed personally. The invitation is still valid for priests involved in romantic stories to write their own opinion. Please do write your opinion! Obviously we promise to keep their names, place etc….in secrecy.

The red line means when the priest should stop and reflect and take a decision: either to continue to delve into the relationship or else stop the relationship for good. We are never going to take that decision for anybody. It’s the couple which has to decide which way to go forward, preferrably by mutual consent.

First: The first and most dangerous assumptions by priests is that once sex didn’t take place, then everything is ok and one can continue walking in the same direction!

This is due first and foremost for lack of formation during the priests’ training period. Relationships start once people get to know each other. From the priests’ way of life, relationships start earlier because the priest, being a public person, is exposing his thoughts, beliefs etc…in the public during the homilies delivered each and every Sunday. Most people feel that the priest is not simply filling up the time during the ceremony but exposing who he really is. In fact most people approach the priest to talk about personal challenges after listening to his homilies.

Second: most of the priests live all alone nowadays. Whether they are aware of it or not, most of them are craving for a little bit of attention from a person who does not visit the parish simply to be served. Once a person gives them some attention, they are hooked to that person because most people in the parish visit the pastor simply because there is a need to be filled (like signing papers etc..). Most people assume that priests do not feel lonely because they are all the time accompanied by crowds. Obviously crowds might make somebody feel more lonely!

Third: priests are trained to work all the time. Most of them have to visit families because of various reasons or meet people in the office. When a priest starts to speak more about himself than about God, most probably he is already beyond the red line! This is the time when connections turn into a deep relationship.

Fourth: the fact that most people talk about personal issues, they never meet in a public place but rather in a closed office or room which might give rise to inappropriate relationship. Priests having a personal issue with lack of sex, touch or affection might feel it’s the appropriate moment (because of secrecy) to take advantage of the opposite sex!

Fifth: priests who are struggling with pornography, alcohol abuse, excessive travelling abroad etc… should seek professional help and not keep everything inside. It might come out in an explosive manner. Just to make it easier to understand one can try to keep a ball under the water for some time. One can release it. It comes up with a massive force! That’s what happens when a person keeps some issues well hidden. One day they might come out in unexpected manner. The damage is immense.

Sixth: the priest although he preaches to the others, might be passing through a period of lack of faith. He has to talk to somebody who can guide him through the delicate phase. It happens to everybody. There is nothing to be ashamed of. No one can grow up in faith without challenges! The fact that he might not feel ok with the church or with faith, could be a trigger to go away and leave active priesthood! This another unknown path where many priests pass through.

Seventh: problems with his own faith community or with his superiors might again trigger his temptation to leave everything behind and start a new life. Not everybody finds himself comfortably guiding a local faith community. Some of the priests I spoke to, where placed in parishes which were a complete mix-match with the formation and character of the priest. A clear example is transferring a young priest to a parish where the average age of the parishioners was over 60! But this does not concern just the age bracket, because one could be in a so called ‘young’ parish, yet the parishioners seem to be living in another era!

Eight: this one, is again misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with the priest nor with the woman. They simply fall in love. Some love relationships start when nobody is looking for love. Chemistry has it’s own unique way of attracting people together! Besides, love is not a switch to press on and off at will! There are various examples of people who went to another part of the world in order to forget a loved person….yet in the end they realised that it was simply useless. One cannot stop real love from growing and flowing nicely around! Some readers did point out that God is love after all, so why do we resist such manifestation of his presence?

Ninth: most priests took their vow or promise of celibacy when they were so young. Now they do realise the meaning and the consequence of such a special way of life. Can they be held responsible for something which took place without their full awareness or maturity? Not all people can be classified as adults although having 18 years of age or more. People mature on various levels and at different time levels. Emotional level is a very tricky one! To determine one’s emotional true age might be very challenging!!

Readers, you are invited to comment and add to our observations! May God Bless you all!

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Hi, my name is Christina. I have been reading this blog for a very long time, and it is only today that I found the courage to go ahead and tell a little of my story. This is mainly because I refuse to let it go on any longer. It is in some way a kind of closure on my behalf, and a hope that other women won’t allow themselves to go through the same pain and torment as I have.

Around 10 years ago I met my priest and I had just separated with my fiancée at the time with whom I was still friends with. My fiancée had decided that he was being called to the priesthood and no longer felt called to marriage! My priest was aware of this being as we both attended his church. However, my fiancée and I remained friends and he continued to attend Church with me up until he left for seminary.

I think this is how it all started with my priest. I think he was trying to offer some kind of consolation.

It was a few days after Mass and the first time my priest saw me with my fiancée, my priest asked me who my fiancée was. I told him the situation but he just said “Ah, ok” and appeared deep in thought as if he wanted to ask more questions. I thought nothing of it and as Mass had finished, I just went home. From then on, the priest would stare at my fiancée and myself during Mass, and he would only ever speak to me and never to my fiancée.

A few months passed and I contacted the priest as I needed to have confession. (My fiancée had now left for seminary.) Once confession had finished, he offered refreshments and we were conversing as would be friends. We are around the same age and found that we had a lot of similar interests. We got chatting and he began to tell me that he also had a partner before he entered seminary. He seemed to be able to relate to what I was going through and it was more like a conversation with a friend. He asked for my number, so we exchanged numbers and he told me that I could contact him at any time. I told him that I wouldn’t want to take up his time but he said that he always has time for me. I felt very comforted and reassured to know this as I was understandably quite upset that my fiancée had left. I remembered how he said that I could contact him at any time and there was a period after my fiancée left that I was feeling very down and lonely.

I sent a message to the priest and told him how I was feeling. Thinking back now, he must have felt sorry for me. He invited me to see a show. I regret sending this message now as I feel I may have tempted him without even realising I was doing so. I only went to him as I found him easy to speak with and he seemed very understanding of what I was going through. (None of my friends or family could understand why my fiancée left me to join the priesthood.) Anyway, my priest and I went to see the show and started to grow what I believed was a friendship. We then met again socially on other occasions.

I started to find it odd that he would be so friendly and we would have such a nice time, then I wouldn’t hear from him for months. I once sent him a message to which he didn’t reply, and after a few weeks I messaged again asking if I had done something wrong. He replied in apology for not responding and we arranged to meet. We then met again and saw another show, but all the time I was naively thinking nothing of it on a romantic level. It was after one of our meetings when we were walking along together, that I became aware something was beginning to develop, a feeling that was almost sensed between us, but nothing was said. I knew at this time that I was beginning to fall in love with him and I had no idea if he felt the same.

After this meeting, I didn’t see or hear from him for 3 years and he moved to a different parish. This was a very difficult time for me as not only did I feel I had lost a friend but also felt guilty for having these feelings of love for a priest. I became depressed and was so confused as there was no contact or no explanation.

After 3 years, I received a message from him asking to meet him. Before we met, I was honest with him and told him that I had fallen in love with him. He said that he liked me also but has had to control his feelings. He told me that he was going through a difficult time and decided to take a leave of absence. Not at any time did he say that he did this because of me, so it was all a little bit confusing. We then met on a few occasions and kissed passionately but never had any sexual relations as we always met in public. Had we not been in public, it would definitely have gone further. Things then started to become strange. Any conversation we started became awkward. I asked him if he felt anything for me and he seemed frustrated by my question and did not answer with a direct yes or no answer, but because of his frustration I didn’t want to push it.

It was after this day that he suddenly decided to stop the contact after having spent a really nice time together, and again with no explanation. I tried to contact him but he wouldn’t respond to any messages. After a period of time, he went back to priesthood to which he is managing more than one parish. I have not heard from him since. I became very depressed and have felt suicidal. He has never told me what changed his mind and this has been the most difficult thing for me to deal with. I don’t think that I will ever be able to even begin to recover from this until I have some kind of explanation, but I don’t think that he will ever do this and I don’t understand why.

It has taken me another 3 years to begin to start accepting that nothing will ever come of this because I haven’t heard from him and he will not respond to any communication that I send him. I am devastated and for obvious reasons can’t tell anyone about this situation. I feel forced into silence and suffering, and I am grieving. I fell in love with him and I don’t think this feeling will ever go away.

I’m not sure if he ever felt anything for me as he never actually told me that he loved me. I don’t think I will ever be able to trust another man again, and I don’t attend Church anymore due to a guilty conscience.

Thanks Christina for sharing. You have come to the right place. We know that falling in love is NOT a crime, even with a priest. You did nothing wrong. It’s the priest who should know have known better. At least on a human level he should have spoken very clearly and explained his odd behaviour (we have become familiar with such odd behaviour though!). Please do not punish yourself. God understands our human flesh because he was human too. He is not keeping account of what we do wrong. He is so merciful (just read so many messages from the present Pope Francis). In our opinion it’s time to turn to God to receive his understanding, mercy and infinite love. He does not love us if we behave well! He was always in the company of well known and public sinners. The only time that he was really angry was twice: when they turned His temple into an economical activity and when the priests of that time were totally double faced, they played the role of good people when viewed in public, but behaved differently when all alone……….He never treated sinners in a bad way. On the contrary he is prepared to leave the 99 sheep to go and look for the missing one!

We’re putting you on our prayer wheel. May God Bless you!

I’m Abigail. The Reverend Father is Alex. Basically, we met at a small parish in a rural town in Minnesota. I wanted to convert to Catholicism and after meeting with him for 9 months, I was baptized and confirmed by him during Easter Vigil. Our meetings usually lasted around 2-3 hrs.

We never kissed but we’re the same age and had tons of weird stuff in common. He’d tell me things like, “you’re a very beautiful girl” and “nothing is off the table where you and I are concerned”. He was very confusing in the way he phrased things. I’ve been in love with him for months and I think he feels the same. However, I brought a male friend to my baptism and now Fr. Alex won’t look at me and didn’t respond to my message. He announced last Sunday that his last day would be June 20th. His term was supposed to be for 12 years but now he’s mysteriously leaving after just 2 years???

I shook his hand as I was leaving Mass (as is customary) and he wouldn’t even look at me. He didn’t look at me during his announcement, either.

I asked Abigail some direct questions. Here are the answers.

How was he during the those 9 months? Did he act more like a man than a priest?

He openly adjusted/scratched his genitalia in front of me once. He used crude language often, all the swear words, even the F word. He told me that all every man thought about was sex and how good it feels and how much they need it and want it (even though I didn’t ask him that and it had nothing to do with our conversation.) His language was always overtly sexual. He was constantly saying things like ‘screw’, ‘fuck’, etc. He talked about breasts a lot, too and mentioned pornography a lot.

Did he ever sit next to you (touching you) ?

He always wanted me to sit at the end of the table, while he sat on the right of me. The closest we could possibly be at the table. Oftentimes when we were standing, he’d stand so close to me that our shoulders touched. He didn’t pull away.

What other kind of language you think was weird for a priest parishioner relationship? Did he ever use any body language to hint that he wanted more from you?

Besides the overtly sexual language, he told me we could meet ‘informally’ outside of the church anytime I wanted to. One time we were talking and he was trying to remove his coat and he was so engaged with me and staring at me that he couldn’t focus to remove his coat and he said, “Damn, I’m all fucked up today.”

How do you know that you’re in love? Can you prove that he loves you? What signs does he give to you to make you think that he is in love?

We were in the sanctuary and we just stared at each other for over a minute with intense eye contact (‘bedroom eyes’) and he mimicked my body language as if our bodies/torsos were in sync. He described his old girlfriends and their description was the exact same as my description, down to hair and eye color and interests. He’d follow me after our meetings until I turned down a side street. He got noticeably quiet when I’d talk about my past lives and he even chastised me for having a long term boyfriend. I broke up with the guy and anytime he was mentioned Fr would say, “I bet he just wants to have sex with you! That’s what he wants is sex! If you talk to him, he’s going to think that you’ll have sex with him!” Sex, sex, sex!

Was he in competition then with your male friend?

I brought 4 people to my baptism. A married couple, an older lady, and my friend Eric. He made it a point to talk to them and engage them in conversation, all except Paul. He did not even shake his hand but he shook my other guests hands. He wouldn’t even look at Paul and was extremely cold, to the point that my other guests asked me what Fr Alex issue was with Paul. He was baptizing another person on the same night as my baptism and he didn’t even go speak to the other persons guests. He ignored them. He spent 20 minutes after with me & my guests though, totally unsolicited.

Abigail is one of our readers who have the courage to publish her story. There is no place for judgement on our blog. Let’s see what God is telling us through another love story which involves a priest. In the meantime, being a new comer to the Catholic Faith, let’s pray that Abigail won’t loose her faith in God and the church!

Maltese Identity

Due to a shortage in romantic stories, we are presenting a study about religious behaviour in one single country. Malta (Europe) used to be a bastion for other Catholic Countries. Yet the tide of secularisation has arrived swiftly. Old people can surely feel the great changes which have taken place, the one most noticeable is the attending of the Sunday Mass.

Married priesthood can be an asset in the sense that having teenagers growing up in one’s family, one notices a great difference the way they interact with God, prayer, morality etc……it’s no easy task to talk to your own teenagers!!!! Yet the daddy priest would be in a better place to understand what’s going on with today’s young generation. We insist that the married priest would present a different agenda on how to work with people in the parish. Surely most young people feel alienated from the parish. There is rarely an activity going on the parish which is done in order to attract the young ones.

Before we present the sociological results, we wish to make clear some points which otherwise would not be understood. The study was done during Lent. In Malta Lent has some cultural importance as it is reflected in ways people live their spirituality. One of the most visible signs is the popular Good Friday procession in the street where it’s part and parcel of the local culture. One priest says more people come to church during this day, then Good Friday! Such is the strong pull of Our Lady on the Maltese population.

A quick look at the capital city one notices the tall and strong walls surrounding it. The idea was to keep other people from entering the city. In some sense, it still conveys the same idea. In fact nobody gave the news that the Pope might call married men for priesthood! In Malta shockingly we still keep some news out from circulation. On the same lines, nobody tells the people that once a priest, always a priest. They are still brainwashed that a priest who decides to change job/vocation is considered as ‘ex’ or in other words considered not to be a priest any longer.

Another European issue is getting much attention, that is the issue of legal and illegal migrants, terrorism and the blackmailing of Muslims, all have contributed to the people to return to the church. In other words it’s like in a war: more people would return to church just because they are afraid!

Notwithstanding all this, a very high percentage is in favour of married priests. Though we are just under the 50%, yet those against are mostly over 50s. Consequently the tide in favour of married priests in this conservative Catholic country is gaining momentum too!

https://is.gd/8MGRWW

On a more global vision, an article is mentioning what our present Pope is facing in the church itself. We think it’s worthwhile reading.

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/interim-results-pope-francis-revitalizes-vatican-ii-reforms

If there is something which is common to all people, then that would be relationships. Nobody was born in a vacuum. In many cases one was born by the act of love of two people. At least one adult took care of her/him. He/she learned the basics of a relationship.

A relationship starts when we meet people. We get to know the name; where one lives; where one works etc…..The more sharing of information takes place, the more it makes one’s relationship deeper.

Why are thinking about relationships in this Easter week? First of all, it was the most tragic week for the apostles. They saw Jesus doing incredible miracles (like waking up the dead, walking on water, giving sight to blind people…). Yet all of a sudden they witnessed His death. Their relationship with Jesus seemed to stop forever. They lost all hope of changing the fate of the Jewish people. The Romans were still there. What has changed then?

The unmarried priest is nowadays sent from one parish to another. He has barely time to come to grips with the situation, when suddenly he is moved to another parish. His timetable is surely packed 200%. He sees people just to administer sacraments, give his ‘expert’ opinion about the spiritual life….and that’s it. At the end of the day he is all alone. Who knows about his internal struggles and loneliness? Can he be the shepherd and show fragility? Will the parish community see him as a holy priest albeit with personal difficulties and sins?

We repeat, it’s not the urge to have sex which drives a priest beyond of what is expected of him. It is rather this emptiness to belong to someone. The feeling of being a parcel at the post office which is being sent from one place to another with no emotional attachment! Belonging is something which makes part of the human being. One may call it a basic human need.

We have heard countless priests telling their own stories. These priests are saints. They are fighting a huge battle which most people do not understand. We simply pay attention when ‘sex’ comes in the story. Most journalists are not interested in what happened before or after!

How can a priest, who is not in relationship, speak to us about a relationship with a hidden and unseen God? We can understand the difficulty of the apostles who have been sitting next to Jesus and who all of a sudden was gone. But what about people who have never seen God? How can we nurture a true and deep relationship with our God?

We can’t live without one single, significant relationship. Now this is the achilles heel in the priest’s life. He does not belong to anybody in the parish. He can easily bury the problem by adding more work. Some might indulge in heavy drinking or smoking. Others might go travelling around the world in the most exotic resorts! Some of them invite women to their bed. The latter are the ones who make news items really interesting!!!

It’s a vicious circle because actually they are looking for a full time relationship. Yet in their early years in the seminary (the place where young candidates for priesthood are educated), they were lectured (or bombarded) by the message that any relationship is wrong! In some places, priests remember the advice in order not to talk to a woman alone! The only exception is during confession!!!!

Partially it explains the hot and cold attitude of the priest when getting a deep relationship. It’s something that he has no experience of yet he feels helpless. Most probably he wants to run away until the feeling of not belonging comes in again and he starts all over again.

The eternal truth is that one can’t be in a true, lasting relationship if it’s not a deep one! So it explains a lot about the odd behaviour of the priest!! He wants one thing without the other…which is humanely impossible.

When we speak in favour of married priesthood, we are changing all this. Now priests too are people who aren’t in favour of change especially when it touches their deeper self being! They need their time to understand what’s involved and why.

We should present our married priesthood not simply as a solution to avoid sex scandals! But it’s an answer to a deep yearning for inner peace. Any human being needs to be loved, taken care of, and to feel secure with one person who knows him/her inside out.

In the present life, both in the parish and outside (the rest of the population), love and sex have been taken out from a relationship. In that case the relationship dies a natural death. It’s no wonder that some women complain that they are being used as an object! Sex would be simply the meeting of two ‘foreign’ bodies! Love would be translated as simply touching the outside layer of the person (the body).

One of the advantages of married priesthood would be that they would be in a better shape to guide, coach and train other people in how to nourish properly a relationship! Let’s hope that the Risen Christ would guide us to have better relationships by having the example of the married priest!

As we ended our hug, we kissed…

Hello my name is Maria. I’m from Italy. I apologize if my English is not very good.

I bumped into your blog a few days ago and since then I have read a lot of stories that remind me of my own. I always thought I was a one in a million, but I found out that a lot of women know exactly like I feel after all.

I am 44 years old and I met my priest 10 years ago when my girls went to the school where he was the Director. I started to attend mass at that parish where later I became a catechist for 6 years and a member of the church choir (still am).

We began talking more and became friends 6 years ago when I became more and more involved in the activities of the parish. My husband at the time was also a catechist, so we spent a lot of time together. My marriage was having some problems for some time and I looked for him every time I needed to talk, always looking for someone to hear me and advise me. He was the only person I felt comfortable enough to cry and every time we had our conversations I would cry and cry and cry….

My husband and I were driving apart, there were no fights or anything like that between us, but we simply drove apart after having our children. Our kids are everything to us and through the years we forgot about each other, we stopped investing in us as a couple and doing things together like going to a movie or go out for dinner. At that point in my live I felt completely lost….

We used to meet at his office at church and sometimes at his house. We became closer and closer, changing texts throughout the day.

One day we were at his house and after a long conversation we said goodbye and hugged each other (like so many times before), but as we drove away from the hug we kissed and that’s when all started. We didn’t plan it, I never looked at him as a man, only as a priest and a very dear friend until that day. I enjoyed his company very much, loved talking to him because at that time I was in the middle of a depression (still am) and he was the only person I could talk to regarding my marriage problems.

After the kiss we just stared at each other for a couple of minutes not knowing what to say just apologizing to each other. I remember I drove home that night very surprised with what just happened but feeling an immense joy and inner peace.

The next day we talked about it and he said he always had enjoyed my company and he knew he felt different when he was with me, but never understood why. I felt like I never did before with anyone. One of the first things he said to me was that he was never going to leave priesthood because “I love what I am” but that he loved me also in a way he never experienced before.

A few weeks later I decided it was time to end my marriage and so I did. My husband and I had a serious talk and decided it was time to separate although we would still be living together because of the kids.

After three months my priest left the school direction because he was invited by our bishop to be responsible for a bigger school that belonged to the diocese, but he would continue to see me in he parish. It was a very big challenge for him, he started working there over 9 hours a day and then went to say mass everyday. He worked too hard for the first year ending up with a major depression/exhaustion. Soon the doctor made him realize he had to decrease the amount of working hours and medicated him so he could sleep better and rest. In that year we saw each other only on Sundays at mass and texted very little. Sometimes we would have lunch together but he was always very quiet and very depressed.

He began to feel better and text me more often, he was happy, motivated, saying he needed me and never wanted to lose me.

My life was very difficult after all that happened, living in the same house as my husband, falling in love with a priest, seeing him a lot less, all of that broke me. My depression got a lot worse, there were days I couldn’t get out of bed, didn’t want to see any sunlight, be with my kids, work….. All I wanted to do was sleep and cry, I stopped eating and lost a lot of weight at the time. I have to admit that my faith was starting to get weaker and weaker although my priest never left my side, always worried and kept trying to make me get out of the house and see people which I didn’t want to do, see or talk to anyone.

After 3 years of living together I had a huge fight with my husband and decided I wanted to kill myself because I was no good to anyone, I was just making everyone miserable. I texted him that night and told him that I didn’t want to live anymore, that I had enough of pain. He panicked and called my mother and told her to go immediately to my house because I was about to do a crazy thing. When my mother got there I couldn’t stop crying and we decided I would move to her house the day after. So I did, I stayed there for a few weeks before I moved to an apartment where I have been living alone for the past 4 months.

My priest and I have been together for 3 years, with a lot of ups and downs, we broke up a lot of times, but we definitely can’t live without one another. We see each other a few days a week, go out for dinner, sometimes we take a day off and go somewhere nice.

All of the times we broke up, it was always because of me, it always leaves him and me devastated… I respect the fact that he loves what it does, he doesn’t want to leave priesthood and he doesn’t want to loose “us”, he says he feels completed that way and I truly understand, but on the other hand sometimes I feel very lonely, it’s sad not being able to hold hands in public, not being able to be with him in important occasions like his recent 25th anniversary of priesthood or our birthdays. Almost everyday he has meetings at night because he’s responsible for 2 parishes.

I can’t talk to anyone because no one can understand what I’m going through, sometimes not even myself. Women who fall in love with a priest must prepare herself to be most understanding, patient and forgiving. Sometimes it will require more giving than receiving. She must be strong to help, guide and assist him through difficult moments of depression and doubts because a priest, despite his outer austere shell, deep down, is extremely vulnerable and in need of all the support and love he can get. But sometimes I feel like I have no strength to go on, I fear for the future thinking I will end up alone… In all this time we have been together I always felt God was with us, that he is blessing us because he knows that our love is true.

Am I wasting my time with someone that I know loves me and loves priesthood? Why should he be forced to choose? I truly believe my love for him, makes him live his calling on a higher level! I never loved anyone like I love him!

After reading you blog I do think we all have much to learn from one another.  I have so much to learn from each one of your experiences.
I‘m grateful to me given the opportunity to share my story with someone that will understand my joys and my grieves, the extreme emotions that a relationship like this brings.
May God bless you Rev. Daniel.

Dear readers let’s support Maria! Let’s pray for all her needs. Let’s share our thoughts in a kind, non-judgemental way. May God Bless you all!

Women haters

2018…new year and new expectations. Many people are already asking: is this the year in which Pope Francis will allow married priests?

We are used to times, dates and schedules. Well the Holy Spirit does not work in a time frame! Surprisingly He knows when it’s the best time to help the church grow in certain aspects. We are all in a journey. We grow through experiences, thoughts, questions, encounters, prayer, reflection etc…

We can’t promise anybody that this year we’re going to have married priests officially. But it doesn’t mean that if not, the process would have been stopped! In a flick of a second, what is considered impossible may become possible! Let’s remember that very hard experience of Moses. Who would face the pharoah (like a powerful king), to tell him to liberate the slaves? Facing the pharoah could have meant death…let alone proposing such an out of the box question!! It took him a long time to let the people of God out of Egypt, yet at one moment he seemed to have said yes…only to change his mind again after a few days!

Moses did face a lot of challenges in driving the people of God out of Egypt. They faced enormous tasks including that of feeding a large crowd in the desert. Yet in the end, after a very tough journey and a long time, they did reach destination.

That’s our hope today. One day or another, the Catholic Church cannot survive without priests. It cannot deny reality anymore if it wants to survive! Married priests will bring about a new reflection on the teaching of the church. They will be the necessary tool in order to bring about some necessary and urgent changes in the church.

On other hand, some of our readers, who are so impatient to see the changes in the church in a very short time, do not know the background of the Catholic Church. Believe it or not we are progressing. Let’s have a look to see at what stage we were just a few years ago. I’m sure some of you will feel very bad at reading some of the texts. As we’ve been writing for quite some time, the women haters in the church have been at the top position for too many years. We need to remove the old mentality first, before we see the benefit of a woman who accompanies her priest to make him more holy!

These are some of the texts below which show the dominant position of women haters who interpreted everything according to their own philosophical-theological understanding!

“Women were created essentially to satisfy the lust of men .” “I do not allow women to teach, nor to take authority in front of their husbands, but to be silent.” (Saint John Chrysostom)

” Women should not be illustrated or educated in any way, in fact, they should be segregated, as they are causes of insidious and involuntary erections (!) In male saints.” “The woman is an inferior being and is not created in the image and likeness of God.” It corresponds, then, to justice, as well as to the natural order of humanity, for women to serve men, just order only occurs when the man commands and the woman obeys “(Saint Augustine)

“If the woman does not submit to the man, who is her head, she becomes guilty of the same sin as a man who does not submit to Christ.” ” Nothing more impure than a woman in the period . impure “(San Jerónimo)

“The woman is inferior to the man in virtue and in dignity” . “In everything that refers to the individual is defective and badly born, because the active power of the male seed tends to produce a perfect resemblance in the male sex, while the production of a woman comes from a lack of active power ” (Saint Thomas of Aquino)

As usual we welcome readers to continue growing in their faith by sharing their thoughts.

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.

The hidden challenges ahead

In the Catholic church we have witnessed centuries of blind obedience. We were practically trained in order to follow rules. We were always presented with a long list of what to do and what not to do. Everything was very clear….there was the truth, and there was the lie. If one tried to go against the tide, one would have sunk immediately. There was the middle age image that if one goes against the rule of the church, one would be penniless because people would make a boycott against all his professional activity.

How could one change all this? This is the beauty of the Catholic Church. When there is no hope, something new is born. A frail, sick and very old pope was elected. Everybody was commenting that the church was in a very bad position. He was practically elected to govern for a few more years until the two main parties found a consensus on a real pope! The dying pope was a pope in transition! He was Pope Saint John XXIII.

Well, the dying pope called for an ecumenical council (1962-65). As he lived in other countries where the Catholic religion was a minority, he met many good people. It started his own spiritual adventure: how could a good person, alas not baptised, not go to heaven? In a few words he started to put odd questions. He started to question the status quo of the Catholic Church.

These few paragraphs are very brief in explaining to most of our readers the culture of the Catholic Church. Practically most of our readers were born after the Second Vatican Council. I’m assuming that most of them did not receive a proper education where they were invited to come up with questions!! It’s like the old class where students where invited to listen and to jot down notes!

Nowadays even if one enters a classroom, one has to encounter students who have to ask many questions…one can’t simply bring the ready-made material for the class and to expect them simply to jot down the notes….the mentality has changed. Now, can adults do the same? Can we prepare a new spiritual ‘army’ with questions outside the box?

This is what the married priesthood entails. I’ve just met a religion teacher who was profoundly effected by the fact that one of the lecturers in the theology department was married…and he was a priest too! It’s a very old mentality where priesthood and marriage are not compatible. As if Jesus in one sacrament was against Jesus in the other sacrament!!!!!

For this reason, it shows that we can’t let others speak for us! We have to take the initiative to explain things to people. Many people still don’t know that Anglican priests are coming over with their wives whilst Catholic priests cannot marry!!! We can’t take anything for granted. We need to meet many more people. Many people following Catholic Media still don’t know about the Pope’s intention for Brasil!

We can’t wait for the pie to fall from the sky. We have to take action. We have to show the people how many priestless parishes there are going to be. We have to explain that a church without the Eucharistic celebration is nothing. The Catholic church can’t survive without celebrating the Eucharist at least once a week. On the other hand, a parish is simply not a sacrament station where one goes to fill up once a week. There has to be a community building. A community building needs some responsible people to be in the parish all the time. It’s not just going to celebrate a mass on a Sunday, and then going away soon after. Who is going to look for the lost sheep? Who is going to explain a lot of things of our faith? Who is going to comfort and give his shoulders to many people who feel all alone? There are many more duties which could make the Catholic Church come out alive but how could all this happen if there is no one to take on all these duties?

We need married priests, because they are prone to stay for a long time in a parish. They give a stable view of the parish, besides, they are already involved with the school system, teens parties etc….Their own children have to meet and mix with the rest of the parish! It’s a good way to keep the parish priest up-to-date with the parish current situation.

The Father professor and his student

I’m Adele. When I was twenty, I met Fr. Karol. He was my professor first, and our friendship, relationship, whatever you want to call it, took place over about nine months. We got to know each other slowly because his class was a lecture, so he didn’t have much interaction with students. But I made a point of bringing him food, and asking him how he was doing because while he was all passion and jubilance in public, he’d make off comments in class which suggested he was lonely—he was a foreigner in a new country, after all.

My kindness to him, asking him if he had somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, inviting him to my family’s dinners, asking how he was doing, as well as my performance as a student made him interested in me. Two things really changed our relationship from just student-teacher to friendship, however. First, I told him I wanted to study theology, specifically, the same area he specialized in. So, I asked if he would mentor me. He said absolutely he would. He was pleased someone was actually interested in his area of study.

Second, I went on a retreat where he was one of the priests who heard confessions. There were only two priests to choose from, and I knew them both, so I chose him. It was an intense confession because of what I had to confess had to do with trauma I had been through in my life. Hearing my confession was difficult for him because he was getting to know me because we had already made somewhat of a connection. I think it was then I knew he cared about me in some capacity, so I began to confide in him more and more. After a few months of spending more time with him, we developed a bond.

Well, maybe there is a third reason. Toward the end of the first semester, he asked me, with tears in his eyes, “Why are you so kind to me?” I told him, I honestly didn’t know, but probably because he was a good professor. Then, he told me that he was very glad I asked him over for Thanksgiving, because even though he had already been invited by another professor, for the first two years, no one invited him, meaning this is the first year he wasn’t alone for that holiday. Most significantly, he told me he was very lonely the first two years living in the US. When he told me this, I felt obligated to be attentive to him in the future, and it reminded me of my own father, who I always tried to make feel less lonely.

I was not interested in him romantically. What I wanted was a father figure. He was about twenty years older than me, and I was hurting because my father had recently left my mother and younger brother. Maybe he wanted was companionship, or maybe, a relationship, and perhaps he didn’t know what he wanted. But what he did want—he told me all this—was for me to read his books, talk about his scholarship with him, go out to eat with him, and he even mentioned visiting me when I went off to grad school, and he hoped to go on vacation with me at some point, (which I know, he made it sound all very romantic without intending to, I think, but I focused on the fact that he was a priest). He was looking to the future, a future in which I’d be a student he could be proud of.

We did go out to eat together sometimes. When we did, I got the distinct feeling that what he wanted from me, I couldn’t give him. I was naïve, so I had no idea how to interpret this feeling. In retrospect, I think I knew he was looking at me in a romantic way, but I didn’t know how to take it.

When I talked about my father, he’d get very upset, as in, he’d literally start tearing up. I’m not sure he knew how to handle my sadness, so he’d try to cheer me up by telling me that I was beautiful, that I was brilliant, that God loved me very much.

Later in our friendship, he revealed why it was so hard for him to hear about it: his own mother sent him away to boarding school because he was too high-energy, but she kept the other children at home with her. He felt utterly abandoned too. At one point, when I was crying with him, about my father, he told me would “never abandon me,” that’d he’d “always be in my life, no matter what.”

Every time we were together, there was a tension that I couldn’t name, and it felt uncomfortable for both of us. Except he’d always act like whatever time I spent with him was a priority. I’d ask him if it was okay for me to visit him in his office. Sometimes he’d be in a foul mood, but he always said “why wouldn’t it be okay for you to be here?” I think he was exhausted from pretending to be happy all the time, and with me, he felt more like he could be himself. I was one of the few people in his day to ask how he was doing, and I actually wanted to know.

There wasn’t just one thing that showed me that he cared. There were just many small things, like the way he was attentive and kind and sometimes teasing; the way he confided in me; the way he showed me he was so much more interested in me than other students. There were some big things too: When a cardinal from another city came to visit for a talk, there were a group of his students wanting to meet the cardinal. In front of a big group of his students, he chose to introduce me to the cardinal, completely ignoring all of his other students—they might as well have been invisible, since he didn’t even refer to their presence. I was so embarrassed because they all looked annoyed and disappointed to be ignored. I was just a sophomore, and he passed up students he had known longer than me to introduce me. He also would tell me he was meditating on me, trying to figure me out.

He came to know me, extremely well. He knew who my friends were and what was important to me. When I went on a different retreat my mom asked him to write a letter for me of support, as often people do on retreats. It was beautiful, and I could tell he put a lot of time in it, and he addressed me, “Dearest Pearl.” More important to me, however, is that he showed up for the part of the retreat in which family and friends come out to show you how much they care about you. Honestly, only he and my mom showed up, which amazed me. I went up to hug him and thanked him for showing up. Later, a woman there who I met on the retreat told me “it was so nice for your boyfriend to show up.” And it bothered me that a stranger thought we were together.

I have bipolar disorder, and because of all the sleep I missed with the retreat keeping us up late, and all the homework I had to catch up on that coming weekend, by Wednesday that week I was manic. (Sleep deprivation in people with bipolar disorder causes otherwise stable people to become manic.)

Because of the boyfriend comment, I became paranoid that people were spreading rumors about us being a couple. But quite honestly, his showing up confused me. Even though my mom invited him, she later said she invited just about everyone, and of course, he could have not shown up, saying that he was too busy or just politely declined. His being at the retreat suggested to me, at the time, that he wanted to be in my life more deeply, and I didn’t know how I felt about it.

Later that week, I went to his office to talk to him about it. Mid-conversation, the tears flowed so copiously, I had to lean forward to see him clearly. With what words I had left during mania, which makes people hyper-religion and grandiose, I asked him “are we like St Teresa and John of the cross?” He didn’t have an answer. It was my way of asking “this is strange and convoluted and intense but chaste friendship, right”? And he not understanding made me cry harder, so I kept apologizing because I knew I had asked something which couldn’t be undone, I wanted he and I to be good and holy, but I couldn’t say the words. My mind was too on fire to speak, to reason, and my eyes were too covered in tears to see, that I had to leave him there in his office, just to stop crying. As a 20 year old, I didn’t have the boundaries or the language to ask what his intentions were, or what he wanted from me. So it all came out wrong, I admit that. However, there was something obviously wrong with me, but of course, unless you have experience with people who are bipolar or are in the mental health field, you’re not going to know what is going on.

By the end of the week, I was in the hospital because I couldn’t sleep and it was causing me to be delirious. While I was in the hospital, he called my mom, telling her I was in love with him and that I couldn’t speak to him anymore. He said that if I did, he’d report me to the administration. When I got out of the hospital and my mother told me this, my first reaction was anger. I hated that he would assume that I wanted anything from him other than for him to be a priest. It hurt me to know he thought so ill of me, like I was a stupid romantic girl. It seemed so out of the blue for him to make that accusation. To this day, I have no idea what it was. I think he may have been afraid of the attention I drew to him by showing up and leaving his office crying. I think by then he knew that other students and professors were aware that I was a “favorite” student, and I think he might have been afraid of the worst possible perception.

Every time I saw him after that he looked, so, so, so, miserable, and when I saw him in class his eyes were bloodshot and glistening, the way they would be on the several occasions he had gotten upset in front of me. It was the end of the semester before the summer, so I didn’t have to see him very much at all, only a few times, but I knew it would be too hard to have to see him again, to be treated like a pariah after he promised to never abandon me, that I left the university. I considered him an important father figure in my life, so it devastated me to be rejected by ANOTHER father figure.

What I wish more than anything that he was honest with himself and with me what he wanted all along. I was only twenty, and I have no idea how he thought I’d figure this all out on my own without guidance. It would have been kinder too if he told me the truth, and spoke directly to me why we couldn’t see each other anymore, instead of going to my mom, of all people. In retrospect, however, I think the whole friendship was kind of inappropriate. Once he heard my confession and began to “counsel” me about my father, he put himself in a pastoral role. That pastoral role has certain responsibilities to not become overly involved, as it creates confusion for both parties. It’s why therapists don’t hang out with their patients. With all he knew about me, all he had promised to me, he had a so much power over me. It was an abuse of power for him to treat me the way he did. I found him a comforting presence, so I turned to him for help, and he offered himself as the answer to my problems. He should have known better.

We invite all our readers to give their thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement to our Adele. Please remember that anybody can fall in love at any moment in his/her life. It has nothing to do with one’s mental health or way of life. We are humans. We can’t survive without love. Now if it is born in the so called ‘wrong place’, what can we do? Removing our love feelings towards somebody is not like erasing a mistake on paper. It goes much deeper than that. Love is our universal language!