Tag Archive: Joseph Muscat


There are various studies about the role of the priest. There has been several contributions in this field. It adds to our golden treasure in the Catholic Church. We should be aware of the contributions of several people at the Universities who in silence and great patience try to discover what’s in the Bible and beyond. They bring about a silent revolution. Unfortunately, their works remain hidden in libraries and very few people will get to know about their sterling work. Here we are providing just two links: the priest in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

On the other hand, a book cannot tell people what to do in various particular situations. In other words, although we need to know our past, yet the present and the future call for a new solution. Why is this? It’s for one simple reason: the role of the priest revolved around the temple or of offering a sacrifice to the Highest One. Now we all know that most churches are becoming simply museums. They have a glorious past, but there aren’t any more people!

In this case, shall we continue to focus on the temple [church], when people aren’t coming? In old medieval cities, all life evolved around the temple. Nowadays, the temple is just a building. There are a lot of people who are not aware of having a church in their neighbourhood. This is because the importance of a church in their lives has greatly diminished!

In this sense our call for married priesthood is a link to the outside world. The priest, having children, has to follow his sons and/or daughters in their lives. Consequently as a parent he has to face all the challenges facing young people today. It’s a way to invite the priest to leave the comfort zone of the temple and go out and meet today’s world where the criteria are completely different!

Meeting other parents, the priest may recognise the need of family visiting where he meets people in their own comfort zone. From personal experience, I know that people talking in their house are completely different than people who speak in a church! On thing leads to another. So the image of the priest cannot be that of one who leads the congregation in a church but more of somebody who would like to give a personal invitation for a reflection about life and offering a different choice.

We are not implying that liturgy [public worship] is not important. But we cannot administer the sacraments if the people don’t know anything about them. It’s time to reinforce the catechumenate where people spend some time preparing themselves before being admitted into the Catholic Church. Statistics prove that the people attending church are becoming a diminishing minority. Shall we focus on this small part of the cake and leave the majority like abandoned sheep? Jesus Christ was prepared to leave the 99 to go for the missing one. Are our parishes looking for the missing oneS [plural on purpose].

One surprising reflection on the New Testament is that Jesus Christ celebrated mass only once in his entire life on earth although there is a written record of attending the synagogue. He spent most of his time teaching people. Are our parishes giving so much energy in teaching and helping the faith of all the parishioners?

One stumbling block is that priests in a parish are calculated according to how many masses are celebrated during the weekend. This leads to a total disaster because the priest is not simply a celebrant or administrator of the sacraments. This is just a small slot in his busy timetable. We would be discarding an important part of his mission. On the positive side, this could be the reason by which married priests might be introduced in the Catholic Church.

All in all, it points to one direction: we need to reflect on the bible about the priest’s role to be more faithful to our Catholic tradition, yet we need to adapt to today’s changes where the priest is practically an unknown person in the modern cosmopolitan city.

The secret hand of God

Children would like to win when playing games. Adults want to come out as intelligent and mature persons when conducting a project at work. The Jewish people too wanted a superman in order to get rid of the then so powerful Roman Empire! In any case, everybody wants/wanted to come out with flying colours!

How come then we’re celebrating the death of a man nailed to a cross? Is this the promised victory? What kind of victory is that? It seems that the so called bad people had won!

Although we’ve been brainwashed [at times] in the Catholic church, there are moments when one is all alone. One can’t do what others did. It’s a personal situation where each individual has to give a personalised answer!

The married priesthood is another subject which cannot be judged on a yes or no campaign. We don’t say it’s possible or not. We firmly believe that it’s in God’s hands for the future. Now God, the way He handles these projects is in a different manner. If we just look at one of His extraordinary projects [the church], he didn’t select the very best [according to our frame of mind]! Yet no one can deny that it was another wonder of the world! Companies get dissolved after a few years or in other words, no company has withstood 2 centuries though!

As married priesthood is aimed for the future, it links with another group of people: the prophets. Prophets in the old Testament [Bible], used to talk in a strange language. They used to see things that others didn’t. No prophet knew how far away was the actualisation of his words. Though they firmly believed that one day it would have been put into practise.

The signs that make us believe that it will happen is that the number of candidates for priesthood is getting the lowest record. We’re speaking in a general manner because in very few countries they are still having an incredible high number.

The church can’t survive in such an environment. I do mix with people and many times when discussing religion, I realise how little do they know about true religion! How can they learn if there is no one to teach them? What about their daily lives? Do they turn to God? Well, we can safely say that the old prayers are gone forever. Even though people can surely meet God in other areas and circumstances, we firmly believe from daily experience that if we don’t have a timetable, most probably we turn to God [maybe] when we encounter a negative experience!

As usual, when discussing any subject in the church, there should be a dose of prayer. It’s not just the sharing of ideas. We are walking together on a journey to discover God in the futuristic church where married priests will be present.

Just to make our ideas more clear let’s make an example: discussing forgiveness. One can discuss at length about the subject but finally one has to pray a lot in order to practise it in one’s life. This is because one needs God’s help to be able to live it!

Let’s not see married priesthood on its own. It’s just one project alongside others which finally will enhance the church to be able to be again an important player in society in this century.

A different approach

I still remember some of the so called good old days in the church where people used to be afraid of breaking tradition in Lent by eating prohibited food or to exceed the exact quantity of some food! Well we had a particular formation where tradition used to occupy a central place. Fasting was a way of life in a Christian’s perspective. It was tradition.

Today, when walking in a city, there is rarely a sign of people who fast! Most people broke with tradition. People do not feel that tradition is a reason why we have to continue the same way of life. People feel that they need a change. Some of them are looking for a direct communication with our Lord, in or outside the church. If they don’t fast, it doesn’t mean that they do not believe in God or that they are far away!

The direct approach is their meaning of prayer. They ask any kind of question especially those outside the box because they are looking for something honest, caring, understanding and meaningful. If one asks, one expects an answer. Some people do not find answers. How is God going to provide answers to some curious questions?

God works through us. We are the ones who have to provide an answer to these thirsty and hungry people for God!

If we compare statistics, we might become pessimistic of how many people are not attending church any more! There are many people who are so alienated that they do not know that it’s the Lent season! On the other hand, if we are truly living this Lent, we might see things differently.

The rush to buy more or to get more rich, is a request to find God ultimately, according to St. Augustine’s philosophy. We might be the link for others to show them where God is. Maybe it’s not the time for fasting, but it’s time to go and look for others and help them contact God.

This applies especially when discussing married priesthood. It’s the link that people are looking for to find a humane church where it understands their daily challenges to live a normal life! It is the link that they are looking for. Whenever I’m discussing this issue amongst people who have left the church, I always see a smile and a genuine interest to come back to church.

The other side of the coin shows people who are still attending church ceremonies yet they are strongly in line with tradition. Taking away tradition means taking one’s life in their own frame of mind! We have to explain the reason maybe of breaking up with the tradition of celibate priests. We have to pray together in order that the Lord will illuminate the challenges facing the church today, especially that of lack of priests!

In our frame of mind too we have to let God move us towards new pastures! Although the hurdles seem insurmountable, yet we do believe that God can move mountains! At times, we don’t need a very large following. Maybe we might need just one prophet who with the appropriate words can bring the necessary changes in the church for the good of all! In this sense, this week, there have been some positive and significant changes in order that priests could get married!

Another article is found here. Have a spiritual and meaningful Lent!

We met in 2001. I worked in a hospital, but Vladislav came to a Christmas event for the patients as a priest.

We have been in a relationship for 16 years and have 2 children. It was very clear to Vladislav, that at the beginning of the relationship, I was looking for a family and not just some amusement. I hold family values very high. I have always thought of him as my husband and he has been calling me his wife.

Fifteen years ago, when we were expecting our first child, incredibly his provincial [The head of a religious order] advised him to leave the family, because “She’ll find someone else”. Vladislav was moved to another country!

When we were expecting our second child he wanted to convert to Eastern Rite Catholics, but his brother, a Roman Catholic bishop didn’t allow that. His brother also told me that Vladislav would be happier without me!!!

The elder child, our son, was very attached to his dad. When Vladislav left us, the son started having health problems.

During these years I have been forced to leave my friends, my job in the school and the university, just to be able to pay the bills. I worked illegally – without holidays for years, because Vladislav’s financial contribution was unpredictable.

In the period when we didn’t meet each other, Vladislav fell to the final stage of alcoholism.

When I met Vladislav – he was like a slum, not a living person. He couldn’t move or sleep normally, he talked like an insane person.

Immediately I led him to a detoxification, to narcologists. Vladislav started having epilectic seizures. At the moment, any amount of alcohol can go fatal to him, causing a psychosis, which would turn him into a “vegetable”.

Because of the risk of having an epilepsy attack, he must not stay alone – not even a minute. Vladislav also had severe memory impairment. He had been living at home. Our children and I helped him return to life, regain his memory and intellectual abilities.

I persuaded him to go through the Minnesota program for addicts. According to the doctors, a situation of Vladislav remaining in the ministry would leave a very bad impression to the children.

Unfortunately, when he lived at home, in family, he received messages from his brother (bishop): “Your only choice is to run away secretly. You must remain sacred even against your own will !!!!!”.

His sister persuaded him to leave by inventing lies. He said to our little daughter: “I’ll be back in 3 days, and we will go to a pizzeria.” It’s been two years since that day but he is yet to come back!

I wrote to the Order and turned to an international organization for help.

The General Father of the Order didn’t allow him to leave the ministry. He said that my request was ‘not well grounded.’

I was presented with a contract in which the father could meet with the children 4 times a year – according to them!! Is that how to bring up children?!!! In this contract I was named ‘a nuisance’.

I believe that the way the RCC behaves towards me, the children and Vladislav, is a crime.

Please be careful with your comments as this is a very sensitive case of a The Roman Catholic Church abusing a woman. Let’s show our practical belief by helping and not judging a person who had the courage to write her story on our blog. Let’s keep her in our prayers.

Why is Pope Francis hesitating?

Most commentators speak or write about the Catholic Church as outsiders or as people who don’t know what’s going on. It’s like when you hear that a couple has just separated! For all those who do not form part of their inner circle, it’s a big shock! Surprisingly, the couple itself may have been thinking of separation for many weeks or perhaps years!

Why is Pope Francis so hesitant? Well after so many centuries of biased teaching against women how can he reconcile the idea of priests living 24/7 with a woman? We have witnessed for many years that intelligent women were classified as if having a special connection with the devil! There couldn’t be an intelligent woman, if yes, then there was witchcraft somewhere, somehow!

Priests on their own will be more easy to control. Having a woman alongside might present problems as she might speak truthfully and directly contrary to many priests who still value obedience above justice or retribution! And what about divorce? What if the relationship gets sour? What will happen? Will the priest divorce? Will he live with another woman? That will be too much to accept!

Priests, although they speak about marriage, makes them the most vulnerable people in marriage because they have no experience of a true, deep relationship. Nowadays they used to being transferred after some years. From our point of view, married priests, if helped to meet the right partner and grow up in emotional maturity, might bring a new reflection to divorce and all that pertains to marriage!!

Priests

[like politicians]

occupy a central position in society. They are surrounded by people who practically adore them. They find most of the work done by others. They simply have to come in and finish it themselves whilst taking all the glory! Having a family will destroy his free time and his free roaming around at will. How can a priest submit himself to another human being [woman]? Or how can he take care of child 24/7? That will be too much!

Another reason which tops it all is that of priests who are married. They are still seen as lepers! They have left because they were not capable of living the priestly life. How can he let them back again? If they are allowed to come back, other priests might protest that they have remained ‘faithful’ to their call whilst they have to work with others who have simply betrayed their calling!

We know that these priests who have left have not betrayed anyone because they have been faithful to their conscience because they couldn’t hide their spiritual and emotional growth. They didn’t want to live a double life. On the contrary, other priests might have stayed because they were too afraid to make the big decision or because they found the normal life too threatening!

In the meantime, if the Pope doesn’t make this bold step forward, he might be condemning the church to just a few followers as many have chosen to vote with their feet. We had already many issues in the church (most popular at the time of the council was the ‘no’ against contraceptives), which made most of the flock to leave! Shall we have the situation where priest celebrates mass on his own or with very few people?

The Catholic Church is in no position to dictate what other people have to do especially after the Pell trial in Australia! Married priesthood would be the first step in the right direction to start building people’s faith in the church once again. Married priests will surely bring about other significant changes. At the same time we have to realise that a change never comes from those who are leading a happy life! It’s the people who are suffering who push for a change. Those areas without a priest should seek married ones. No priest can deny spiritual help to baptised people (that’s a law of the church!). Let’s start the change by knowing where married priests are and ask for their services! Just have a look at these websites: USA; Europe.

The sun behind the clouds

Students have exams in order to test their abilities. We, as grown ups, we have our own situations where we feel we are being tested. In the human life, there are situations where although the people are adults and mature, they feel at a loss what to do or how to react. It could be that the present situation was not the desired one or a one which changes our life completely.

We feel at crossroads. What shall we do? This is the time where the true church has to show its true colours. We are all pilgrims walking towards our Risen Lord. We are people of faith. Even if we don’t see, yet we believe. It’s a cloudy season yet we firmly believe that behind the dark clouds, there is the sun.

Most of the old Testament prophets spoke about the future which they had never experienced! Yet they still preached the message requested by their faith. We too need faith to accept the latest developments. We need a lot of faith so that what we believe in, will be the norm in the Catholic Church.

Lately, according to the latest news, Pope Francis seems to have changed his mind. He is simply letting married people to help with the distribution of the sacraments in remote areas. Actually we don’t know if they would truly be called priests! But it’s a big no to priests who might consider marrying! Consequently, we don’t think he would be letting other priests who left to come back!

It seems that marriage is still being viewed as something which hinders priestly duties! What makes one laugh is that I don’t know of many priests who have truly a packed timetable! So why all the fuss that the priest can’t follow his timetable?! What do priests do during the week, especially morning time? Family visits are still largely unknown in many parishes of the world. How are the priests reaching out to people? Mass attendance has gone down drastically especially in the Western World! They don’t have long queues for confession neither.

How can we help? We can write, talk, discuss with other media/people to show the benefits of marriage in Catholic priesthood. One which helps the priest understand life today especially when having one’s own kids! The priest would be doing a practical exercise in relationships when living with his wife 24/7. Like in all other organisations, we have to convince other people of our arguments. It’s NOT the end of our ‘war’! We might lose the battle in the coming months but not the war!

In this case I would like to comment that at times we are finding difficulty in practising dialogue between ourselves. We still have to grow in maturity ie the way we write our opinion and they way we react when somebody does not agree with our opinion. If we react in the same way with people who do not agree with married priesthood, we would be hijacking our own purpose!

Let’s remember that some people have been brainwashed with the learn by heart answers given by the Catholic Church for many years or better centuries. But when one thinks about it deeply, one might change his mind. Please do remember that most people are backing our way of thinking. The only problem is that the Pope together with other priests and bishops are failing to see the writing on the wall. If the church is in dire straits, it should be practical and think about its own future. If not, it might risk of becoming a very small minority! Let’s use and believe in the force of prayer to make great changes in the church.

I met M in the summer of 2010 on an online dating site. Of course, he didn’t tell me (or anyone) that he was an ordained Roman Catholic Priest at that time. We struck up a conversation and within 2 weeks decided to meet for coffee.

I knew I liked him immediately and he seemed to be drawn to me as well. On our second date, after pressing for a little more information about him, other than what he’d told me (he was currently in graduate school), he finally revealed his “profession.” I was definitely shocked, but it didn’t bother me.

I was raised Jewish and live a very open-minded type of life. I think people deserve to be happy and I believe that God would want us to be. I don’t think I had ever met a priest before and I knew nothing about Catholicism other than whatever I had garnered from news and popular culture. Anyway, M’s profession didn’t stop me from wanting to get to know him more, although he warned me that he was a year away from finishing school and wouldn’t be able to maintain a relationship after that. 

At first, I was alright with the idea of a short-term fling. I really liked him and was attracted to him. He obviously felt the same about me, but he did maintain some boundaries to the physical side of the relationship, at least at first. A few months in was when the problem really started. I was definitely falling in love with him and I knew he was doing the same, even though he kept insisting this relationship had a very definite end-date when he graduated. Nevertheless, we kept seeing one another. It was probably both the dumbest thing and the smartest thing I have ever done. While he was in school (thousands of miles from his hometown) getting further education in a specialized area for his future job, we maintained relative anonymity. My friends didn’t question what he “did” outside of being a grad student and no one in his world knew about me. 

After a year, we were definitely in too deep to stop but the time came for him to go back to his hometown. I couldn’t drop everything and follow him, so we maintained a long-distance relationship for 2 more years. We did try to end it at one point but neither of us wanted that. We would visit every few months but we wrote and talked on the phone daily. Throughout this time, he continued to insist that he could never leave the priesthood but I continued to love him despite that and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. 

Around the 3-year mark, I decided I wanted a change of pace (and careers) and I moved out to be closer to him. We ended up buying a house about 20 minutes away from his home and parish, but over state lines so that I lived in a different diocese and he could come visit on the weekends, fairly anonymously. We lived this secret and double life quite well, even though it was hard on me both to see him so little – as you know, his job as a priest was very demanding – and to have to hide myself and our relationship from others who knew him. One of the hardest parts was not being able to spend holidays together. He had church and family obligations and I was alone, thousands of miles away from my family. Over time, I urged him to consider leaving active ministry, even to just take a break and figure things out, but it just wasn’t the right time and I felt in my heart that if I didn’t pressure him, he’d eventually come around. I had no doubt he loved me very much. The question was just always, did he love me “enough?” 

Another question was “how long can we keep this up?” We had a few close calls with being found out but we managed to keep our relationship a secret, even while living so close and spending so much time together. Until the Spring of 2016. That’s when everything changed. His Associate Pastor lived next door and had been noticing my car around regularly when I would come over for dinner or to visit M. Around April or May of 2016, almost 3 years after I had moved out there to live near M, and nearly 6 years into our relationship, this man decided to voice his concern to M’s church superiors. We don’t think he suspected the full truth of what was going on but he said he was concerned that M was becoming too close to a woman. 

In June of 2016, M was called to speak to his Vicar General, second in charge after the Bishop. The Vicar General relayed the concerns that had been brought to him by the Associate Pastor and M recalls having the realization that this was “it.” His moment of truth. He could easily have talked his way out of the situation and reassured his superior that nothing was happening, but he decided to come clean and reveal our long-time relationship and his choice to continue it. 

A few more conversations later, within about a week’s time, M was relieved of his duties and moved his few belongings into the house we owned across town. We lived together for a year before having our civil wedding and it took one more year for all of M’s paperwork to get fully completed to allow him to marry in the church. We had our Catholic wedding in the summer of 2018, almost exactly 8 years from our first date. 
Despite our happy ending, I don’t want to downplay how hard the entire thing was.

The relationship had very high highs and very low lows. There was nothing fun or exciting about being a secret. I often worried that M didn’t love me enough to make our relationship real, but I did have some deep faith or intuition that he did and I just had to be patient. I would never recommend this type of relationship to anyone else. I could have just as easily been heartbroken and shattered if M were not as good of a person as he is. If you are reading this and are in love with a priest, don’t ever be fooled into thinking that he will easily give up his vocation to be with you. I know the reality is that most never will. 

We are approaching our 2nd wedding anniversary and 9th anniversary of being together and I still love him as much as ever (possibly more). So I have no regrets, only gratitude that I get to tell a story that ends in our happiness. M is a braver and stronger person than he ever thought, and over the past couple of years we have made an amazing life for ourselves. I truly believe that God brought us together and I’m grateful to have found my soulmate, despite how difficult it was to get to this point. 

Your soul mate : a priest

I’m Rosalie and my priest’s name is Jeremy. We met 10 years ago, although I already knew him as a child. He is an orthodox priest monk of very high level. I was extremely suffering from traumas and a hard life. Everybody had abandoned me. It was absolutely emergency situation! So I asked him to be with me as long as I do not have anybody else. He immediately agreed. I needed a person really involved with me, not just counselling!!!

It took only a few weeks when we fell deeply in love. I was so traumatized I was never sure if he really loves me but he said it all the time and was writing nice things on whatsapp and seemed to be in love with me. I struggled much because of my traumatic condition.

Well during this relationship development I also was on a journey towards God and Jesus (again). God himself “told” me this is my man. I completely began to understand the meeting of us both was inevitable! Of course I struggled him not being able to marry me, also because leaving church at his age is impossible. He is more than 30 years older than me.

I was convinced through God’s messages that this really is my man. God left no doubt. Absolutely no doubt. And we keep on maintaining this relationship for 10 years now. Sometimes he visits me, most of the time I visit him. He never agreed he would not love me no matter how much I argued with him. Also it is impossible to abandon him. God leads me always back to him. We are only hugging and kissing, does not mean we never wanted to get more close to each other. I do not want him to struggle with God so I am careful about getting closer with him than just kissing and hugging, although we kiss like a man and a woman for real.

Concerning priests and marriage: I think we should always seek solution to problems without leaving out God’s existence. God is logic. So I would start with logical thinking about that matter.

Only God knows our destiny. Many Christians believe there is always a soul for a woman or men to meet in this life. Although some might argue not everybody meets his or her soul to connect with, It does not change the fact that when deep love occurs between two souls and this love was given to these souls by God, nobody has the right to prevent this connection to stay alive in a holy and healthy way, for both of them. It is not healthy to be separated form the holy sacraments, when you live a love you can’t abandon!

A priest can be lead into service and out of service by God. If he falls in love with a woman and this love is true love it would be a sin to prevent them to live this love. Logically thinking a woman is not worse than a dog or pet. She has also a holy living soul with whom one can connect to without any sin. How can you just abandon and throw away a living holy soul even if the soul belongs to a woman? This is complete insane mindset!

Promise celibacy for the rest of your life is blind and not a failure of such men who do promise this. You can never know whether you meet a soul you want to connect with in a deep way or not. So the decision is made by God.

Sometimes the love by soul is followed the connection by flesh. Strong love can develop like this. There is nothing sinful about this. On the other side sin is committed by those who prevent such couples to live the full life in church with dignity. Many couples have to wait for years until the pope allows them to marry and to take part in the sacraments of the church. This is not a situation that should occur. 

We can look at the example of Christian orthodox churches where priests are allowed to marry. They prove that they are responsible family fathers and afterwards they can become a priest. But here we see also the ignorance of God’s will to occur in our life. The wonder of love can also fall upon priest monks, who until the point of becoming priest monks have not met their woman to love yet.

Such situations force the secret couples to live in secret and is followed by very much struggle. No, it is not possible to think that you should and can always abandon such a relationship. To try with every part of your soul to forget your beloved is insane. Why should you abandon true love?

Often you can’t live without this person. It seems to be like this, you are absolutely connected by God and strong love. Strong love is a phenomenon that makes you ill if you can’t live it. You do not always have to be aware of your partner being sent to you by God. You just know you can never let go.

So in my opinion the church should generally accept that destiny of people is in God’s hands and the church can not reign over lives of people instead of God. If a catholic priest or an orthodox priest monk meet a woman they want to marry there should be a regular possibility to do so, without the struggles to occur that you maybe loose church and by the way God. These are severe wrong beliefs, such people are brainwashed by an ideology which is far from logic and God. 

Readers! You’re kindly requested to continue the discussion with your useful and intelligent comments. May God Bless you All!

Happy New Year!

We are very pleased that some of our readers have reached a very high level of maturity when it comes to discussing married priests. It is a clear sign that the Holy Spirit can steer the minds and souls of common people if the need arises! The Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit can give flesh and blood to a whole cemetery! God is not a God because He performs normal procedures or work. He is God because He does best what others classify as ‘impossible’. In other words, nothing is impossible for God. If we are true believers, we should believe it 100%.

Let’s be more clear. Some of our readers are truly understanding how many stumbling blocks the priest has to face before or if, he decides to leave the parish or the monastery! In some cases, he is aware of hurting the woman, yet for some reasons he won’t succeed in jumping over the fence! Again, let’s not play the blaming game. It’s not a question of who is right or wrong but of creating awareness first. Secondly we need to help create the right structure so that it becomes easier for priests to make a mature choice.

This blog was created for this simple reason: let’s discuss the issue of celibacy in priesthood. Let’s not put it under the carpet. I still remember that initially some of the people that I knew in the parish accused me of creating confusion! Maybe they thought that if we don’t discuss the issue it will simply go away! Maybe they were hinting that they don’t like a different opinion on this matter as it will eliminate their unfair position in this debate (ie dominance). In any case, we feel very proud of our blog as it has gained quite a lot of popularity without using any publicity!

Let’s not feel defeated. On the other hand let’s remain with our feet on the ground. The blog on its own is still not enough. We still need to go out and meet other people and share our opinion. We can still write letters to newspapers, radios, televisions etc…We can write letters to the priests, bishops and the Pope himself. We need to be heard. Other people are behind us. They do support our issue. I know of many people, inside and outside the church who are truly believers in our cause.

We need to make some ‘noise’ in the public eye! No revolution started from the top people! It has always started from the base – the common people! Let’s be one solid group in order to make our voice heard from all parts of the world! In the meantime we urge new readers to come forward with their story. We promise to hide their identity, if they feel safer that way. Yet each and every story proves that celibacy is not the issue of a small group of priests!!! It reaches a much bigger and wider audience!

A Happy New Year 2019 to all our readers!

I struggled even writing this, never mind trying to summarise almost 16 years of my on and off friendship with this person. I wanted to share my story to let others know that they’re not alone (because for a while, I felt very alone and as if no one could understand). If I’m being honest, I’m looking for advice and a resolution too. My name is MA and my priest is J.

I met J through a family friend; they were both attending seminary at the time. I was attending a mass for vocations and after, I went down to the church hall for refreshments. It was then that J caught my eye across the room and right away, I wanted to know: “who is HE?” I cannot tell you how silly I felt when my friend introduced him as a fellow seminarian (he was not dressed in his collar). We talked for a while and I was struck by his smile, his dimples, and his pure excitement about becoming a priest, as well as his commitment to our faith and God. Frankly, I was blown away by the sheer chemistry and energy radiating off him and between us. For the record, it was the first (and last) time someone had ever caught my eye in that way. Regardless, I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again.

The following summer, he was placed at my Mom’s church as an intern. Right away, we clicked. We often joined other parishioners for coffee, attended masses for vocations around my state, and he even met a few of my closest friends and family. At this point, I wasn’t thinking of J as anything other than a mentor of sorts, someone who I could talk about my faith with. He also seemed proud of my work in the healthcare field and we discussed helping others a lot. He shared he had been engaged prior to entering the priesthood and had needed to take a break from seminary in order to discern whether he was on the right path. J admitted he struggled with celibacy and the thought of not being a father.

By the end of that summer, we were even closer & I felt sad that I was losing my friend as he headed back to the seminary. I was also a little shocked and confused as to why he hadn’t yet asked me for my email (no cells back then!). He waited literally until minutes before leaving and heading back to ask me for my contact info. I wish I had seen the confusion I felt then for what it was— a foreshadowing of feelings that would characterize and haunt our relationship.

We continued to email at least weekly during his school year and then he started calling me at work. It happened so often, that I actually got in trouble. Not to mention, every time he called, he would say it was “Father J,” making the poor receptionist have a heart attack, thinking that something bad had happened to someone in my family. I was there for his transitional deaconate ceremony and celebrated with him after. He introduced me to his family and I became friends with some of his family members, often emailing them on a regular basis.

His last year of seminary, J. treated me much like the previous year, except our contact greatly increased. A few months before his ordination, he confided that he “wasn’t so sure he wanted to do this and that his biggest fear was getting to his mid-40’s and realizing that he wanted to be a husband and a father.” At this point, I was starting to become physically attracted to J. and finding him working his way into my thoughts more and more. I struggled between the desires of my heart, being a good Catholic and friend, and giving him unbiased advice. I tried to give the best advice I could, encouraging him to take a good, hard look at his motivations. J. basically summed it up as: “My parents want me to be a priest. Besides, what else would I do? I didn’t go to college.” At the time, he neglected to tell me he was a trained healthcare professional himself.

In the end, he followed through with being ordained and it was one of the proudest, yet hardest, days of my life (it still is). I knew how he had struggled with the academic work, his emotions, but persevered because of his strong faith. As he lied prostrate, it felt like a knife to my heart. I love my faith and God, so I felt guilty and ashamed for feeling this way. It was that very day, probably the proudest day of his life, that I realized I was in love with him. The irony was not lost on me.

J ended up in his first placement as a parochial vicar not far from where I live. He invited me to his first mass and told me that my being there helped to decrease his nerves. He also asked me to continue to attend mass there and I found no problem with this, as I was dating a man from the area and often spent my weekends there. J was aware of this and made it obvious he didn’t approve. Despite the tension that my having a significant other created, our friendship continued to strengthen and we started to create special moments together. One snowy Xmas Eve J. begged me not to leave, as he was “lonely” and estranged from some of his family at that time. I helped to advocate for a family member of his when insurance would no longer cover her chemotherapy and filled out numerous amounts of paperwork to get her additional resources. Meanwhile, my faith was growing stronger than ever, but so were my feelings for J. Looking back on it now, I find it odd how I never dreamed that he could possibly reciprocate those feelings; I was brainwashed and saw him as a priest, not a human being. A person not only who is capable of love, but might even be desiring it. It was only until J started acting funny that I questioned his intentions, but immediately dismissed them. He insisted I have a confession with him when I thought it was a conflict of interest and fought with me about not attending a pilgrimage to Italy with his church (I couldn’t afford it at the time, he offered to pay for me). After mass on a beautiful spring day, he offered to walk me to my car after we spent hours chatting and laughing after mass. A red flag went up; I found it strange because we were in a suburban, safe neighborhood, with my car tucked safely in the church parking lot, in broad daylight. However, I was used to his being courteous, and he always walked me to my car but it was always in the presence of fellow priests. I started to feel funny as I loaded my things into my car, only to turn and find him leaning against my door, in close proximity to me. I started to feel that awkwardness when a first date is ending and you don’t know if the guy is going to kiss you or not. I didn’t know if he was going to do or say something, but I knew whatever was coming would change things for both of us forever, so I literally pushed him away, said goodbye, and drove off. I remember, still to this day, seeing his face in my rearview and cried the whole way home. It was the last time I would see him for a decade. There are no words to describe how I felt that day, other than I loved him so much, I wanted to protect him. I also didn’t want to hurt God. I thought of J over the years and wondered if my gut intuition was right regarding his feelings for me and what he was going to do that day or if I totally misread the whole thing.

To make an already long story longer (kudos if you read this far), I ended up lapsing and not going to church for 6 years. I would be lying if I said my love for J wasn’t part of it. However, my faith and spirituality never faltered. It is my main coping mechanism despite chronic health issues and frankly, it’s what keeps me going. About a year ago, I started to get serious about returning to church and yearned for a place where I wouldn’t be judged, feel comfortable, and not be forced by the pastor to get involved behind the scenes in various roles (this has been an issue for me in almost every church I’ve attended). I looked up J to see where he was and found he was assigned to a parish in the same city I work. I attempted to contact him via parish email to break the ice and make it less awkward for us both if I decided to show up. Naively, I figured that so many years had passed; there would be no harm in seeing him again. I assumed he’s now an experienced pastor, that I have grown leaps and bounds and am pretty good at detecting red flags (that’s what happens folks when you’ve been dating since 15!), and that my feelings for him had leveled out because of lack of contact. I even prayed continuously and agonized over my decision. I prepared myself for seeing someone who might have changed in ways I would not appreciate, expected him to be different, even prepared myself that he might have a significant other (yes, we all know the reality). Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I’ve dealt with since my return.

He claims he never got my email message and within minutes of sitting down at my first mass there, I realized my instincts and gut feelings so many years ago were spot on. He turned pale, then beet red, stumbling over his words, hands shaking when he gave me communion, fidgeting when sitting on the altar. I have seen him drop the Eucharist once or twice and it was always the person before me in line. I cannot tell you how awful I felt, as if I was causing him to feel uncomfortable on his own turf and screw up his at his job.

I have never had a more awkward conversation, as I attempted to explain my presence to him. He couldn’t even look me in the eye and reprimanded me for disappearing all those years ago and not telling him why. I think he sees my leaving years ago as rejection, not the protection I intended. However, he never contacted me to see if everything was ok either. I was struck how emotionally immature he seemed, able to interact with parishioners quite easily, but not with me. For some reason with me it seems different; it’s hurtful and painful. J insists he “likes having me there and it’s not awkward for him,” but I don’t feel he’s being honest. There are days he’s friendly and like old J I knew, we laugh and talk with no issues. Then there are others where he ignores me and I don’t know how to act myself. I have always felt comfortable talking to a wide range of people, especially males; I am a tomboy and have mostly male friends. I talk and listen to people for a living, so to be struggling like this is a foreign concept for me. People always tell me that I am easy to talk to, that they feel like they’ve known me for years, and can trust me with anything. It says something that I don’t know how to act when I’m around J.

Over the summer, I started taking J’s unwillingness to open up personally. I also noticed his friendliness and closeness to another female parishioner our age, who is married and whose husband holds a highly respected job. She is actively involved in the parish in a variety of roles and donates a substantial amount of money to the church. I have seen him engage in a way that I think is inappropriate for a pastor to engage with a parishioner but then I think: “am I just biased? Is it purely the fact that she gives money?” I am aware the church is a business. I don’t find that a comfort though—it makes me think less of him and get angry. If money is what he bases his friendships on, I find it sad and hypocritical. I can’t afford to give thousands to my church, but it doesn’t mean I love God any less. I also don’t want to think of the alternative, that she’s special to him in a way she shouldn’t be.

I struggle to understand why he has no issue interacting with this woman but gets nervous and discombobulated around me. I feel jealous and frustrated, as if I’m on an emotional roller coaster. I’m beginning to think we weren’t as close as I thought.

As soon as I pull away emotionally and get to a good place, it seems as if J can almost sense it, and he’ll do something to pull me back in. One day, it was telling how he was struggling. I didn’t want to talk personal issues in front of other parishioners, so I told him to text or call, whatever he felt comfortable with if he needed someone to talk to. It’s something I would do for any friend in need. He’s never once texted, emailed, or called. It’s disconcerting when we used to talk every single week, almost daily. I began thinking if it weren’t for Mary and the Eucharist, I’d consider becoming Protestant. I struggled over the summer to see how my faith could continue to grow in this church, but I didn’t feel like leaving either. I like the people, feel comfortable for the most part, and was doing fine when I got to a peaceful place about J. Finally, I got to a good place emotionally and it lasted for a few months. I was proud of myself.

That all changed. After recently experiencing a serious trauma, suddenly nothing mattered—not J, not this other woman—nothing was as important and crucial to my well-being as God and my faith. I am so thankful and grateful not only to be alive, but to have come to see it as a learning experience that readjusted my priorities. J was involved in my healing process and was honest; he admitted it scared him to see me that way. He told me that “out of all people, you don’t deserve this.”

Since then, I have noticed J. attempting to connect with me, but his immaturity and arrested development often get in the way and act as an obstacle in growing our friendship. He does small things, often within homilies or during prayers that I know are geared towards me. At first, I found myself thinking: “am I narcissistic? Egocentric? I think that was meant for me!” But then a smile or direct eye contact will reassure me, yes, I’m not crazy. I still find my mind drifting off to him, like a school girl with a crush. I feel sad, confused, angry, worried, and alone; it’s not exactly as if I can talk to just anyone about this. There are times, though, when I’m talking to him or praying with him, that I feel such joy and love, love for not only J, but an overwhelming love and closeness to God. One of J’s smiles can send me floating for days.

That being said for me, knowledge is power. I have actually sought out support groups online and in the process, read research and many books about this issue. Yes, women love priests. Some because it’s a challenge, some because they “lack self-esteem,” others because they love the priest not for his role, but because of the amazing man beneath the collar. I fall in this last category; I love J. for who he is, not WHAT he is. Yes, I’ve said it; I’m in love with a priest. It feels freeing to finally say those words. And I am no longer naïve to the fact that priests often love a woman back. I have rationalized my awareness that this man may indeed love me back for way too long. The key is he’ll never love me back in the way I deserve or need. I’ve come to understand that there is no happy ending in this situation. Will I ever tell J how I feel? Probably not, although if he directly calls me out on it, I wouldn’t lie. I don’t plan on leaving his church any time soon either, but don’t have plans to pursue more than a friendship. Believe me, if J ever tells me he’s leaving the priesthood, I’d be the first one (in a long line of women I’m sure) ready and eager to pursue a relationship, one that we both deserve and would be on equal footing.

Meanwhile, I plan on devoting some of my energy to advocating for the married priest movement. Why shouldn’t priests be able to marry? I find it ironic, as they speak about love and counsel married couples. Should a man who has chosen to spread the word of God be “punished” by an inability to experience God’s greatest gift—love? There is no way that anything that involves love can be a sin because it is of God. Period.

In ending, thank you for reading my story. It is because of the courage of the many folks who contribute to this blog that I was finally able to tell my story. I know many of you will relate to me and support me, but I’m also aware that others may think my feelings are wrong and am prepared for possible criticism. If you’re in the latter group, I only ask you to think of how it felt when you first experienced love: the excitement, the joy, and the confusion at times. Be kind to one another and may God continue to bless us all on our individual journeys.

Merry Christmas to All! Readers, let’s be charitable by finding the right phrase or writing, to help this lady.