Tag Archive: keith schembri


Emotional maturity

Our schools rarely cater for such need for students in order to be educated in emotions. We all think about academic achievements, yet the students in front of the teacher come to school with a luggage of emotions!

In school they are realising that a student is influenced by not less than 70% outside the school perimeter (family, peers, internet etc..). Just the remaining 30% is in the hands of the school (when delivered correctly!!)

Now what about priests? They rarely receive any education whatsoever when it comes to emotions. Why are we surprised that they run away when they fall in love or because they give the cold and hot attitude to a person who cares so much for them?

There are various websites which could help our readers to get some basic knowledge when dealing with emotional intelligence. One can just use a search engine to get some interesting reading.

In the meantime let’s continue debating…..priests should be helped to make them aware of emotions especially when they are attracted to somebody. First of all they need to find the assurance that nobody is going to report them to the bishop because of such feelings! Secondly they come to terms with the fact that finding attractive people is part and parcel of life. We meet people all the time, some are too busy, some are arrogant, some live on the moon but some are so attractive. There is always a reason why meet such people.

Once they acknowledge their true feelings, they can start working on them. Now, how can we go on with these feelings? We are not implying or forcing anybody to go and fall in love. But such experience could reveal a lot about the priest. One of them is the lack of friends. We mean friends who don’t look for the priest simply to find the perfect man but who can be himself and speak about his heart calmly and without fear. The priest works a lot for the others. But who takes care of him?

Another aspect which hinders the priest’s progress in emotional maturity is his position in the parish. The fact that he is the boss, he doesn’t need to convince anybody to press on with his arguments. He doesn’t need to listen to his parishioners! Nowadays most priests are simply buried with the parish work that they don’t have time to do family visiting. They don’t have time to meet some forgotten areas or difficult areas in the parish! In most of the time he is not challenged by the young teens because they stopped attending church!

Conflict is a good indicator of one’s emotional maturity! How does the priest react when facing opposition?

In other words, the priest, living on his own is simply detached from our ‘normal’ life where we are challenged in our work by our superiors or by clients or by new companies. Or where we get hurt by other people’s comments or behaviour! Just the other day I was at the seaside and an angry woman just threw a chair out of its way…..it’s a classical example of how people need to be educated in emotions. Whatever reason she had, we simply don’t throw chairs just because somebody doesn’t agree with us or maybe he or she behaved badly! If we start throwing chairs then it will be a war not a civilisation anymore!

The emotional test will be very challenging with the people we love most. One is because we live together or we see each other most of the time ie the more we see each other the better chances of hurting each other. Secondly because we expect much more from our loved ones. Our expectations are so high with people we admire and love. Consequently we are in a better position to be disappointed!

It’s up to the readers to continue our discussion…..

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I was happy editing the latest story I had for publication……..I received an email where the person concerned tells me NOT to publish her story. This has been happening quite a long time. Why are victims afraid to have their story published?

This is common for all victims of criminal activity. We consider the fact that a priest who abuses his position of authority and trust, on the same level as that of a policeman who forces his victims to commit any illegal act under coercion.

One of the first steps is make the victim aware of what kind of action is she victim of. Victims, because of various reasons, cannot comprehend the seriousness of the act committed. As a defence mechanism in fact, in many cases they blame themselves rather than blame the man of God. Maybe it will be more devastating to their faith to admit that the man of God commits such criminal acts!!! Some of them try to camouflage it as ‘love’. In most cases the priest might be called a serial abuser of women. In most cases these women are in a vulnerable position (most probably emotional one) who simply cannot refuse some form of attention/cuddling/kisses etc.

The priest knows that as a public person he is at a very high risk if his story comes out. Living such high risk cannot be tolerated so he turns the tables by turning the abused person into a terrorised one. This game cannot be understood by the abused person as in her situation she feels too weak to react. She tries to console herself (mistakenly) by thinking that he is the only one who pays attention to her. In some cases the priest allures the victim by buying some expensive gifts.

The abuser, ie the priest, inflicts a sense of guilt or that of fear in his victim in order NOT to talk (like all criminal people), or write. The victim most probably lives in a highly inflated sense of fear. She is enslaved with this sense of fear. Maybe she feels sorry for him. In most cases it’s true that the congregation, again because the truth is too hard to handle, they might opt in for labelling the woman as a great sinner (they use another much stronger word!), when rumours start to surface. But this is another proof that a relationship based on fear is no relationship at all and there is no sign of love at all. How can we speak clearly to so many women who fell victims to their pastor?

We are all for support and education to ALL our victims. We need to make them aware of the game being played by their priest. We need to empower them to take action. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. But this is an important part of our pastoral outreach to such victims. We are not here to judge but rather to accompany these people in their spiritual walk of life.

We are all in favour of publishing such stories (although changing of names, places etc. might take place), because the people attending churches need to know what kind of priest do they have mingling with their families. They have the right to know. We cannot take away rights. Nothing to add nor delete. Secondly, it would be an eye opener for many others including some who are already passing through such experience. Thirdly, it would help our cause to press for married priests. Most of the priests, because of the celibacy promise, have become sexually dysfunctional. We have to make it very clear though that we don’t intend to push all priests to get married. We do acknowledge that not all people should be married, for various reasons. But married priests are a welcome change in the church in order to bring subsequent changes in the parish.

Finally let’s all remember that when one is doing a journey there are people at the beginning, half way through and those who are at the very end of it. In the spiritual world we’re in a journey. It doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. It means everyone is on different levels. Let’s remember that maybe before passing through a love experience with a priest, most of the readers would have condemned such women. Now after a personal experience they have walked further in their spiritual growth. Now they see a lot of hidden aspects that were hidden previously from their understanding. Let’s realise that everybody is progressing through such spiritual walk. Nobody is perfect. Nobody can feel superior to anybody. Let’s welcome everybody on our blog without the fear of being judged or labelled.