Tag Archive: leaving priesthood


When we were young we were submitted to various teachings. Most of the time, we read books. We tried to assimilate as much as we could. Then years passed by and somehow we re-connected to what teachers/parents/guardians had told us. Most probably what we’ve been thought was good. Yet in real life it seems that it is a different kind of fish. It’s what we call the gap between the theory and real life!

We were thought to look up to priests for friendship, counselling, ideas etc…Obviously in theory everything is in order. Yet each every human being is formed not only through teaching, but through personal experience, chemicals present in his genes etc…All this will make it highly improbable to foretell his future life as each person has a different outcome, which is based on millions of variables.

The first step is when one is asking for help. It brings the baptised person close to a priest. This is the work of the priest after all! But what happens when most of the priests feel all alone, neglected, alienated, disappointed and put aside? A normal kind of friendship (obviously there is nothing wrong), could be a tempting one for the priest. Instead of listening and comforting the person, the priest fulfils his needs for friendship, attention, love etc…within the counselling sessions. A counsellor has to listen to the client and not vice-versa, at least he can’t talk for a long period of time. The fact that the priest starts talking about his life means automatically that the sessions are taking a different path!

On the part of the person who is seeking the priest’s help, things start moving differently when they view the priest not as a counsellor but as the one who is fulfilling their dream of the ideal man! Obviously when one meets another person for a few hours weekly, it’s very easy to idolise that person! Remember that most people as viewed at work, might seem to be the ideal person. It’s when one lives with the person that one sees the complete picture! Yet, when one is hungry for love, recognition, attention and self affirmation, all other things will occupy a less important place in their lives! They just want to cling to somebody no matter what! It could be that we’re living in anonymous cities (Western part of the world), hence we desperately need friends!

We’ve been saying for quite some time now that priests who explain the word of God every Sunday (plus maybe other public meetings), are practically revealing their inner self to the general public. He is the one who speaks about a lot of values where no one speaks anymore (or at least not that often!). Speaking about such values will put more fire on a woman’s heart who is burning with desire to have a loving partner.

The priest in most cases, has all the time of the world to meet, listen and talk with parishioners. He is the one who makes his own timetable hence, he is easily available! The priest has no one to report to for his day to day running. Hence he can postpone last minute meetings without giving any real reason or hiding behind superficial reasons!

We don’t wish to give the message that it’s impossible, yet in the present circumstances, it’s getting more difficult to be a good friend to a priest. When a person is not complete (in many senses), it could lead to trouble, whether he is a priest, bishop, Pope, woman etc…In mathematics they used to teach us that a minus ( – ) with a minus ( – ), make a plus!

Our wish to have married priests will help the church to have a better system where priests are living in a relationship which will help them understand better the need for attention, love, affirmation etc…We’re not saying that it’s foolproof. There is nothing perfect. Yet on the human side of the argument, it will help them to be better prepared to work in today’s church.

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Second Class Priests!

In the absence of love stories between priests and women, we are sharing our reflections regarding the latest news in the Catholic church.

In a March 2017 interview with German newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis used the term viri probati – in this context, religious married men of proven character – in saying he was open to the idea of a married priesthood, as is allowed for deacons, in remote areas where the priest shortage is particularly serious.

We are still not 100% sure of the outcome of married priests as we are still receiving conflicting news! Read this article

In any case it seems that all newspapers are agreeing that married priesthood is again in the news. Mulling all kind of news to look for positive news, we see some troubling ones. In the quoted statement made above, we have one single question: So are married priests just fillers? That is: are they being allowed as if they are necessary evil? Are they being allowed simply to fill in the blanks? Are we sort of second class priests who are allowed to work as priests simply because there is lack of?

Many people point to married priests because they think that will stop sexual abuse of children. People focus on sex because for news agencies it sells a lot of money! We do notice many priests who are living a solitary life. They are practically moving bodies but dead in their minds. Others who travel most of the time. Some who embrace luxuries. Others who are simply walking study books which amply shows the negative effects of forced celibacy. The list goes on and on.

Our main point of view has remained the same. Most of the apostles were married. Are we going to follow the bible or are we going against it? They do quote the bible profusely in other moral matters, yet about this one they are so silent! Why? If the apostles did it, why not the priests of today? Or are we like a supermarket: we pick up what we like in the church?!

Having married priests we hope it will bring the focus of the church on new challenges. One might be the complete overhaul of the relationship teaching (and not sex!). Strong and stable relationship calls for consequences which will help the priest to mature as he faces different challenges in life. One glaring example would be children. Taking care of your own children will bring a new insight in the life of the priest. Married priesthood will help the priest to reconnect with normal life with all its challenges. Consequently, the whole church will change. This is the revolution which we are looking forward to experience. In the end there will be winners all the way. All would feel much nearer to God. Everybody will experience the Emmanuel – God is with us! It would be interesting to visit a priest who has kids crying, eating and dirtying all the house whilst he is trying to communicate with God! It would be a good example of how to keep God in the centre of all activity!

It’s up to our readers to continue our reflection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the most important aspects of this blog, is that women are giving a wonderful insight about falling in love with a priest. They are showing a new kind of theology, one that speaks from the heart. One that starts from real experience.

On the other hand, we feel responsible to provide the missing link….how the priest thinks, behaves and decides. What makes a priest decide to stay?

Is it a spiritual reason? In very few cases yes. The priest believes that his love affair was something that brought about a big change in his life but it encouraged him to tune in or invest, in a better relationship with God, the church and in the case of a religious priest, to lighten up his fraternity.

In most cases, though, we believe that other reasons hold the priest on a ‘ransom’.

One of the most common reasons is that of brain washing. The priest has been bombarded with the same message for years. How can he now let go of all of it? It’s still a common culture in seminaries (place where priests are trained), to keep some distance from women; to take extra care; don’t give too much personal attention; don’t show too much interest; some are outright and very explicit against women that they see them as ‘devils’……..

The fact that a priest finds some time to talk to a woman outside the priest-penitent relationship, might already make him feel guilty! The concept of ‘sin’ is carved inside the skin of a priest and it may play havoc with a relationship. Excommunication is another word which has lost meaning for today’s world but NOT for the priest. He might be excommunicated (send off, he won’t be part of the church officially) if he marries a woman without dispensation (permit from the Pope). All this forms part of a legal framework which many women find hard to understand, let alone digest. Now applying for a dispensation may become a nightmare for the priest as they ask so many intimate questions (and against human rights), that makes him feel like an ant…..in other words it’s like a rape.

The hidden message is that if one wants to get out, he has to bare it all, or it’s like putting the soul in the nude. Some people think that God’s judgement won’t be that harsh or that deep!! The worst of all is that the priest has to admit that he has fallen and cannot live the gospel! The official words would be: from priesthood he is to be reduced to the lay (ie means not a priest and neither a religious person who lives in a monastery) state!!!

All of this creates a barrier for the priest to decide. It makes it practically impossible to leave.

He’s used to speak to a crowd but not to a one to one relationship. He’s used to have a ‘platform’ ie to speak with authority. How can he make himself vulnerable to a woman? He is caught unawares falling in love, because he feels so uncomfortable in a relationship. Normally he sees many people but nobody stays with him to get to know him so well.
Another big hurdle is that of the safety net within the church where he receives money plus lots of benefits (including retirement). If he goes out, most of his ecclesiastical certificates count to nothing (unless a good job counsellor teaches him how to translate his skills into a normal job vocabulary).

In most cases he needs a place to live…maybe the present one is in the parish or where people have known him as a priest in a parish…..now the same people look at him differently!!! In other words he needs to move out and most probably he needs help to sell his apartment and buys another one. In the case of the religious priest, in most cases he doesn’t have money at all to buy basic necessities, let alone an apartment!!!! So it makes it 100% impossible to leave.

The priest as an unmarried priest relies heavily on his family. What does his family say? Can he go against them if they don’t agree? Most probably his family understands his decision. They can’t see him suffer anymore…..but what is the problem? They can’t face the people because they are going to be victims too (this could be the major reason why they don’t side with him!!!), which brings us to the gossip problem.

The hear say or the gossip reason, is the one which the priest preached against, now is one of the major reasons why it makes his life so miserable. It’s not only him but her as well. She might be easily slandered and nicknamed unchristian names!!! It’s so hard for a public figure to make that change. Most woman don’t understand the public role a priest has. Everybody looks up to him. Now the column of the town has left…..most people don’t like uncertainty and consequently they make the priest pay heavily for that. Other people have confessed crimes etc….now they see him holding hands…..they might feel vulnerable and crossing unchartered waters.

These are only some of the reasons. We leave the rest to our intelligent and God seeking readers to explain more fully and to write about other reasons too. May God Bless you all! You have given birth to a new theology, one that makes God incarnated (born of flesh) into our unique and personal lives. Happy Christmas to all!

Finally…..we have a priest admitting of falling in love. So many female readers have asked for a priest to tell his point of view of falling in love. How does a priest feel, falling in love with a woman? Well today you should be so happy as one priest is prepared to spill all the beans about his love story with this wonderful woman. Enjoy your reading!

It is so heartbreaking reading all these messages from broken hearted women in these difficult circumstances. I am Patrick, a 43 yr old catholic priest.. I was ordained at 24 years of age so I am 19 years in the priesthood.

Naturally being human I have felt attracted to different women in my life. That is normal enough even for a celibate. But my difficulty arose 3 years ago when I met Michelle, a 32 yr old single woman at a parish meeting. She had difficulties in her life and we talked privately for a long time. After the meeting ended, I felt so at ease and at peace in her company and for both of us I think we realized that there was some bond or chemistry between us that night.

Anyway we kept in touch mainly by phone for a while and than we agreed to meet mainly to discuss her difficulties which have now been overcome. We enjoyed each others company so much that we kept in touch by phone and meetings even when there was nothing to discuss at a professional level. At this stage we had developed a good friendship which I had no difficulty with as it was within the boundaries of my celibacy commitment.

Unknown to myself this friendship was growing over time and I was blind to it or maybe subconsciously I knew it but needed her companionship and friendship. For her too, Michelle is her name the relationship meant a lot and in her own words transformed her life. She was a broken person when I met her first but now felt whole and complete in herself. This all began 3 years ago, but my difficulty is that in the last year or so the friendship grew into a fully intimate and sexual relationship.

The first time that happened I was taken unaware, one thing followed another and almost unknown to myself I was making love to her for the first time. I experienced the normal fulfilment and excitement that goes with that experience but also I was gripped with awful guilt with the realization that I had broken my celibacy vows. This is still a struggle for me.

During the last year the relationship has continued in full and has grown and developed in every aspect. I feel I have no control over my feelings or where this is leading me.

Obviously I am now at the stage where I have a dilemma on my hands. The relationship cannot continue as it is indefinitely with me in my current life. Do I walk away from Michelle once and for all or do I leave the priesthood and marry her make a new life with her?

Currently we have decided on a 3 month break to help me decide. Michelle has declared her love for me and asked me to leave on a few occasions. I finally promised her I would decide during this break of 3 months, two months of which have already passed. We still email and phone each other but will not meet until the time is up, around Christmas.

I miss her company so much and long to be with her. A sense of loneliness has grown in my life over the course of the relationship as I know now the sacrifice involved in celibacy. I have changed as a person as a result of my relationship, falling in love does change you in a good way. I certainly do not want Michelle to be hurt like many of the women on this blog. If I thought that would happen I would definitely leave the ministry, if you love someone you cannot allow them to be hurt.

Yes in all honesty I am drawn to leave, to life and family with Michelle. I have done 9 sessions of counselling with a lady psychologist and that process is also leading me towards a decision to leave. I admitted this to my therapist in my last session and it was such a relief. She is helping me to process that thought in the coming sessions to a stage where I can own and implement my decision.

What is preventing me? Well I am torn in conflict between the part of me that says I need to move on. I have outgrown celibate priesthood. I need a human relationship with a woman who is Michelle in my case. I love her and want to be with her and she feels the same. Than the other voice says you made commitments for life: you took vows, you owe it to God, the church, your parishioners and your family. This is my dilemma.

I feel I have known the answer for a long time, almost from when I met Michelle, my counselling is leading me to the same answer, but this other voice and guilt feelings still get on top of me at times. I need help to have the courage to do the right thing for me and Michelle over the next 1 month or so.

Readers….it’s your turn. Let’s help our priest is making the right decision. Now you can ask as many questions as you want to!