Tag Archive: maltese priest


The difficult art of dialogue.

Many people have different ideas about a relationship. They might read books, ask other people, attend seminars etc…but the real test starts when one enters a true and deep relationship with another person. At the beginning of a relationship everything is smooth sailing, until the first storm takes place. Then the true colours of some people come out, vigorously!

The same happened with our married priest argument. At the beginning many people were all united until different opinions have emerged. The situation, like in any other subject, has shown the need for people to become true dialogue practitioners!

Let me say clearly: this is not the end of it! It’s a common crisis where with the help of the Holy Spirit we will come out of it, more mature and more filled with faith! Obviously, everybody has to do his/her part.

First of all we have to admit that not all our readers like to express themselves in writing! So unfortunately, we are never going to read the opinion of all followers. Many others are still afraid to write, as if we’re going to tell their parish who is writing. To tell the truth I don’t know if one is writing from USA, South Africa, Chile, Canada, Europe or the Philippines! Let alone give away their secrets!! We’ll deal with them on a one-to-one basis. It takes a long time and it does not lead to success automatically!

A very small section are comfortable with writing. These are the ones who ‘make a lot of noise’ as we say in jargon. Yet this section does not reflect the opinion of all of our readers!

If we need to convince the rest of the population about married priesthood, we have to start practising dialogue skills between ourselves!

One enters a dialogue with the right mentality: ie I don’t have all the ideas or answers. I’m here to learn and maybe change my opinion. I do use a kind of prayer which helps me see the others not as an adversary but rather as the one who might make me see the hidden side of the argument. It’s not a question of who is right or wrong but rather seeing both sides of the same coin! It’s a question of seeing it from all sides, angles and possible consequences.

I do remember at the University where a lecturer used to listen to our opinion and used to put us in the opposite group (one which was totally opposite to our honest and personal choices!!). In this way we saw our ‘adversaries’ in a completely new light and she made sure that we would truly listen and understand their opinion!! In common English we would use the expression to walk in somebody’s shoes.

In the course of life’s experiences, one meets people who use the dialogue tactics simply to feel the power to manipulate people. Either by one’s nice way, or by other more brutal ones!! One common assumption used by the Catholic Church throughout the centuries was that of fear: either you accept or you’ll be condemned! We cannot use these tactics in the 21st century! Even if the others don’t accept our ideas, it doesn’t mean that they are going to be condemned! It doesn’t mean that we are better than others! In this light, we unfortunately admit that a church document published around 1965 is still largely unknown by many Christians (Gaudium et Spes – The Church in the world today).

In faith, we express differences in a slightly different way. It’s like starting a journey. One starts today, others have already started their journey and others are still at home, not thinking about starting a journey at all! The stage of the journey [beginning, halfway, end], puts us all in different positions but it doesn’t translate into who is better or worse!

Before deciding to embark on a dialogue on some hot potatoes, I would rather enquire about one’s journey of faith, because it makes all the difference before we start our dialogue! One is not expected to forgive one’s enemies if one has never experienced the love-without-conditions of God! This what we mean by a ‘journey in faith’!

We have to over emphasize once again: married priesthood is not going to solve all the problems in the church! It’s not suitable for all priests! It doesn’t mean that we throw away Celibacy.

We are simply indicating another way that it could be another important asset in the church today, taking into consideration what many people think and wish for!

One final condition: many church goers and other sections of society have only listened to one boring and repetitive answer to married priesthood: NO. They still need to hear our fresh and daring opinion: the married priest will find a practical and direct God in his relationship with his wife and children. As the document in the Church in the world today [mentioned earlier], it makes the church more near the people of today who live in the trenches of one’s life!

We either grow or die!

Children are easily noticed when they get taller. All of us do notice the rate of growth of the young ones. We, as adults, we are growing up very day! It seems so obvious that most of us don’t notice at all! What’s natural and happening everyday seems to get sandwiched between our 1001 jobs we have to do daily.

How do we grow up? Obviously not getting taller! But we are making experiences and reflections in our daily journey. As spiritual beings we tend to look beyond the experience. We are humans who ask many questions.

It has become obvious that as a spiritual community all of us have different ideas, characters, upbringing etc…But lately the going is getting a little bit more challenging. There are some who are not open to change [like in many other sections of the population]. Others who would like to take a commanding role [either you do as I’m telling you or I’m quitting]. Some others go on a rampage by labelling others [including myself]. A few have chosen their role: to be judges!

Can we move forward in this way? Well, in the moments when I feel it’s getting dark, I would grasp the bible in my hands and look for inspiration. Yes, Jesus Christ could have started and set everything ready made in His church. Yet He didn’t do it! He wished to have 12 frail men to command it. Where they the best people on earth at that time? Definitely not. It’s not me who is leading his church. It’s the Holy Spirit who is continually cleaning and sanctifying His church. Do we truly believe this?

This is the biggest change in teaching. We are bombarded by negative news. It’s so easy to fall in the prey of today’s so called journalists. It seems that there is negativity all around! How can I believe in the ‘nuclear’ news of the gospel? From this aspect, we are seeing what we DO NOT AGREE IN. In this way we are undermining our community. We have to believe that as a community we are obliged to take care of each other.

This is like friends. When we are young we tend to think that our best friends seem to be our photocopies. As we grow older, we notice many areas were we disagree completely! We are best friends not because we agree on all subjects, but rather for other reasons! The same goes for our community. We are trying to give a message to the world: married priesthood will be a blessing to our wider Catholic community. Now if we remain separated or everybody in the comfort of his house but disregarding the calls of his brothers/sisters, then we fall down. All of us. The entire community.

I did my doctoral thesis on the role of the community. I lived in a community 24/7. For some time, I lived in an international community of nearly 200 people. I know what it takes to live in a community. I know all the pros and cons. I do distinguish though, the online community from other communities. In fact some people play the bully role simply for the fact that they are behind a screen and they think nobody can get their true identity!

I never told anybody to leave. I hope I will never do that. But some people seem to abandon the community because the community is growing. Growing means taking a different path in our journey. Now I know that most human beings are so diffident with change. Yet, looking out of the window and seeing the wind blowing, I realise that it’s not the most ‘strong’ tree that will resist the wind but the most flexible one. The flexible ones seem to be so frail as they are going in all directions when the wind blows heavily. Surprisingly those who seem to be so strong are the most likely ones to be uprooted! Technically because they try to stop the wind, which of course is unstoppable, like change!

One final note: I have been there many times when there was discord amongst a community. I do feel that God is telling us to move forward, with or without these members. It’s up to them to either get on the bus again or risk of being left behind!

Pluralism of thought

Walking along a main street in any city today, gives one the impression of today’s civilisation: everybody seems to be walking all alone as most people are not looking sideways, forward or backwards but are busy reading their tiny screen held in their hands!

Are we becoming islands? Generally speaking, in most writings on our blog, it seems that some people think that they are living on an uninhabited island! This is because like horses, they only see one view. Obviously the one that counts is their view!! Like the person looking onto their mobile phone who is blind to other happenings, one cannot see other views because one is cut off from reality.

When it comes to emotions, it’s already so difficult for a person to understand what’s going on, let alone somebody else from a different country with a different background, upbringing etc…

In a way, as Christians, we remember that only God sees in the darkest areas of our lives or other unspoken realities of which we may be totally blind! He is the true Judge who sees what others cannot see or imagine!

Falling in love is the most complicated form of action taking place in our bodies. We are first speaking from a chemical point of view. Same wise for emotions and human growth. What happens in our lives is not that easy to explain. We might put it into words, but words alone are not enough to experience what other people are experiencing. Our blog is becoming more popular because we are discussing something which is not allowed in most other Christian blogs!

But allowing people to air their views, emotions, experiences etc… does not automatically make mature readers! It’s easy to fall into temptation in condemning or labelling one’s opinion! In this area, we do feel that we need to grow. We can only present our experience and let the person decide, even if it’s against what everybody thinks or wish for. When we hear people, in some cases we are directing them to a particular conclusion. In other words we would be telling what to do. This is a very old idea of counselling which however surfaces every now and then.

We insist again, letting priests becoming biological fathers will help them too in this area. It’s not easy to tell your own sons/daughter what to do. In today’s world they need a real dialogue. Dialogue does not mean converting your own son to your own ideas, but to explore more ideas together. Finally, our sons and/or daughters are becoming adults with the right to go for a different choice then the one we discussed about!

On the other hand, those who are brave enough to share their loving experience with a priest, should not be blind and deaf to what others have written about. Experience is something which one cannot achieve in a short time. Time has to pass by in order to gain some experience. There is no fast forward button! In this sense, a dialogue has to be practised on both sides. They too need to truly listen to others although they have the right for a different solution.

Another important principle: if I have a particular experience about women-priests relationship, it doesn’t mean that all experiences are going to pass through the same path! Every person is different. Every priest is different. Every country is different. Time is changing too. What was taboo for some parts of the world, now it now longer holds water. They are in fact opening up to new ideas. This is our greatest asset that most Catholics do understand that a married priest is in a good position today to evangelise other people. It’s a missing link which might add to a multicoloured church with various experiences, traditions and people!

Hello! My name is Laura. I want to share with you my relationship with my priest.

I’m a separated woman. I had to leave my husband of 5 years. He had betrayed me and now has another family, though we are still not divorced officially.

First of all let me be very clear: The priest is the one who started the relationship. I knew him for over 6 years at that time. Because of our mutual friendship, we got closer. Once after dinner, we went for a walk. Suddenly he held me and kissed me. He did admit of having feelings for me. At that time I was still struggling, but he told me that he wasn’t going to force me to have a loving relationship. He just wanted to stay close. After around 2 months he showed that he cared for me a lot. At that time I had some feelings too towards him. He told me I could trust him. He showed many signs that he really loved me. Time passed by and we became closer and knowing each other more. I fell in love deeply. He introduced me to his mother and to his family

Then sex happened. It has been going on for these last 2 years, till a few months ago. I got pregnant. As soon as I gave him the wonderful news, he astonished me by saying that we couldn’t keep this baby. I was so depressed hearing him say such a thing. I plainly told him that I couldn’t accept. At last he changed his mind. He considered to keep the baby. However I had a miscarriage. Could we keep our relationship I pondered silently…?? We had some serious arguments.

He suddenly said that maybe it was God’s sign to stop having sex outside marriage! We needed to stop having sex and keep our friendship platonic. He told me that he had confessed already, and that he loved me so much. His wish was to stop having sex. Consequently we couldn’t sin any more.

We could keep our love relationship but just without sex…. I asked point blank: Why not leave priesthood and get married? It’s so weird…He emphasized that he loved me so much, but that he couldn’t leave priesthood.

Since last January, something happened. We keep arguing about something trivial. We argue about some family affairs about his sister..?? He has now turned to be an emotionless person, with less hugs, kisses and less dating with me. I try to talk to him, but he says that everything is fine. He gives the excuse of too much work and that he feels tired. He continues to say that he still loves me. He just brushes me aside with the expression that he loves me so much. He urges me not to worry.

On the other hand he thinks that the fighting is God’s sign to show him that he is wrong, but he does feel his love for me. The priest thinks that he needs to follow his vow of celibacy, because he did promise to God that he will be faithful to his promise. But celibacy is not a divine law, it’s a human law after all!

I don’t understand…I feel so confused. What can I do? I really love him and I cannot live without him. What should I do? What should I tell him???

I would like to write about a whole book about this story but I prefer to let the readers air their views. Please let’s not blame the person who was/is in a frail situation. Let’s walk in her shoes.

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.

A very common expression used in these last years is that we have the whole world at our fingertips. It refers to the internet where one can use various electronic gadgets to keep updated about friends, news, articles and lots of other items.

Is it truly the whole world? Does somebody who stays inside all the time, enjoy life to the full? We know that the young of today are truly addicted to the internet. As they are connected 24/7, they wish to comment and read all the time. It’s not the first time in a restaurant to see a whole family busy texting on their mobile phone whilst not talking to each other!

Those working with the young people of today, know really well, that the virtual world, although it certainly has many advantages, it can never substitute 100% face to face relationships!

Why are we focusing on the digital world? There are some common points with our main issue: married priesthood. Like in the digital world, priests cannot discard relationships! The priest has been seen as a person who provides a service to the others. OK. But how about his need for an interactive relationship with another adult, who is not their ‘client’ to ask for his services but to be a companion in his journey of faith?

We have always insisted that when a woman falls in love with a priest, there is no carbon copy of how the story starts and unveils. Yet some common lines are found in all stories. Practically, if there is something missing in the formation of future priests is the attention given to the priest for his basic human need. Everybody needs : attention; love; personal interest; someone with whom they can interact.

God created us in this way. It’s not something to be ashamed of! We need others to be healthy from a human point of view. In other words, we are NOT islands!

Now obviously some people might explain the important use of celibacy in priesthood. Without neglecting its importance, one can theologically define that priesthood cannot be tied to celibacy. This has been written in the teaching of the church. In practical words, not every single priest has the necessary charisma to live it in his daily life! Now because celibacy has been practically imposed on all priests we tend to witness abuses of all types and sorts! This has been proved scientifically too! It’s no use to write that abuses happen in marriages too. Yes they do happen in marriages too but some priests have abused because they have never been prepared for celibacy. We can’t deny this. They have been stripped of a basic human need without their full knowledge.

Why do we insist on relationship building? Because it’s the concrete structure which builds the local parish. What makes a parish different from a large organisation if relationships disappear? If the priest lives a real relationship in a family, it is a big advantage to all the parishioners. This not only regards understanding human problems in everyday running, but as well the need to live a life to the full. A spiritually and humanly ‘charged’ priest will be in a better position to manage a parish.

A relationship is not a bed of roses! But this side of the married experience too will help the priest to face all challenges in the parish. It will help him understand a lot of aspects in a relationship where they would be otherwise left undiscovered!

We make an appeal so that new readers would publish their stories about falling in love with a priest. We promise to change name details and other aspect in order to hide one’s true identity.

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.

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.