Tag Archive: panama papers


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.

The priest and today’s world

The media and the common people are very creative when they invent stories especially involving a priest who has just left. Most probably they give a reason to something that they find extremely hard to digest! The usual answer is that one left to get married!

Although in some cases it might ring true, yet in most cases, we encounter a different picture. The priest is not so happy with his surroundings, happenings or way of life. In the quoted article, one finds an ex seminarian (one who is studying for priesthood), who is not happy with the way of life the friars are living in the monastery. He feels very uncomfortable that whilst his mother has to make both ends meet, in his monastery there is a superfluous luxury notwithstanding the fact that they took the vow of poverty! The most important thing of all is that it has effected his spirituality. Although for others it may seem to be trivial, it cost him his place in the monastery. He couldn’t accommodate this divorce between what he believes and what he sees daily in the monastery.

One of the most terrible lies is that priests don’t get married because they need to be 24/7 for the people of God. Many years ago people used to call them to come and accompany people at their hour of death. Now that job is practically gone except maybe in hospitals. The problem with most priests is that they view their work according to the number of masses or sacraments they need to administer. In most parts of the Western world church attendance has gone down so practically they have much less work to do especially during weekdays. On the other hand circumstances have changed and most people are not be found during the traditional eight to five working shift.

Mass and sacraments have lost their magic touch for the common people. People need to be evangelised. People need a human contact with the church. They need to be taught many things about religion as they are ‘ignorant’ in most religious issues. Most probably they would get the wrong impression of the church because in many cases it’s mostly silent in the digital world! When people are passing through a difficult/loving phase in their lives, the church is mostly absent. Even attending mass, in most cases it is something very anonymous! This is a fact which seems not to preoccupy bishops when amalgamating parishes!

Most probably the biggest issue (which goes unnoticed by many), is that most priests, outside the sacramental world, they don’t know how to deal with it! The still don’t know the importance of building a real community in their parish. They were never trained how to do pastoral work properly (it is not simply the distribution of the sacraments). Pastoral work should culminate in the person finding Christ and building a personal relationship. Now before embarking on such an adventure, one needs to know the flock. There are various ways and means how to get to know the flock but the best one seems that of family visiting. It is physically demanding and time consuming, yet it yields the best results. It builds a good bond between the priest and the parishioners.

As priests are transferred from one parish to another, the parish council seems to be the most appropriate one in order to work hand in hand with the pastor. How are relations with the pastor? We can find various examples yet very few parishes provide professional teaching and caring for it. The parish council is another largely unknown ‘thing’ in the parish. Most people are never introduced to it. They never vote for it so how could it be an effective instrument in the hand of the parish?

Then there is the church in general. The priest comes into contact with many relationships, hidden or otherwise. Yet he is representing the church. In many cases there is an internal conflict between what the church believes and what the faithful are living. Some people prefer to ignore such conflicts. Others simply leave the church, others try to find a leeway. Many pastors know that such conflict is bound to get bigger all the time if the hierarchy (people at the very top of the church), do not live in the same conditions. Recently I had a discussion with some religion teachers. They were surprised that the church hasn’t changed her mind when it comes to contraceptives. The fact is that these religion teachers have taken a different answer to such challenge in their married life which is beyond that of the church. Now what about priests and their internal conflicts? How would they solve them?

We hope of providing some food for thought to our readers. As usual, we didn’t cover all that needs to be written down. But that’s a big plus for our readers to start writing immediately in order to provide more shades about the mentioned topic!

We were happy that most readers sent us quotations from newspapers about the Pope’s recent pronunciations about married priesthood. It seems that finally our readers are taking a more active role. This is the church we want to see worldwide. Baptised people are not simply receivers where they are happy to receive instructions from priests. They have a mind, a soul, a heart and a lot of experience how they experience God. Consequently, God can use anybody to bring changes in His church. This is not just theoretical but practical because the Pope is becoming aware that in most parts of the world, the church is disappearing simply because there is no one to tell people about the Good News. He has to resort to married people as otherwise the consequences could be disastrous.

This is a big improvement because now it’s coming from the mouth of the Pope. Obviously as usual some people are looking for more rapid changes in a shorter time. Some are completely against celibacy. Well we were never against celibacy. We are against celibacy when it is imposed and it is chosen at a very young age (over 18 years of age criteria is simply not enough!). Celibacy has its value in the church. We do believe that there are people who live celibacy in a wonderful way notwithstanding the sexual abuse crisis. Let’s not put all priests in one basket, although we do admit that these are very few.

Some people thought that the Pope would let his priests the liberty of choosing either to remain celibate priests or else get married. In this regard, it seems that he chose a conservative attitude by keeping things as they are. He is for married people who ask for priesthood and not priests who ask for marriage. There could be reasons for this: is he afraid that most priests would go for marriage? Indirectly is he saying that marriage might disrupt the spirituality of priests who are used to live alone? Is he afraid that maybe they need to pay more the priest because he has a family? Or maybe he is going after mature (of a certain age) married people, whose children are married and settled? Implying again that a true family (with young children) would hinder the priest from working in a parish? Again, one might imply that he is looking for mature people (of a certain age) in order to avoid more sex scandals?

On the other hand, calling people to join priesthood, means they need training. That means another challenge for seminaries (places where priests are trained). Are they going to join the celibate ones? Are they going to be trained in a separate place? What about the training years? How much do they need? So in practical terms we still have to wait for seven to eight years more to see married priests. In the meantime we have several priests who are not practising any more that could be called instantly where they can start to serve immediately. What’s wrong with going for this option?

We don’t know what’s inside the mind of the Pope but we were surprised that he let out his opinion with a newspaper. Is it the right channel to give out his views? Or maybe there are problems with the Vatican PRO system? What about the rest of the world? Aren’t there mature people who might give their opinion too? Or are we still in a pyramid where decisions are simply taken by those at the top? This is just one subject where the rest of the world thinks differently than those living inside the Vatican walls…..At least this Pope is more near us mortals, than the rest of the bishops, priests etc….

Again let’s not fall into depression. Let’s not give up! Let’s go for the hard work. We need to go out and share our opinion with the rest of the church. Let’s show them that we’re prepared. We need married priests even where there are a good number of priests. A married priest has a different charisma. He has something which others might not have. On the other hand, the needs of the baptised people are growing. People look out for God especially in dark moments. Where is the priest in such moments if they are so tied to the parish with all its activities? Like children in a family, today’s children need more attention and care then when we used to have sixes and sevens!! Same wise for the church. The church cannot do without a good number of priests, married and non-married ones in these days as the needs of the baptised people grow each day.

Today we wish to thank some of our readers with the promotion of their books. They believe in our cause that celibacy should be optional. They have thought about it, and they have written about it in more detail. We wish to say a special thank you! Their books are not going away. They would transmit the message forever. What one says, maybe easily forgotten. Yet what one writes, remains forever!

We wish to use this special occasion in order to encourage others to follow the same path. Most of the writers never thought themselves as writers. Writing starts when one jots down some notes. The notes start increasing day by day. Until finally there are so many of them that one can group them into chapters and finally into a book!

Most of our readers have been struck by lightning (their love story with a priest). This is a good reason to write about it. Now some of you have already written their story on this blog so why bother to write a book? Well there’s a big difference between an article on a blog and writing a whole book. The advantage of a book is that one can go much deeper with the story especially, one involving a love story with a priest. One needs to start remembering some details by making a time line (like a diary but going back in time). Then one just lets his emotions do the rest. The rest of the readers have been given a good tutorial of becoming a good writer by providing the necessary fuel (asking all types of questions!!)

Free Priest, The movement for Ministerial Reform in the American Catholic Church, by William F. Powers. This book is a sociological examination of what has been happening in the world of married priests in the framework of a social movement. It is based on the records kept by organizations of ‘free priests’ as well as interviews with dozens of leaders of those organizations. It is the inspiring story of men who remain deeply committed to their calling despite having made the painful decision to leave the priesthood and the barriers put up within the Roman Catholic church.

Bingo, Mandatory Celibacy and Clergy Sexual Abuse, by Louise Haggett. The Bingo Report is the result of her ten-year social research project, a timely and provocative study of celibacy and clerical sexual abuse. Ms, Haggett has been featured on international television and radio programs, such as 60 minutes and the BBC and in newspapers and magazines such as New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and Time.com. In her role as president and founder of CITI Ministries/Rentapriest.com, she has recruited hundreds of priests who have married and assisted them in renewing their ministry to the spiritually unfed in the church.

Exodus from the Priesthood, by David Rice. I know no study of the current state of the Catholic priesthood that compares with this. The priesthood is in a state of crisis, probably the worst in the Church’s history. Yet no one has researched the subject as well as David Rice. No one has listened to resigned priests with such wisdom and sympathy. Often their stories are more startling than any that come out of Hollywood. The result is not merely depressing for Shattered Vows points the way to a ministry that is less clerical and more genuinely Christ-like.

The Pearl, by Pauline Nikolov. How many men are truly interested to learn about the woman next to them as an equal? How do different religious men, different cultures and denominations present their relationship to women? Who is misogynic? (hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls) Who is truly loving and tolerant to women as Jesus? Hope is a young woman who is about to find answers and discovers her purpose in life. Through series of life experiences and adventures – from the legend about the living soul of a pearl named Vif, to the noble aim to bring together people from different faiths and denomination in the name of peace – she tirelessly communicates the importance of exchanging spiritual gifts and the role of women a mediators for peace. From Egypt to Los Angeles, from Chicago to Paris, characters and historical facts are mixed to entertain and spread messages to readers with an appetite to know more.

Isabel, Secret Diary of a Discreet Secretary, by Isabel Szlavik. After a short stint as a fashion model and crooner for a jazz band, Isabel Szlavik decided to pursue what was at the time, the largest, most prestigious, and elegant job category for women around the world. The skills list for a secretary was short: a minimum typing speed of fifty words a minute, a general knowledge of shorthand, and enough patience to handle messy carbons and an electric typewriter. From her first job supporting a missionary who devoted his life to helping the needs to her last role assisting two talented businessmen, Isabel chronicles the often humorous side of the secretary-boss relationship, how she dealt with a rapidly changing technological world, and handled the many different personalities and cultural backgrounds of the American, Brazilian, German, Italian, Chinese and French nationals she worked with on a daily basis.

We might mention other books in the future as obviously there are many more books dealing with the subject of forced celibacy. We can give just the result of a search engine….
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=books+about+celibacy&t=lm&atb=v24&ia=products

We welcome suggestions from our readers about other books which they have found inspiring. Please write!

Faith – Love – Celibacy

This week we have a general reflection by one of our readers – Anna. She has been a regular reader of our blog. She wishes to share her thoughts with the rest of the readers. We welcome all those who wish to write their opinion as we wish to make it your blog. In fact the last post has created a record of 106 messages! Well done to all our readers. We invite the new ones to overcome fear and share their story with the rest of the readers.

A man becomes a priest when surrounded by a religious environment that influences him to choose that specific religious pathway. Some are inspired by the life of saints or, while still in their early teens, pushed by their families to acquire a better education. The older generation thought that having a priest in the family gave them a better chance to get a good spot in heaven.

The young seminarians live and grow within a typical regimented spirit; going to Mass, to Holy Communion and the various piety practices just because all the others do so, too. Sometimes the spirit of devotion at that young age is reduced to the “must” of practice. As they grow a little older, they discover that the world is also populated by pretty girls. They start to have feelings, which they initially dismiss as wrong, evil thoughts for a seminarian heading to priesthood and a life of chastity, poverty and obedience.

Repression, however, is not a Christian behaviour. It is destructive and results in physical, psychological and emotional imbalances. The desire to approach a superior to confide a priest’s inner turmoil is often brushed aside with an “it will get better, don’t worry,” statement. The hierarchy makes communication inadequate because of defensive responses, distorted perceptions, mutual antagonisms and sometimes just raw ignorance. No wonder then, that many priests start wondering why their activity within the church has to be such a barren life and decide to leave.

The leadership of the church has always been in the hands of elderly males who repel anything new, different of what they have been used to follow for generations. They are terrified by any sort of reforms and, with rare exceptions, blindly reject any possibility to bring the archaic church laws and regulations up to date with the advanced realities of life on the planet earth and its society. They believe only in the things they want to believe. Yet, they are human and subject to the same sins they so fiercely condemn.

One of those sins is sexuality, which is portrayed by the church fathers as taboo, an evil to be avoided at all costs. Yet the root cause of most sinful or scandalous behaviour was the church’s policy on celibacy, which is considered by the medical establishment and a larger portion of the public opinion, including that of practising Catholics, as simply unhealthy, unnatural and damaging to the individual, physically, emotionally and psychologically. It serves no useful purpose and only did, and still does, generate much pain and suffering to healthy young and not so young men who are prevented from expressing their love for another human being and live happy and productive lives.

Celibacy should no longer be an imposition but a choice. Many priests find themselves in the position where they would love to share with a female soul their faith, their ministry or their missionary work. What is wrong with the church that it can do nothing more for the present inner conflicts, the exodus of clergy and the anguish this creates for thinking men within the church?

Most Catholics hope that the present Pope, Francis, will adjourn the celibacy issue and adapt it to the times we are living in. Whether he will succeed is questionable, being surrounded as he is, and pressured by an aging population of Cardinals, Bishops and Monsignors who are strongly resistant to change and therefore inflexible towards the needs of a newer generation of church workers, priests and missionaries.

It is important to point out that a priest leaving his status is not a delinquent Christian. In many cases he merely chose to live his Christian commitment in secular life. Not all leave due to the celibacy issue. Some feel that the original motivation leading to a decision to become a priest has not been fulfilled. Some leave the priesthood with a mixture of courage and uncertainty. To leave a structured situation that provides entirely for the logistics of living takes a great deal of strength. Many old thoughts and habits are to be shed and there is much new stuff to be learned. Help to re-establish him when leaving the ministry would be advisable, as most of his training and experience is not helpful in the lay world.

To some degree, priests are ignorant of practical matters of everyday life such as, how to approach an employment interview, where to buy clothes, how to live on earnings, how to build a social life, and that includes the emotional aspect when dealing with the opposite sex. He will need to know a little more than how to make love to a woman. He will need to get acquainted with a woman’s chemistry and all those things that up until then had been denied to him and kept from him to avoid the sinful temptation of the flesh.

Conversely, the woman that falls in love with a priest would need some sort of psychological and emotional introduction to his educational formation as they all have individual needs and a standardized procedure can definitely not be followed. It does take enormous courage on both sides to face the many, initial obstacles, and to build a strong, long-lasting happy relationship. Celibacy may no longer be part of their lives, but Faith and Love will prevail and remain.