Tag Archive: panama papers


The hidden challenges ahead

In the Catholic church we have witnessed centuries of blind obedience. We were practically trained in order to follow rules. We were always presented with a long list of what to do and what not to do. Everything was very clear….there was the truth, and there was the lie. If one tried to go against the tide, one would have sunk immediately. There was the middle age image that if one goes against the rule of the church, one would be penniless because people would make a boycott against all his professional activity.

How could one change all this? This is the beauty of the Catholic Church. When there is no hope, something new is born. A frail, sick and very old pope was elected. Everybody was commenting that the church was in a very bad position. He was practically elected to govern for a few more years until the two main parties found a consensus on a real pope! The dying pope was a pope in transition! He was Pope Saint John XXIII.

Well, the dying pope called for an ecumenical council (1962-65). As he lived in other countries where the Catholic religion was a minority, he met many good people. It started his own spiritual adventure: how could a good person, alas not baptised, not go to heaven? In a few words he started to put odd questions. He started to question the status quo of the Catholic Church.

These few paragraphs are very brief in explaining to most of our readers the culture of the Catholic Church. Practically most of our readers were born after the Second Vatican Council. I’m assuming that most of them did not receive a proper education where they were invited to come up with questions!! It’s like the old class where students where invited to listen and to jot down notes!

Nowadays even if one enters a classroom, one has to encounter students who have to ask many questions…one can’t simply bring the ready-made material for the class and to expect them simply to jot down the notes….the mentality has changed. Now, can adults do the same? Can we prepare a new spiritual ‘army’ with questions outside the box?

This is what the married priesthood entails. I’ve just met a religion teacher who was profoundly effected by the fact that one of the lecturers in the theology department was married…and he was a priest too! It’s a very old mentality where priesthood and marriage are not compatible. As if Jesus in one sacrament was against Jesus in the other sacrament!!!!!

For this reason, it shows that we can’t let others speak for us! We have to take the initiative to explain things to people. Many people still don’t know that Anglican priests are coming over with their wives whilst Catholic priests cannot marry!!! We can’t take anything for granted. We need to meet many more people. Many people following Catholic Media still don’t know about the Pope’s intention for Brasil!

We can’t wait for the pie to fall from the sky. We have to take action. We have to show the people how many priestless parishes there are going to be. We have to explain that a church without the Eucharistic celebration is nothing. The Catholic church can’t survive without celebrating the Eucharist at least once a week. On the other hand, a parish is simply not a sacrament station where one goes to fill up once a week. There has to be a community building. A community building needs some responsible people to be in the parish all the time. It’s not just going to celebrate a mass on a Sunday, and then going away soon after. Who is going to look for the lost sheep? Who is going to explain a lot of things of our faith? Who is going to comfort and give his shoulders to many people who feel all alone? There are many more duties which could make the Catholic Church come out alive but how could all this happen if there is no one to take on all these duties?

We need married priests, because they are prone to stay for a long time in a parish. They give a stable view of the parish, besides, they are already involved with the school system, teens parties etc….Their own children have to meet and mix with the rest of the parish! It’s a good way to keep the parish priest up-to-date with the parish current situation.

Advertisements

The Father professor and his student

I’m Adele. When I was twenty, I met Fr. Karol. He was my professor first, and our friendship, relationship, whatever you want to call it, took place over about nine months. We got to know each other slowly because his class was a lecture, so he didn’t have much interaction with students. But I made a point of bringing him food, and asking him how he was doing because while he was all passion and jubilance in public, he’d make off comments in class which suggested he was lonely—he was a foreigner in a new country, after all.

My kindness to him, asking him if he had somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, inviting him to my family’s dinners, asking how he was doing, as well as my performance as a student made him interested in me. Two things really changed our relationship from just student-teacher to friendship, however. First, I told him I wanted to study theology, specifically, the same area he specialized in. So, I asked if he would mentor me. He said absolutely he would. He was pleased someone was actually interested in his area of study.

Second, I went on a retreat where he was one of the priests who heard confessions. There were only two priests to choose from, and I knew them both, so I chose him. It was an intense confession because of what I had to confess had to do with trauma I had been through in my life. Hearing my confession was difficult for him because he was getting to know me because we had already made somewhat of a connection. I think it was then I knew he cared about me in some capacity, so I began to confide in him more and more. After a few months of spending more time with him, we developed a bond.

Well, maybe there is a third reason. Toward the end of the first semester, he asked me, with tears in his eyes, “Why are you so kind to me?” I told him, I honestly didn’t know, but probably because he was a good professor. Then, he told me that he was very glad I asked him over for Thanksgiving, because even though he had already been invited by another professor, for the first two years, no one invited him, meaning this is the first year he wasn’t alone for that holiday. Most significantly, he told me he was very lonely the first two years living in the US. When he told me this, I felt obligated to be attentive to him in the future, and it reminded me of my own father, who I always tried to make feel less lonely.

I was not interested in him romantically. What I wanted was a father figure. He was about twenty years older than me, and I was hurting because my father had recently left my mother and younger brother. Maybe he wanted was companionship, or maybe, a relationship, and perhaps he didn’t know what he wanted. But what he did want—he told me all this—was for me to read his books, talk about his scholarship with him, go out to eat with him, and he even mentioned visiting me when I went off to grad school, and he hoped to go on vacation with me at some point, (which I know, he made it sound all very romantic without intending to, I think, but I focused on the fact that he was a priest). He was looking to the future, a future in which I’d be a student he could be proud of.

We did go out to eat together sometimes. When we did, I got the distinct feeling that what he wanted from me, I couldn’t give him. I was naïve, so I had no idea how to interpret this feeling. In retrospect, I think I knew he was looking at me in a romantic way, but I didn’t know how to take it.

When I talked about my father, he’d get very upset, as in, he’d literally start tearing up. I’m not sure he knew how to handle my sadness, so he’d try to cheer me up by telling me that I was beautiful, that I was brilliant, that God loved me very much.

Later in our friendship, he revealed why it was so hard for him to hear about it: his own mother sent him away to boarding school because he was too high-energy, but she kept the other children at home with her. He felt utterly abandoned too. At one point, when I was crying with him, about my father, he told me would “never abandon me,” that’d he’d “always be in my life, no matter what.”

Every time we were together, there was a tension that I couldn’t name, and it felt uncomfortable for both of us. Except he’d always act like whatever time I spent with him was a priority. I’d ask him if it was okay for me to visit him in his office. Sometimes he’d be in a foul mood, but he always said “why wouldn’t it be okay for you to be here?” I think he was exhausted from pretending to be happy all the time, and with me, he felt more like he could be himself. I was one of the few people in his day to ask how he was doing, and I actually wanted to know.

There wasn’t just one thing that showed me that he cared. There were just many small things, like the way he was attentive and kind and sometimes teasing; the way he confided in me; the way he showed me he was so much more interested in me than other students. There were some big things too: When a cardinal from another city came to visit for a talk, there were a group of his students wanting to meet the cardinal. In front of a big group of his students, he chose to introduce me to the cardinal, completely ignoring all of his other students—they might as well have been invisible, since he didn’t even refer to their presence. I was so embarrassed because they all looked annoyed and disappointed to be ignored. I was just a sophomore, and he passed up students he had known longer than me to introduce me. He also would tell me he was meditating on me, trying to figure me out.

He came to know me, extremely well. He knew who my friends were and what was important to me. When I went on a different retreat my mom asked him to write a letter for me of support, as often people do on retreats. It was beautiful, and I could tell he put a lot of time in it, and he addressed me, “Dearest Pearl.” More important to me, however, is that he showed up for the part of the retreat in which family and friends come out to show you how much they care about you. Honestly, only he and my mom showed up, which amazed me. I went up to hug him and thanked him for showing up. Later, a woman there who I met on the retreat told me “it was so nice for your boyfriend to show up.” And it bothered me that a stranger thought we were together.

I have bipolar disorder, and because of all the sleep I missed with the retreat keeping us up late, and all the homework I had to catch up on that coming weekend, by Wednesday that week I was manic. (Sleep deprivation in people with bipolar disorder causes otherwise stable people to become manic.)

Because of the boyfriend comment, I became paranoid that people were spreading rumors about us being a couple. But quite honestly, his showing up confused me. Even though my mom invited him, she later said she invited just about everyone, and of course, he could have not shown up, saying that he was too busy or just politely declined. His being at the retreat suggested to me, at the time, that he wanted to be in my life more deeply, and I didn’t know how I felt about it.

Later that week, I went to his office to talk to him about it. Mid-conversation, the tears flowed so copiously, I had to lean forward to see him clearly. With what words I had left during mania, which makes people hyper-religion and grandiose, I asked him “are we like St Teresa and John of the cross?” He didn’t have an answer. It was my way of asking “this is strange and convoluted and intense but chaste friendship, right”? And he not understanding made me cry harder, so I kept apologizing because I knew I had asked something which couldn’t be undone, I wanted he and I to be good and holy, but I couldn’t say the words. My mind was too on fire to speak, to reason, and my eyes were too covered in tears to see, that I had to leave him there in his office, just to stop crying. As a 20 year old, I didn’t have the boundaries or the language to ask what his intentions were, or what he wanted from me. So it all came out wrong, I admit that. However, there was something obviously wrong with me, but of course, unless you have experience with people who are bipolar or are in the mental health field, you’re not going to know what is going on.

By the end of the week, I was in the hospital because I couldn’t sleep and it was causing me to be delirious. While I was in the hospital, he called my mom, telling her I was in love with him and that I couldn’t speak to him anymore. He said that if I did, he’d report me to the administration. When I got out of the hospital and my mother told me this, my first reaction was anger. I hated that he would assume that I wanted anything from him other than for him to be a priest. It hurt me to know he thought so ill of me, like I was a stupid romantic girl. It seemed so out of the blue for him to make that accusation. To this day, I have no idea what it was. I think he may have been afraid of the attention I drew to him by showing up and leaving his office crying. I think by then he knew that other students and professors were aware that I was a “favorite” student, and I think he might have been afraid of the worst possible perception.

Every time I saw him after that he looked, so, so, so, miserable, and when I saw him in class his eyes were bloodshot and glistening, the way they would be on the several occasions he had gotten upset in front of me. It was the end of the semester before the summer, so I didn’t have to see him very much at all, only a few times, but I knew it would be too hard to have to see him again, to be treated like a pariah after he promised to never abandon me, that I left the university. I considered him an important father figure in my life, so it devastated me to be rejected by ANOTHER father figure.

What I wish more than anything that he was honest with himself and with me what he wanted all along. I was only twenty, and I have no idea how he thought I’d figure this all out on my own without guidance. It would have been kinder too if he told me the truth, and spoke directly to me why we couldn’t see each other anymore, instead of going to my mom, of all people. In retrospect, however, I think the whole friendship was kind of inappropriate. Once he heard my confession and began to “counsel” me about my father, he put himself in a pastoral role. That pastoral role has certain responsibilities to not become overly involved, as it creates confusion for both parties. It’s why therapists don’t hang out with their patients. With all he knew about me, all he had promised to me, he had a so much power over me. It was an abuse of power for him to treat me the way he did. I found him a comforting presence, so I turned to him for help, and he offered himself as the answer to my problems. He should have known better.

We invite all our readers to give their thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement to our Adele. Please remember that anybody can fall in love at any moment in his/her life. It has nothing to do with one’s mental health or way of life. We are humans. We can’t survive without love. Now if it is born in the so called ‘wrong place’, what can we do? Removing our love feelings towards somebody is not like erasing a mistake on paper. It goes much deeper than that. Love is our universal language!

The role of patience

The young ones are famous for bringing about a lot of changes in a very short time. This happens in a school, business company, local council, politics and in any other sphere where human beings interact. We all know the result. Most probably most people reject change and may turn the table onto the younger ones. ‘Too soon’ and ‘too drastic’ are some of the famous sayings heard in everyday life.

Patience is not something which could be taught like in a school. It has be mastered slowly and by inner reflection. The person has to continue struggling to bring about changes, yet it has to pick up the right wave in order to bring about small changes. In other words: “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”; it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” Fulton J. Sheen

We all look for results. We all want positive changes. Yet, most of the people are happy as they are. This is like the saying: everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die!!

How do we achieve our dreams of married priesthood? Well there are no magical formulas. There are no instant results. We have to study how to bring about the best result. But we all need to work hard for it!

Well the Pope, true to his word, made an invitation to Brazil. It’s the country with one of the lowest percentage of priests in comparison with the faithful there. He is very shrewd. Refusing in such a big country (some call it a continent with its big dimensions), would be equal to a suicide. But the Pope started from the country which cannot refuse such a call if it wants to survive and still have Catholics in its own land. The hemorrhage is incredible in such big country. People are leaving the church in large numbers. This is the effect of not having at least a mass once a week.

Now it all depends on our response to such change. Are we going to apply pressure to the Vatican, to the local church? Are we ready to start discussing with the rest of the church? Our big guns are several but we wish to focus on two of them: one is the lack of priests where many parishes are struggling just to offer a mass per week! The other one is the common point with most non-church goers: sexuality. Most people have left because in the Catholic Church we can’t update our sexuality chapter anymore. It has to be re-written from scratch. The married priests are in a comfortable position to tell what’s most important and what could be discarded having children of their own.

We have noticed as well that some Catholic agencies didn’t publish the news that the Pope has invited Brazilian bishops to discuss priesthood for some married people (referring to male ones). This already speaks volumes. Not all the people will agree. But this should not discourage us. Living in a democratic country we should not get discouraged because of different opinions. Yet the good of the church tells us to do something before it’s too late. This should be the base on which to discuss the issue. It’s life or death situation.

Watching a TV program discussing ghosts, dead people, afterlife etc….shows how little do the people know of what the church truly teaches!! There is a lot of confusion, everybody coming out with a new version of what happens after death…….we need more priests, we need more catechists to tell them what the church teaches!

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.