Tag Archive: Pope Francis


Easter Sunday

The gospels are interesting to read from several points of view. One of them is for contrasts. The people next to Jesus who have witnessed the most astonishing miracles, walked side by side with Him for some years. They are so proud of their master. On Good Friday they are nowhere to be seen. They are terrified of anyone associating them with Jesus. Peter made a solemn oath of not knowing Jesus!

The leader is gone. All the followers run for their lives. They are nowhere to be seen. But they have witnessed the most extraordinary events in their lives??!! This is because fear took over. One of the biggest threats to faith is fear. Fear of what the others might say. Fear of being judged. Fear of being different. Fear of showing your true faith to others. Fear of loosing friends. Fear of being fired. Fear of the future. Fear of others. Fear of the immigrants. Fear of…….The list goes on and on.

Are we afraid? Afraid of what? The fact that I don’t have more stories (for the time being), means that people are afraid of sharing their intimate story with a priest, even though we promised not to reveal real names nor geographical position!

If we wish to see change in the church and yet we are not ready to jump, then maybe we are procrastinating change in the Catholic Church. Maybe like the apostles we are still experiencing Good Friday but not Easter Sunday!

Jesus has won death itself – our greatest enemy. What are we afraid of, exactly? Why is this fear keeping us from transmitting our message? When discussing with others, it’s the others who might be afraid of change, not us!

We have to start the ball rolling as we don’t expect others, especially the priests to speak in our name! On the other hand, it might be interpretated as Pharisaic because whilst we demand the priest to leave everything for the name of love, we are so afraid to touch the hot potato subject of married priests. Myself, I have lost the ‘comfortable’ job of working at the university. Other priests had to emigrate. Others receive a very low pay. Others are still shunned by most of the people, family members included! A few of them have committed suicide. I wish I could reveal the many emails/communication that I receive. Unfortunately, everybody seems to be a victim of fear as they don’t give me permission to publish!

One of the tactics used by most bishops, is that these are very few cases! This is not true. But how can I explain that I have so many cases on my hands if I cannot disclose any information about many stories?

I truly believe that everybody can do something small but with great love and determination. One can send messages through many parts of the world in different ways. I can’t give a general formula for everybody! It’s up to each person to study it’s own personal life and act accordingly.

May the Risen Christ give you enough courage to be bold enough and strengthen the church by suggesting married priesthood.

The secret hand of God

Children would like to win when playing games. Adults want to come out as intelligent and mature persons when conducting a project at work. The Jewish people too wanted a superman in order to get rid of the then so powerful Roman Empire! In any case, everybody wants/wanted to come out with flying colours!

How come then we’re celebrating the death of a man nailed to a cross? Is this the promised victory? What kind of victory is that? It seems that the so called bad people had won!

Although we’ve been brainwashed [at times] in the Catholic church, there are moments when one is all alone. One can’t do what others did. It’s a personal situation where each individual has to give a personalised answer!

The married priesthood is another subject which cannot be judged on a yes or no campaign. We don’t say it’s possible or not. We firmly believe that it’s in God’s hands for the future. Now God, the way He handles these projects is in a different manner. If we just look at one of His extraordinary projects [the church], he didn’t select the very best [according to our frame of mind]! Yet no one can deny that it was another wonder of the world! Companies get dissolved after a few years or in other words, no company has withstood 2 centuries though!

As married priesthood is aimed for the future, it links with another group of people: the prophets. Prophets in the old Testament [Bible], used to talk in a strange language. They used to see things that others didn’t. No prophet knew how far away was the actualisation of his words. Though they firmly believed that one day it would have been put into practise.

The signs that make us believe that it will happen is that the number of candidates for priesthood is getting the lowest record. We’re speaking in a general manner because in very few countries they are still having an incredible high number.

The church can’t survive in such an environment. I do mix with people and many times when discussing religion, I realise how little do they know about true religion! How can they learn if there is no one to teach them? What about their daily lives? Do they turn to God? Well, we can safely say that the old prayers are gone forever. Even though people can surely meet God in other areas and circumstances, we firmly believe from daily experience that if we don’t have a timetable, most probably we turn to God [maybe] when we encounter a negative experience!

As usual, when discussing any subject in the church, there should be a dose of prayer. It’s not just the sharing of ideas. We are walking together on a journey to discover God in the futuristic church where married priests will be present.

Just to make our ideas more clear let’s make an example: discussing forgiveness. One can discuss at length about the subject but finally one has to pray a lot in order to practise it in one’s life. This is because one needs God’s help to be able to live it!

Let’s not see married priesthood on its own. It’s just one project alongside others which finally will enhance the church to be able to be again an important player in society in this century.

A different approach

I still remember some of the so called good old days in the church where people used to be afraid of breaking tradition in Lent by eating prohibited food or to exceed the exact quantity of some food! Well we had a particular formation where tradition used to occupy a central place. Fasting was a way of life in a Christian’s perspective. It was tradition.

Today, when walking in a city, there is rarely a sign of people who fast! Most people broke with tradition. People do not feel that tradition is a reason why we have to continue the same way of life. People feel that they need a change. Some of them are looking for a direct communication with our Lord, in or outside the church. If they don’t fast, it doesn’t mean that they do not believe in God or that they are far away!

The direct approach is their meaning of prayer. They ask any kind of question especially those outside the box because they are looking for something honest, caring, understanding and meaningful. If one asks, one expects an answer. Some people do not find answers. How is God going to provide answers to some curious questions?

God works through us. We are the ones who have to provide an answer to these thirsty and hungry people for God!

If we compare statistics, we might become pessimistic of how many people are not attending church any more! There are many people who are so alienated that they do not know that it’s the Lent season! On the other hand, if we are truly living this Lent, we might see things differently.

The rush to buy more or to get more rich, is a request to find God ultimately, according to St. Augustine’s philosophy. We might be the link for others to show them where God is. Maybe it’s not the time for fasting, but it’s time to go and look for others and help them contact God.

This applies especially when discussing married priesthood. It’s the link that people are looking for to find a humane church where it understands their daily challenges to live a normal life! It is the link that they are looking for. Whenever I’m discussing this issue amongst people who have left the church, I always see a smile and a genuine interest to come back to church.

The other side of the coin shows people who are still attending church ceremonies yet they are strongly in line with tradition. Taking away tradition means taking one’s life in their own frame of mind! We have to explain the reason maybe of breaking up with the tradition of celibate priests. We have to pray together in order that the Lord will illuminate the challenges facing the church today, especially that of lack of priests!

In our frame of mind too we have to let God move us towards new pastures! Although the hurdles seem insurmountable, yet we do believe that God can move mountains! At times, we don’t need a very large following. Maybe we might need just one prophet who with the appropriate words can bring the necessary changes in the church for the good of all! In this sense, this week, there have been some positive and significant changes in order that priests could get married!

Another article is found here. Have a spiritual and meaningful Lent!

Why is Pope Francis hesitating?

Most commentators speak or write about the Catholic Church as outsiders or as people who don’t know what’s going on. It’s like when you hear that a couple has just separated! For all those who do not form part of their inner circle, it’s a big shock! Surprisingly, the couple itself may have been thinking of separation for many weeks or perhaps years!

Why is Pope Francis so hesitant? Well after so many centuries of biased teaching against women how can he reconcile the idea of priests living 24/7 with a woman? We have witnessed for many years that intelligent women were classified as if having a special connection with the devil! There couldn’t be an intelligent woman, if yes, then there was witchcraft somewhere, somehow!

Priests on their own will be more easy to control. Having a woman alongside might present problems as she might speak truthfully and directly contrary to many priests who still value obedience above justice or retribution! And what about divorce? What if the relationship gets sour? What will happen? Will the priest divorce? Will he live with another woman? That will be too much to accept!

Priests, although they speak about marriage, makes them the most vulnerable people in marriage because they have no experience of a true, deep relationship. Nowadays they used to being transferred after some years. From our point of view, married priests, if helped to meet the right partner and grow up in emotional maturity, might bring a new reflection to divorce and all that pertains to marriage!!

Priests

[like politicians]

occupy a central position in society. They are surrounded by people who practically adore them. They find most of the work done by others. They simply have to come in and finish it themselves whilst taking all the glory! Having a family will destroy his free time and his free roaming around at will. How can a priest submit himself to another human being [woman]? Or how can he take care of child 24/7? That will be too much!

Another reason which tops it all is that of priests who are married. They are still seen as lepers! They have left because they were not capable of living the priestly life. How can he let them back again? If they are allowed to come back, other priests might protest that they have remained ‘faithful’ to their call whilst they have to work with others who have simply betrayed their calling!

We know that these priests who have left have not betrayed anyone because they have been faithful to their conscience because they couldn’t hide their spiritual and emotional growth. They didn’t want to live a double life. On the contrary, other priests might have stayed because they were too afraid to make the big decision or because they found the normal life too threatening!

In the meantime, if the Pope doesn’t make this bold step forward, he might be condemning the church to just a few followers as many have chosen to vote with their feet. We had already many issues in the church (most popular at the time of the council was the ‘no’ against contraceptives), which made most of the flock to leave! Shall we have the situation where priest celebrates mass on his own or with very few people?

The Catholic Church is in no position to dictate what other people have to do especially after the Pell trial in Australia! Married priesthood would be the first step in the right direction to start building people’s faith in the church once again. Married priests will surely bring about other significant changes. At the same time we have to realise that a change never comes from those who are leading a happy life! It’s the people who are suffering who push for a change. Those areas without a priest should seek married ones. No priest can deny spiritual help to baptised people (that’s a law of the church!). Let’s start the change by knowing where married priests are and ask for their services! Just have a look at these websites: USA; Europe.

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.

I struggled even writing this, never mind trying to summarise almost 16 years of my on and off friendship with this person. I wanted to share my story to let others know that they’re not alone (because for a while, I felt very alone and as if no one could understand). If I’m being honest, I’m looking for advice and a resolution too. My name is MA and my priest is J.

I met J through a family friend; they were both attending seminary at the time. I was attending a mass for vocations and after, I went down to the church hall for refreshments. It was then that J caught my eye across the room and right away, I wanted to know: “who is HE?” I cannot tell you how silly I felt when my friend introduced him as a fellow seminarian (he was not dressed in his collar). We talked for a while and I was struck by his smile, his dimples, and his pure excitement about becoming a priest, as well as his commitment to our faith and God. Frankly, I was blown away by the sheer chemistry and energy radiating off him and between us. For the record, it was the first (and last) time someone had ever caught my eye in that way. Regardless, I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again.

The following summer, he was placed at my Mom’s church as an intern. Right away, we clicked. We often joined other parishioners for coffee, attended masses for vocations around my state, and he even met a few of my closest friends and family. At this point, I wasn’t thinking of J as anything other than a mentor of sorts, someone who I could talk about my faith with. He also seemed proud of my work in the healthcare field and we discussed helping others a lot. He shared he had been engaged prior to entering the priesthood and had needed to take a break from seminary in order to discern whether he was on the right path. J admitted he struggled with celibacy and the thought of not being a father.

By the end of that summer, we were even closer & I felt sad that I was losing my friend as he headed back to the seminary. I was also a little shocked and confused as to why he hadn’t yet asked me for my email (no cells back then!). He waited literally until minutes before leaving and heading back to ask me for my contact info. I wish I had seen the confusion I felt then for what it was— a foreshadowing of feelings that would characterize and haunt our relationship.

We continued to email at least weekly during his school year and then he started calling me at work. It happened so often, that I actually got in trouble. Not to mention, every time he called, he would say it was “Father J,” making the poor receptionist have a heart attack, thinking that something bad had happened to someone in my family. I was there for his transitional deaconate ceremony and celebrated with him after. He introduced me to his family and I became friends with some of his family members, often emailing them on a regular basis.

His last year of seminary, J. treated me much like the previous year, except our contact greatly increased. A few months before his ordination, he confided that he “wasn’t so sure he wanted to do this and that his biggest fear was getting to his mid-40’s and realizing that he wanted to be a husband and a father.” At this point, I was starting to become physically attracted to J. and finding him working his way into my thoughts more and more. I struggled between the desires of my heart, being a good Catholic and friend, and giving him unbiased advice. I tried to give the best advice I could, encouraging him to take a good, hard look at his motivations. J. basically summed it up as: “My parents want me to be a priest. Besides, what else would I do? I didn’t go to college.” At the time, he neglected to tell me he was a trained healthcare professional himself.

In the end, he followed through with being ordained and it was one of the proudest, yet hardest, days of my life (it still is). I knew how he had struggled with the academic work, his emotions, but persevered because of his strong faith. As he lied prostrate, it felt like a knife to my heart. I love my faith and God, so I felt guilty and ashamed for feeling this way. It was that very day, probably the proudest day of his life, that I realized I was in love with him. The irony was not lost on me.

J ended up in his first placement as a parochial vicar not far from where I live. He invited me to his first mass and told me that my being there helped to decrease his nerves. He also asked me to continue to attend mass there and I found no problem with this, as I was dating a man from the area and often spent my weekends there. J was aware of this and made it obvious he didn’t approve. Despite the tension that my having a significant other created, our friendship continued to strengthen and we started to create special moments together. One snowy Xmas Eve J. begged me not to leave, as he was “lonely” and estranged from some of his family at that time. I helped to advocate for a family member of his when insurance would no longer cover her chemotherapy and filled out numerous amounts of paperwork to get her additional resources. Meanwhile, my faith was growing stronger than ever, but so were my feelings for J. Looking back on it now, I find it odd how I never dreamed that he could possibly reciprocate those feelings; I was brainwashed and saw him as a priest, not a human being. A person not only who is capable of love, but might even be desiring it. It was only until J started acting funny that I questioned his intentions, but immediately dismissed them. He insisted I have a confession with him when I thought it was a conflict of interest and fought with me about not attending a pilgrimage to Italy with his church (I couldn’t afford it at the time, he offered to pay for me). After mass on a beautiful spring day, he offered to walk me to my car after we spent hours chatting and laughing after mass. A red flag went up; I found it strange because we were in a suburban, safe neighborhood, with my car tucked safely in the church parking lot, in broad daylight. However, I was used to his being courteous, and he always walked me to my car but it was always in the presence of fellow priests. I started to feel funny as I loaded my things into my car, only to turn and find him leaning against my door, in close proximity to me. I started to feel that awkwardness when a first date is ending and you don’t know if the guy is going to kiss you or not. I didn’t know if he was going to do or say something, but I knew whatever was coming would change things for both of us forever, so I literally pushed him away, said goodbye, and drove off. I remember, still to this day, seeing his face in my rearview and cried the whole way home. It was the last time I would see him for a decade. There are no words to describe how I felt that day, other than I loved him so much, I wanted to protect him. I also didn’t want to hurt God. I thought of J over the years and wondered if my gut intuition was right regarding his feelings for me and what he was going to do that day or if I totally misread the whole thing.

To make an already long story longer (kudos if you read this far), I ended up lapsing and not going to church for 6 years. I would be lying if I said my love for J wasn’t part of it. However, my faith and spirituality never faltered. It is my main coping mechanism despite chronic health issues and frankly, it’s what keeps me going. About a year ago, I started to get serious about returning to church and yearned for a place where I wouldn’t be judged, feel comfortable, and not be forced by the pastor to get involved behind the scenes in various roles (this has been an issue for me in almost every church I’ve attended). I looked up J to see where he was and found he was assigned to a parish in the same city I work. I attempted to contact him via parish email to break the ice and make it less awkward for us both if I decided to show up. Naively, I figured that so many years had passed; there would be no harm in seeing him again. I assumed he’s now an experienced pastor, that I have grown leaps and bounds and am pretty good at detecting red flags (that’s what happens folks when you’ve been dating since 15!), and that my feelings for him had leveled out because of lack of contact. I even prayed continuously and agonized over my decision. I prepared myself for seeing someone who might have changed in ways I would not appreciate, expected him to be different, even prepared myself that he might have a significant other (yes, we all know the reality). Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I’ve dealt with since my return.

He claims he never got my email message and within minutes of sitting down at my first mass there, I realized my instincts and gut feelings so many years ago were spot on. He turned pale, then beet red, stumbling over his words, hands shaking when he gave me communion, fidgeting when sitting on the altar. I have seen him drop the Eucharist once or twice and it was always the person before me in line. I cannot tell you how awful I felt, as if I was causing him to feel uncomfortable on his own turf and screw up his at his job.

I have never had a more awkward conversation, as I attempted to explain my presence to him. He couldn’t even look me in the eye and reprimanded me for disappearing all those years ago and not telling him why. I think he sees my leaving years ago as rejection, not the protection I intended. However, he never contacted me to see if everything was ok either. I was struck how emotionally immature he seemed, able to interact with parishioners quite easily, but not with me. For some reason with me it seems different; it’s hurtful and painful. J insists he “likes having me there and it’s not awkward for him,” but I don’t feel he’s being honest. There are days he’s friendly and like old J I knew, we laugh and talk with no issues. Then there are others where he ignores me and I don’t know how to act myself. I have always felt comfortable talking to a wide range of people, especially males; I am a tomboy and have mostly male friends. I talk and listen to people for a living, so to be struggling like this is a foreign concept for me. People always tell me that I am easy to talk to, that they feel like they’ve known me for years, and can trust me with anything. It says something that I don’t know how to act when I’m around J.

Over the summer, I started taking J’s unwillingness to open up personally. I also noticed his friendliness and closeness to another female parishioner our age, who is married and whose husband holds a highly respected job. She is actively involved in the parish in a variety of roles and donates a substantial amount of money to the church. I have seen him engage in a way that I think is inappropriate for a pastor to engage with a parishioner but then I think: “am I just biased? Is it purely the fact that she gives money?” I am aware the church is a business. I don’t find that a comfort though—it makes me think less of him and get angry. If money is what he bases his friendships on, I find it sad and hypocritical. I can’t afford to give thousands to my church, but it doesn’t mean I love God any less. I also don’t want to think of the alternative, that she’s special to him in a way she shouldn’t be.

I struggle to understand why he has no issue interacting with this woman but gets nervous and discombobulated around me. I feel jealous and frustrated, as if I’m on an emotional roller coaster. I’m beginning to think we weren’t as close as I thought.

As soon as I pull away emotionally and get to a good place, it seems as if J can almost sense it, and he’ll do something to pull me back in. One day, it was telling how he was struggling. I didn’t want to talk personal issues in front of other parishioners, so I told him to text or call, whatever he felt comfortable with if he needed someone to talk to. It’s something I would do for any friend in need. He’s never once texted, emailed, or called. It’s disconcerting when we used to talk every single week, almost daily. I began thinking if it weren’t for Mary and the Eucharist, I’d consider becoming Protestant. I struggled over the summer to see how my faith could continue to grow in this church, but I didn’t feel like leaving either. I like the people, feel comfortable for the most part, and was doing fine when I got to a peaceful place about J. Finally, I got to a good place emotionally and it lasted for a few months. I was proud of myself.

That all changed. After recently experiencing a serious trauma, suddenly nothing mattered—not J, not this other woman—nothing was as important and crucial to my well-being as God and my faith. I am so thankful and grateful not only to be alive, but to have come to see it as a learning experience that readjusted my priorities. J was involved in my healing process and was honest; he admitted it scared him to see me that way. He told me that “out of all people, you don’t deserve this.”

Since then, I have noticed J. attempting to connect with me, but his immaturity and arrested development often get in the way and act as an obstacle in growing our friendship. He does small things, often within homilies or during prayers that I know are geared towards me. At first, I found myself thinking: “am I narcissistic? Egocentric? I think that was meant for me!” But then a smile or direct eye contact will reassure me, yes, I’m not crazy. I still find my mind drifting off to him, like a school girl with a crush. I feel sad, confused, angry, worried, and alone; it’s not exactly as if I can talk to just anyone about this. There are times, though, when I’m talking to him or praying with him, that I feel such joy and love, love for not only J, but an overwhelming love and closeness to God. One of J’s smiles can send me floating for days.

That being said for me, knowledge is power. I have actually sought out support groups online and in the process, read research and many books about this issue. Yes, women love priests. Some because it’s a challenge, some because they “lack self-esteem,” others because they love the priest not for his role, but because of the amazing man beneath the collar. I fall in this last category; I love J. for who he is, not WHAT he is. Yes, I’ve said it; I’m in love with a priest. It feels freeing to finally say those words. And I am no longer naïve to the fact that priests often love a woman back. I have rationalized my awareness that this man may indeed love me back for way too long. The key is he’ll never love me back in the way I deserve or need. I’ve come to understand that there is no happy ending in this situation. Will I ever tell J how I feel? Probably not, although if he directly calls me out on it, I wouldn’t lie. I don’t plan on leaving his church any time soon either, but don’t have plans to pursue more than a friendship. Believe me, if J ever tells me he’s leaving the priesthood, I’d be the first one (in a long line of women I’m sure) ready and eager to pursue a relationship, one that we both deserve and would be on equal footing.

Meanwhile, I plan on devoting some of my energy to advocating for the married priest movement. Why shouldn’t priests be able to marry? I find it ironic, as they speak about love and counsel married couples. Should a man who has chosen to spread the word of God be “punished” by an inability to experience God’s greatest gift—love? There is no way that anything that involves love can be a sin because it is of God. Period.

In ending, thank you for reading my story. It is because of the courage of the many folks who contribute to this blog that I was finally able to tell my story. I know many of you will relate to me and support me, but I’m also aware that others may think my feelings are wrong and am prepared for possible criticism. If you’re in the latter group, I only ask you to think of how it felt when you first experienced love: the excitement, the joy, and the confusion at times. Be kind to one another and may God continue to bless us all on our individual journeys.

Merry Christmas to All! Readers, let’s be charitable by finding the right phrase or writing, to help this lady.

Let’s make it crystal clear at the very beginning: we never force any adult to take any decision. It’s up to the person to walk in the direction he wishes to discover. On the other hand, we are never going to promote clandestine relationships between priests and women. We firmly believe that the amount of stress, risks and guilt feelings are too much for both the woman and the priest in order to lead a hidden life. It is not ethical that while the priest preaches to others what to do, he himself lives a lie.

On the hand, let’s discuss openly and give some common directions to priests who are walking in this unique and particular journey. Falling in love is not a sin. Can we put it into the priest’s soul? We know that the priest has been brainwashed for many years with the mentality that love and priesthood are not compatible. Talking with other priests seem to be worse as most of them will force the priest to abandon the golden relationship with this special friend. It seems that they don’t have any doubts or second thoughts. It’s another alarm which sounds quite aloud as some persons seem to have all the answers in the world…for others! Yet some simple questions will paint the situation rather accurate: did they ever experience love? Did they ever communicate with another person on a special level? Most of them find refuge behind a wall of denial and copied truths which were handed down without ever being questioned.

What is this sudden love urge for one single person? Why is this person so special? Why did it enter into his locked up heart? How was the priest living his relationship with God? Was he successful in building mature relationships with other adults? What is God trying to say to the priest? It’s a wake up call. Obviously these questions have to be answered individually and personally. We cannot photocopy answers as each priest has to give his own particular answer!

The crisis in the spiritual life is not a negative experience. It’s the call for growth. God does not leave us in the same situation for long. Life itself changes many times. We have to face some new challenges. Sometimes the challenges will help us get out of a stagnant life.

The priest can decide that the challenge is too much. He might feel at odds with such challenge. In that case, one should at least be open and sincere with the woman concerned and not leave her hanging on for ever! It’s cruelty if one leaves the other partner in a permanent limbo! On the other hand, the fire that started to burn in his heart, should be listened to in order to start a fire in all his pastoral work. His out of the blues love relationship was not superficial. He has to translate the same enthusiasm and sparkle in his work.

In the case that the priest is doubtful about his work in the church or is at odds with the teaching of the church, he has to resolve the case. Either he believes in his work within the church, or else steps aside in order to find power, energy and spiritual growth in his life.

Stepping aside might lead to new, convincing answers ie. a mature growth in his faith. He might continue as a priest with a new energy. If not, he has to decide that he can’t live a lie and to walk in a different path.

What’s new in all our opinions, is that going for a married life does not mean that one has lost his faith and neither that he has acted like Judas who kissed Jesus for hidden motives! It means that one has to live his faith with a new pair of eyes: that of a married priest. It will help one to revise all the teaching one has received since childhood! We know that this is actually a revolution in one’s life. But this is what is needed in the church of today. If the experience of a married priest becomes worldwide, all the theological writings will have to be edited! Like a snake who has shed his old skin, all things will come alive in the new church.

It’s an old/new way to present priesthood. It’s old, because most of the apostles were married and so were some of the popes! New, because around 1000 years ago, Roman Catholic Priests stopped getting married!

Without being hurtful to the church, we do notice that most of the young people will never step inside a church unless they see the face of the humanity in it! Seeing the priests getting married and facing most common everyday challenges will help them realise that they are not far away from the kingdom of God! Let’s face it, in most European countries [with some exceptions), churches have become empty spaces! Are we happy to see the church die?

One final note. Christmas reminds us that a woman (Virgin Mary) brought the human and frail child to this world. Do we need women to revive our religion today? Married priests is another step which brings recognition to the hidden work done by many women who are the backbone of our religion, but who are not at the centre of publicity! Like Mary, they bring forth a new child to the world!

Guidelines for women!

We’ve been gaining experience for these last 21 years in our marrried priests’ movement! We have come to a point where we can be in a better position to help both the priest and the woman who are in love.

One of the aspects which has been built on, is the number of tips given to women in order to understand better their position. We are not abandoning the priest neither, but this time we’re giving out some practical guidelines to the women out there!

We insist that a relationship starts very early when most probably both persons are not aware of some dynamics going on! It happens in all the world and in all countries, but we’re trying to help the woman notice that the red bulb is lit! The fact that people meet, relationships are formed, with or without our knowledge! Now as the saying goes, it takes two to tango! The starting up might be totally innocent or innocuous, but the continuing needs both sides of the relationship! At one moment they will realise that things have gone too far and a decision is needed. We’re of the opinion that until that moment comes, one could avoid all heart breaking and other damages by being alert to many ‘hidden’ signals.

As usual we’re asking for some help from our readers to add, delete or comment about the coming lines.

Women are guided in order NOT to:

• invite the priest to her house nor go to the priest’s house alone;
• give her personal number unless requested for professional services in the church
• [in that case one has to keep all conversations on a professional basis];
• allow the priest to make a conversation based on his personal life;
• allow any provocative kisses, touching or patting;
• to dream about the priest as the perfect future husband;
• talk about her personal life in a secluded and closed room;
• let any conversation take on the form of a lovers’ chat room;
• let the priest communicate [through social media] on a daily basis and/or too frequently;
• let the priest say or write romantic words;
• let the priest promise that he is on the verge of leaving priesthood [or similar words];
• let the priest openly show that he is at odds with the church;
• accept presents from the priest;
• become his saviour especially when things fail in his parish;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The word argument might have a negative connotation for some people in some particular cultures. Well, many years ago it was the basic form of education in the old times (referring to Greek and Roman times). People used to bring the hearsay to ‘old’ people in order to hear their views about it.

The so called ‘old’ teachers had the knack of building up an argument in order to expose their teaching. So the argument was an excuse to spread their way of thinking. There weren’t classes as such but the so called arguments took place in the square where all the people used to mingle (whether for business, curiosity, to hang out or simply to gossip!)

We too can start from what the people say and think and take it up to the next level. We should show our way of presenting the argument.

One of the most famous (or infamous!) hearsay is that of sexual abuse which might happen if priests are not allowed to get married. We have to be extra careful how we present it as our adversaries might tell us that married people too abuse young children. But it doesn’t mean we have to drop this side of the argument. Let’s get deep down.

Both single and married people abuse children. That’s a fact. Nobody can deny it. But is it for the same reason? Now this is the side of the argument that most of them forget. Let’s give an example: stealing. A poor person might steal because it needs to. Does it mean that rich people don’t steal? No sir. They steal TOO. But they do it for a different reason.

The same with sexual abuse coming from unmarried priests. Yes the lack of sexual expression might lead to different forms of sicknesses. One of them is to reach out for young, inexperienced and virgin young boys and girls. This has been proved in many scientific studies. Just to mention a comparison it’s like somebody who is dying of hunger and sees the trash bin of somebody. Without thinking twice he would open it and eat the first food item found, forgetting about getting sick from such food! Yes some unmarried priests sometimes are craving for just a handshake! Most of them would like to have a sexual encounter in their deepest and hidden wishes. They are practically being crucified everyday! They simply go nuts when the perfume of a woman enters their office. This is the environment when sexual abuse of children takes place. No one can deny it! They can’t contain their sexual appetite and consequently they express it on the most vulnerable section of society – children!

Married people too abuse young and inexperienced young children. Again we emphasize, but it’s for a different reason.

We are not simply going to give permission to an abuser to get married in order to solve the problem! That would be complete nonsense!

But why are we asking for married priesthood then?

The first primary reason is the bible. How could we encourage people to read the bible and then go against the bible? Most of the apostles were married. How can we justify that our priests today go against the bible? If we start making excuses for not following the bible then all teaching will fall away!

Secondly, we firmly believe that a priest with a woman at his side would change his outlook on life, spirituality and philosophy of work completely. We can’t simply insist on the mentality that men alone are better qualified for the job. As time passes by, we notice that teens who are still coming to church, in most cases have a very active mum (in the religious sense)!! Mums, in many cases are doing a priest’s job by speaking about God to children and bringing Him alive to them. In many parishes, the contribution of women is often hidden. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not important!

Married priesthood is going to be the starting point of a new revolution where all the teaching of the church has to be: reflected on, shared, discussed and action taken upon! All this enveloped in an environment of prayer. Let’s not be afraid of the Holy Spirit who speaks in different times and in different ways though various and unexpected people!