Tag Archive: President of Malta


The concept of a team

When one is watching TV on his/her own, one can watch any station for any reason. Once the person is joined by just one single person, the scenario changes completely. One cannot watch any station in the new situation. There are two people now. They have to discuss what are they going to watch. Most probably two people have different tastes and ideas about what to watch.

In the church we are still individuals. Most people think about themselves and God. Whenever one starts meeting others for faith talks, one starts seeing cracks. The others don’t understand me; they label me; I feel threatened. This is just some of the comments that we priests witness when trying to gather together a flock. I thought that it was only when it comes to face to face meetings. No, it’s online too. When we don’t see eye to eye we start fighting!

Some people might think that they have lost their faith as they see Christians fighting each other. Well, let’s be blunt: fighting between Christians is not a good publicity at all and under certain principles it shouldn’t exist at all. Yet, if one reads the bible regularly and in a prayerful mode, one discovers many instances where fighting becomes the order of the day; whether it’s physical, emotional or on any other level!

There is never a dull moment in the bible. It happened to Christ himself. He wanted to start His church. He could have done it all alone with no mistakes, perfect method and perfect publicity. Maybe it would have progressed with no hiccups! But that’s our human mind who does not want to face any difficulties, sicknesses, challenges and different opinions then the ones held in our grey matter.

Christ himself chose Peter. He was surely not the diplomatic or ideal person at all with no academical qualifications! Sincerely, who would have chosen Peter out of all people? From the practical point of view there were others who were more qualified for the job. Yet Christ chose Peter. We can never comprehend God’s will 100%.

Reflecting on such events one may come to some interesting points. Is the job of Peter so important after all? Who is in command of the church: Peter or God? Who can perform more than humans: Peter or God? If the church were to be based on human beings, it would have already collapsed! Yet it has a unique long history of at least 2000 years. Is this not a miracle in itself?

Some people might have lost faith after the sexual abuse scandal which turned out to be incredibly universal. Yet it’s not the first time that the church has faced such difficult situations. If one mentions the case when the Pope had six illegitimate sons….when we had two Popes at the same time…when the Pope was more similar to a king than a real shepherd and had attacked and conquered other nations…. when the Vatican was going to be attacked during World War II…

In the bible we have one of the earliest quarrels in the church when both Peter and Paul had totally different opinions about the process of joining the church itself!

We have just seen one aspect: the lack of cohesion and agreement in the ‘crowd’ mentality. How about advantages? Could one have all the ideas of the world in his mind? Could one have all the talents, the spiritual power, the will to help the church? Surely not. That’s why we need the others. Besides there Christ’s words that when two or three people are gathered in his name, He is there, present.

The idea of a team is that a good coach studies each and every member and puts him/her in the right place. It’s useless if we start pointing out the bad side of each person. Jesus is in command of His church. We have to pray more in order to see things from God’s point of view. He knew about his apostles’ weak side, yet He chose those twelve in order to kick start his greatest project on earth – the church. Shall we start dissecting his apostles to look out for defects? Or shall we accept them as God’s messengers?

When facing other people in the church, yes we’re going to meet with sins, fragility, incompetence, hard headed people etc…..yet they are all in God’s wonderful hands who can transform a cemetery into a living group of people! He is God of the impossible and not just of that which is possible!

From our experience, being responsible of a parish, we always tried to find people for particular jobs whilst having a blind eye for their defects. One who talks a lot might be used to transmit quick and urgent messages in the parish! One who was good in projects undertaking was used to conduct projects in the parish. One who was full of peaceful thoughts was brought in when having arguments etc…

If one wants to meet the new baby Jesus in the coming months, why not make a list of positive aspects about your ‘enemy’!!! If you want to dig deeper, why don’t you go for the second step: how can we use your positive side and his/her positive side to the benefit of the church?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painfully slow

In English we have the expression of taking a short cut. A short cut may help one avoid a lot of traffic, gas and time. Nobody would like to spend so much time in traffic when a shorter route exists! Is there a short cut in life? Before we answer such question, we are aware that there are various aspects of life. We have in mind the much needed reform in the Catholic church. Unfortunately there are no short cuts!

It seems that some of our readers would like to wake up one fine morning and find the necessary changes in the Catholic church! The mentality of the short cut is embedded in those who wish to change things in the church. Well it never happened that way. That’s not the natural way. If one just takes a look at creation especially the growing up of a forest, it takes a lot of years. We do understand that a fallen tree is much faster and it makes more noise than a whole forest growing up!

The longer route is: who is going to take care of so many parishes without a resident priest? Whether we’ll have married priests or not, we still have to face this growing challenge! If married priests join officially the clergy, it still might not be enough (not all married priests will accept the call by the way!), to provide the necessary basic services in a parish.

What we really need is for the so called ‘lay’ people to take an active role in the parish. Obviously to train people, again, it’s not an overnight job. It needs a lot of training. Who is going to take the role?

The problem is that we are comfortably enough to hide behind a computer screen but not daring enough to make the first step towards the actualisation of our dreams!

Maybe the first excuse that comes up is that we don’t feel that we are the right person to do the job. If we truly read the bible, there were many people who complained to the Lord to go and pick up another person. Finally they had to give up! They accepted the Lord’s invitation with humility. Your sins, lack of faith, lack of skills etc…will be compensated by the Lord!

Besides the acceptance, one has to pull up his socks and starts the hard work ie to prepare ourselves professionally so that we can take care of a parish. On the internet there are many courses nowadays which can be followed in the comfort of one’s home! One can find a solution to juggle around other duties to leave space for such a course.

During the course, one meets several people. Don’t be taken aback if you meet some so called old fashioned friends. That will be the testing ground. One needs to train oneself in dialogue. These will be repeated in other occasions such as when one is responsible for a parish. There is no perfect community in the world! One has to work with the people that come to the parish, whether they are old fashioned, greedy, alienated, rebellious or whatever. I do remember the first time I was introduced to a parish where old aged people where the absolute majority. As a young priest, at first I didn’t want to stay there. But then, the old people brought other people for some special occasions and there I met other kind of people. So one needs some time to understand God’s call.

The same can be said of our call as married priests. I never thought that I would practice priesthood again. But the call from the people and the internal reflection made me realise that one cannot discard God’s call. Of course it’s very easy for a married priest to stay in the comfort of his family (without judging anybody though), yet God’s call is there for all.

Will you take up the challenge?

We met in 2001. I worked in a hospital, but Vladislav came to a Christmas event for the patients as a priest.

We have been in a relationship for 16 years and have 2 children. It was very clear to Vladislav, that at the beginning of the relationship, I was looking for a family and not just some amusement. I hold family values very high. I have always thought of him as my husband and he has been calling me his wife.

Fifteen years ago, when we were expecting our first child, incredibly his provincial [The head of a religious order] advised him to leave the family, because “She’ll find someone else”. Vladislav was moved to another country!

When we were expecting our second child he wanted to convert to Eastern Rite Catholics, but his brother, a Roman Catholic bishop didn’t allow that. His brother also told me that Vladislav would be happier without me!!!

The elder child, our son, was very attached to his dad. When Vladislav left us, the son started having health problems.

During these years I have been forced to leave my friends, my job in the school and the university, just to be able to pay the bills. I worked illegally – without holidays for years, because Vladislav’s financial contribution was unpredictable.

In the period when we didn’t meet each other, Vladislav fell to the final stage of alcoholism.

When I met Vladislav – he was like a slum, not a living person. He couldn’t move or sleep normally, he talked like an insane person.

Immediately I led him to a detoxification, to narcologists. Vladislav started having epilectic seizures. At the moment, any amount of alcohol can go fatal to him, causing a psychosis, which would turn him into a “vegetable”.

Because of the risk of having an epilepsy attack, he must not stay alone – not even a minute. Vladislav also had severe memory impairment. He had been living at home. Our children and I helped him return to life, regain his memory and intellectual abilities.

I persuaded him to go through the Minnesota program for addicts. According to the doctors, a situation of Vladislav remaining in the ministry would leave a very bad impression to the children.

Unfortunately, when he lived at home, in family, he received messages from his brother (bishop): “Your only choice is to run away secretly. You must remain sacred even against your own will !!!!!”.

His sister persuaded him to leave by inventing lies. He said to our little daughter: “I’ll be back in 3 days, and we will go to a pizzeria.” It’s been two years since that day but he is yet to come back!

I wrote to the Order and turned to an international organization for help.

The General Father of the Order didn’t allow him to leave the ministry. He said that my request was ‘not well grounded.’

I was presented with a contract in which the father could meet with the children 4 times a year – according to them!! Is that how to bring up children?!!! In this contract I was named ‘a nuisance’.

I believe that the way the RCC behaves towards me, the children and Vladislav, is a crime.

Please be careful with your comments as this is a very sensitive case of a The Roman Catholic Church abusing a woman. Let’s show our practical belief by helping and not judging a person who had the courage to write her story on our blog. Let’s keep her in our prayers.