Tag Archive: priest cannot sleep at night

I don’t have in mind to become a doctor or else to give medical advice on what to do or how to prevent the coronavirus! Yet as a married priest I can’t help it, in writing about some parallel lines with our basic idea of married priesthood.

Fear. If languages divide us, yet one common language was seen throughout the whole world these last weeks: FEAR. When people are afraid, one is surprised what they might do. The case of the corona beer which clearly has nothing to do with the sickness has been victimised…just because it has the corona name, many people are not buying it any more!!! It’s incredible, yet when fear takes over, common sense goes out!

What did we do as a Catholic Church for so many years? The fear of death and hell has made many people submissive to our teachings. I do know of cases where at the point of death, some people have left all their possessions to the church in the belief that they would have won heaven!! Alas, their children might have gone hungry or became poor in the meantime!

In this context, now I do see why so many people are afraid to share their stories of love with a priest. Fear takes over. Even though we promise to change any details in order to protect their identity. How can we liberate these people from the slavery of fear?

Now I do understand what a friend of mine used to say: fire does not kill many people. Panic does! In fact many people in a fire die because of panic and not of fire in itself! Who hasn’t seen the crowds in the supermarkets where some people came to blows in order to buy basic items? Some psychologists called it the fear of the unknown.

Some people panic when the priest declares himself to be married. They want to stay but their panic takes control and they go to a ‘normal church’ to get married or to get baptised. There isn’t an adult faith. It’s just convenience! They are not born fighters! A married catholic priest is an unknown entity in their religious background! It’s fear of the unknown!

Look how people invaded some supermarkets and bought more than enough portions of basic needs! Some people rightly say that the longest journey in the world is not a geographical destination but rather the I to become WE! The supermarkets gave enough proof that we need to work more on community feeling and understanding. It’s one of the main missing type of work in many parishes! We still find it too difficult to leave behind the factory of sacraments to start community building as a main issue in parish work.

One of the expressions which is has become fashionable is the internet of things. Well, in some countries they have been locked in. It goes without saying that many people have to revert to the internet to spend their time and/or to communicate and/or to buy some necessities. We are experiencing a social experiment where we are practically living just with our family members. All other people are ‘virtual’.

Well, many parishes and priests have been caught on the wrong foot. How many of them can use the internet in order to proclaim the Good News? Although many of them have social media accounts, yet they have never used the internet as a medium for their work! They still relied on churches to meet people. Yet, people, especially the young ones, are practically 24/7 on the internet. Shall the coronavirus scare teach them a lesson to start using the internet more? Can we use it for the married priesthood? This was one of our thoughts at the beginning and it still is. We weren’t allowed space in a ‘normal parish’. We didn’t find it a problem because we already knew that the internet would have gained more popularity. Consequently we would meet more young people online rather than in a ‘normal church’!! One has to note that the internet is not to be used simply as a space for mass or for other lecture type of work!!

Within the virtual world, how can we enhance the sense of community? This is going to be our next challenge. People meet online, easily. Yet it doesn’t turn them into a community. One of them is the exchange of views or ideas. We do need to respect others especially when we do not agree. We can’t call others names! We cannot judge others. We have to see the frail, human face behind the monitor or the written message.

The work of community building is a never ending job. It’s not always full of roses, although even roses have thorns! We need to have more people who believe that as a community we can achieve more and better. One, on his own, cannot achieve much.

How can a woman help a priest?

After a series of writing which point out the difficulties of a relationship between a priest and a woman, now it’s the turn to focus on the positive effects on the life of a priest and his work in the parish.

Having a relationship. Priests are used to being transferred/and/or facing a large crowd. A priest can hide his true feelings or else can put on a mask and play a particular role. He is an actor after all. In most cases they can easily hide their true feelings. Their protective cover is that they preach during a mass (liturgy) where most people are silent listeners (contrary to today’s radio/television/internet programs where people react immediately to what they listen!!). In counselling he is still obliged to follow the role of a priest where he has to solve problems or at least to give intelligent answers.

In a one to one relationships, the priest can be on his own with no obligation to follow the rules nor play the intelligent or holy one. He can speak about his personal life. A woman can be a very good listener. Besides, she can point various hidden aspects in the life of the priest.

Receiving compliments. A relationship is not only giving but receiving too. Most priests are NOT good at receiving compliments because they are not used to it, besides other factors. One has to remember that like all public figures, the priest can be critically wounded by criticism. A woman can be the missing catalyst in the priest’s life. She enriches the priest life by giving the necessary positive criticism plus affection. A hug from such a significant person can work wonders. Consequently the fact that there is at least one person who cares in the congregation, makes the priest work harder.

Understanding people. We always believed that four eyes are better than two. The priest meets many people and has to deal with many situations. The fact that he is single handed, it means a big disadvantage. Directing a whole parish means hundreds of people (if not thousands!). The woman helps him to understand better some of the situations that he encounters. She can make him aware of many things going on in the situations surrounding his life.

Becoming more sensitive. Not all priests are sensitive to people (!!) especially to children. Women traditionally have been nearer to children. They nurture a natural sensitivity towards children. The priest is trained differently. Hence the presence of a woman helps him understand children, teenagers and young adults. In many cases, woman have experienced the challenge of taking care of a family, in some cases all alone. So they are well prepared for hard jobs. They know the difficulty of pulling ahead with little or no money at all. They know how to unite the family when there is no common point!

Physical appearance. A woman takes care about the look of her priest too. Most priests (although not all), are not concerned with their look. She can open up his wardrobe and add the necessary clothes in order to make the priest look more respected and approachable. Most priests are not that keen on wearing ‘good’ clothes.

A woman can take a close look at what the priest is eating, exercising, resting etc…..she looks at the big picture and feel if the priest is healthy, happy or undergoing the latest identity crisis!

Black and white plus grey. Some priests view people from a very rigid point of view: that of obeying or not obeying the Lord’s rules. Hence they would see very few bridges to connect with people. A woman can help rejuvenate the priest’s view by adding a totally different criteria. Most women will stand by their own children even when caught red-handed. Most priests would need a new and radical way to approach others. A woman can be so instrumental in this sense.

Learning to face adversity. They experience as well the daily challenges of living under the same roof although having totally different opinions. They know how to sow seeds of quick and diplomatic words which might stop a fight from becoming a full fledged war! She can provide a well thought feedback together with the necessary training for facing similar situations in the larger family (ie parish).

Living true Love. The greatest asset is her focused love on the priest. Love is God. No theological book can explain the beauty of the God unless one falls in love. It is the most practical guide to get to know and experience God Himself! In this sense, a woman who falls in love with a priest is God’s greatest blessing as it brings the priest a new horizon and spirituality in his life.

Our wish, for those who are already in a relationship with a priest, is to love your priest in the way you know best in the present circumstances. Make him experience a new birth of Christ! This might include as well loving him from a distance or not having him at all. But once he feels your radiation of love, even from kilometres away, it changes his life completely to one where he can feel God thoroughly. A happy Christmas to all our readers with these kind of thoughts in our mind.

Please we did not write all the reasons how a woman can enrich a priest’s life. It’s up to our beloved readers to continue writing about this theme for the Christmas season!