Tag Archive: priest has a big bulge


Today we wish to welcome the priests who in great secrecy read our blog. We wish to welcome them in a special way. Looking back, our writing may give the impression that it was too harsh on priests.

So we feel the need to clear the air today. We are not judging anybody, neither the priest nor the woman when they fall in love. On the other hand we cannot accept the fact that some priests do play with a woman’s heart, at times they want simply to have the best of both worlds!

We are the first to acknowledge that it’s not easy from the priest’s part to leave everything and marry the woman. What we are looking for (and most of the women readers too), is sincerity and total transparency. Like in all relationships, there is no clear formula to follow but at least if there is total openness, and real communication, at least the women can understand the priest. The most hated action is that of hot and cold response. They can’t satisfy their conscience simply with the thought that no sex has taken place. Any human being has feelings. Now sharing some information which is considered to be confidential will bring the two persons on a deep level (sex or no sex). That kind of intimacy cannot be deleted too quickly. They cannot simply discard the person after such experience.

We are not pushing anybody into any decision. We had counselled priests who have left and priests who have stayed. We are NOT the ones who take decisions. The priest has to take that decision. No rush, no pressure. Yet one cannot leave a person hanging on for too long. A decision either way has to be taken.

In a normal world, one cannot simply disappear into thin air! A priest has to prove his worth not with beautiful words but in real life. We do know that coming close to a woman is an uncharted sea. We know of all the brainwashing the priest has undergone in the early stages of formation. We have experience with priests’ loneliness. The crave to go back home to a loving person where one can show love in a physical way.

Priests should know that the biggest change in the world, recently, was the celebration of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) where instead of the traditional method where people have to put on a straight jacket, one needs to find the principles and God’s call in one’s unique life (which in most cases is not according to tradition).

Perhaps the biggest challenge for priests is that they are used to black and white colours (either good or bad). Well, we are trying to intoduce the grey colour! Priests were taught about morality (which is not simply classifying actions as bad or good). They should have the courage to practice what they’ve been taught.

All in all, we are looking for a dialogue. Let’s keep this discussion going. Let’s not judge or be too defensive. We should come together and discuss seriously in a prayerful way. Many readers have continuously written that we need the voice of more men in order to make our dialogue complete. We cannot see things just from the outside. We need the same men to let us in and see what we cannot see up to now.

The future of the church is at stake. Vocations have dwindled. Letting some married men to become priests will bring that number up although we don’t expect too many. Yet each new vocation counts in the world of today where many are bombarded by social media. Yet the biggest change will not be in numbers but in thought. Married priesthood will be the needed change in the church in order to face the world of today. They will start reflecting on all the teaching of the church from a different point of view. They will have a family to cater for. They will have growing up teens with all the challenges. The priest won’t live in a comfort zone. He has to face all the challenges like all normal people. That is what we’re looking for. On the other hand, how can we speak of spirituality, church etc… if there is no choice for priests? Celibacy should not be tied to priesthood but a free and mature choice after a certain age. Not giving choice to priests will give an ugly face to the church.

Dear priests, we’re waiting for your honest opinion…..don’t be afraid! We’ll protect your name, place etc… No one will know who you really are.

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Maltese Identity

Due to a shortage in romantic stories, we are presenting a study about religious behaviour in one single country. Malta (Europe) used to be a bastion for other Catholic Countries. Yet the tide of secularisation has arrived swiftly. Old people can surely feel the great changes which have taken place, the one most noticeable is the attending of the Sunday Mass.

Married priesthood can be an asset in the sense that having teenagers growing up in one’s family, one notices a great difference the way they interact with God, prayer, morality etc……it’s no easy task to talk to your own teenagers!!!! Yet the daddy priest would be in a better place to understand what’s going on with today’s young generation. We insist that the married priest would present a different agenda on how to work with people in the parish. Surely most young people feel alienated from the parish. There is rarely an activity going on the parish which is done in order to attract the young ones.

Before we present the sociological results, we wish to make clear some points which otherwise would not be understood. The study was done during Lent. In Malta Lent has some cultural importance as it is reflected in ways people live their spirituality. One of the most visible signs is the popular Good Friday procession in the street where it’s part and parcel of the local culture. One priest says more people come to church during this day, then Good Friday! Such is the strong pull of Our Lady on the Maltese population.

A quick look at the capital city one notices the tall and strong walls surrounding it. The idea was to keep other people from entering the city. In some sense, it still conveys the same idea. In fact nobody gave the news that the Pope might call married men for priesthood! In Malta shockingly we still keep some news out from circulation. On the same lines, nobody tells the people that once a priest, always a priest. They are still brainwashed that a priest who decides to change job/vocation is considered as ‘ex’ or in other words considered not to be a priest any longer.

Another European issue is getting much attention, that is the issue of legal and illegal migrants, terrorism and the blackmailing of Muslims, all have contributed to the people to return to the church. In other words it’s like in a war: more people would return to church just because they are afraid!

Notwithstanding all this, a very high percentage is in favour of married priests. Though we are just under the 50%, yet those against are mostly over 50s. Consequently the tide in favour of married priests in this conservative Catholic country is gaining momentum too!

https://is.gd/8MGRWW

On a more global vision, an article is mentioning what our present Pope is facing in the church itself. We think it’s worthwhile reading.

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/interim-results-pope-francis-revitalizes-vatican-ii-reforms

If there is something which is common to all people, then that would be relationships. Nobody was born in a vacuum. In many cases one was born by the act of love of two people. At least one adult took care of her/him. He/she learned the basics of a relationship.

A relationship starts when we meet people. We get to know the name; where one lives; where one works etc…..The more sharing of information takes place, the more it makes one’s relationship deeper.

Why are thinking about relationships in this Easter week? First of all, it was the most tragic week for the apostles. They saw Jesus doing incredible miracles (like waking up the dead, walking on water, giving sight to blind people…). Yet all of a sudden they witnessed His death. Their relationship with Jesus seemed to stop forever. They lost all hope of changing the fate of the Jewish people. The Romans were still there. What has changed then?

The unmarried priest is nowadays sent from one parish to another. He has barely time to come to grips with the situation, when suddenly he is moved to another parish. His timetable is surely packed 200%. He sees people just to administer sacraments, give his ‘expert’ opinion about the spiritual life….and that’s it. At the end of the day he is all alone. Who knows about his internal struggles and loneliness? Can he be the shepherd and show fragility? Will the parish community see him as a holy priest albeit with personal difficulties and sins?

We repeat, it’s not the urge to have sex which drives a priest beyond of what is expected of him. It is rather this emptiness to belong to someone. The feeling of being a parcel at the post office which is being sent from one place to another with no emotional attachment! Belonging is something which makes part of the human being. One may call it a basic human need.

We have heard countless priests telling their own stories. These priests are saints. They are fighting a huge battle which most people do not understand. We simply pay attention when ‘sex’ comes in the story. Most journalists are not interested in what happened before or after!

How can a priest, who is not in relationship, speak to us about a relationship with a hidden and unseen God? We can understand the difficulty of the apostles who have been sitting next to Jesus and who all of a sudden was gone. But what about people who have never seen God? How can we nurture a true and deep relationship with our God?

We can’t live without one single, significant relationship. Now this is the achilles heel in the priest’s life. He does not belong to anybody in the parish. He can easily bury the problem by adding more work. Some might indulge in heavy drinking or smoking. Others might go travelling around the world in the most exotic resorts! Some of them invite women to their bed. The latter are the ones who make news items really interesting!!!

It’s a vicious circle because actually they are looking for a full time relationship. Yet in their early years in the seminary (the place where young candidates for priesthood are educated), they were lectured (or bombarded) by the message that any relationship is wrong! In some places, priests remember the advice in order not to talk to a woman alone! The only exception is during confession!!!!

Partially it explains the hot and cold attitude of the priest when getting a deep relationship. It’s something that he has no experience of yet he feels helpless. Most probably he wants to run away until the feeling of not belonging comes in again and he starts all over again.

The eternal truth is that one can’t be in a true, lasting relationship if it’s not a deep one! So it explains a lot about the odd behaviour of the priest!! He wants one thing without the other…which is humanely impossible.

When we speak in favour of married priesthood, we are changing all this. Now priests too are people who aren’t in favour of change especially when it touches their deeper self being! They need their time to understand what’s involved and why.

We should present our married priesthood not simply as a solution to avoid sex scandals! But it’s an answer to a deep yearning for inner peace. Any human being needs to be loved, taken care of, and to feel secure with one person who knows him/her inside out.

In the present life, both in the parish and outside (the rest of the population), love and sex have been taken out from a relationship. In that case the relationship dies a natural death. It’s no wonder that some women complain that they are being used as an object! Sex would be simply the meeting of two ‘foreign’ bodies! Love would be translated as simply touching the outside layer of the person (the body).

One of the advantages of married priesthood would be that they would be in a better shape to guide, coach and train other people in how to nourish properly a relationship! Let’s hope that the Risen Christ would guide us to have better relationships by having the example of the married priest!

We agree to disagree

In publishing a blog, one meets many new people. Some are very sociable and some are not. Some have very clear ideas, others tend to stay on a dividing line never committing themselves to any idea or philosophy. In any case, although sometimes we blame social media for keeping people at home for too long, yet one does meet a lot of people. Meeting other people there is the chance of forming up a community especially when we share our main goal.

We are very happy that we have formed a very large ‘online’ community. We stick to the definition ‘community’ because we are growing up together in a spiritual way. Growing up could create problems though, as terminology, because indirectly it might imply that others are still infants or very young. In one sense, community explains our spiritual welfare but in other cases we prefer the term ‘journey’.

When one travels to another part of the country or a different country, one meets new customs, people, way of life etc….it doesn’t mean that others who are not travelling at the moment are less or more. Maybe they have travelled earlier, or they have travelled to another country. The main meaning is that we are discovering. We are in no position to feel better or worse than others. In fact reading some of the experiences of some readers have helped us to understand what was practically hidden for many years or better centuries!

Once a famous author (of which I have forgotten the name!), has said that relatives are the most people who might hurt us!!! Why? Because when we are close to a person, we get to know that person in a deep way. Now a person is very complex. There are various levels of growth and emotions. Obviously one day or another we are going to disagree. Shall we stop the relationship? Shall we try to convert him/her to our ideas? Shall we tell the person to shut up? Shall we go away? Shall we label her/him? Shall we accept him/her as he/she is?

These are all possible scenarios that we could find ourselves in. We do remember another famous author who once said that before one goes into discussion, one tries to remember that when we start a discussion we try to look for new ideas or for a different aspect which we have not taken into consideration. The main point is that what is so dear for us, for another person might be meaningless!!! We do not hold all the truth in our hands! We do realise that this is a very high goal to achieve because many discussions online turn into anything except the true meaning of the word discussion!

We know that some people online, maybe because their face is hidden, turn into bullies! They try to silence any opposition with their choice of words! Others feel that other people are given them a bad name or judging them. Others feel offended as soon as other people might disagree with their opinion. Some of our readers might feel offended why we did let other people express themselves in such a way. Yes we do acknowledge that some people need to change their choice of words or better, be more diplomatic when they are expressing themselves, but if we start to edit people’s opinion we would be on a dangerous mission because then who is going to decide what to publish and what not to publish? And on what grounds?

Others are really creative when they build up a whole story on a single comment….practically they give us the impression that there is a whole army against them! Unfortunately they don’t realise that it’s their mind who is playing games. Somebody wrote a comment…let’s stop there. Let’s not build a series of comments just on what he/she might imply with his/her comments!!!!

Some people give the impression that everybody has to agree with their ideas! Others think that whatever Mr X or Ms Y writes, is referring to them!! Some people in the USA live with a different mentality: sue people for things shared online. Well in Europe things are different. We do not sue people because we believe in the freedom of expression. To sue people is the same as killing all kind of discussion. In that case it’s better not to participate in any kind of discussion. Stay at home and build a fairy tale castle where everything takes place according to your own wishes!

All this points to an important point: we need to learn what a public forum or discussion on the internet means.

Educating adult people does not mean to teach them by heart some principles (as we used to think!). It’s a journey where they experience life and they form up their own principles. We cannot impose our values and principles. We try to give witness to what we believe. Jesus was the perfect teacher, yet not everybody listened to His message. So we can’t expect a better answer from our listeners!

On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that those who do not abide by our own way of thinking are bad or worse than us!!! The Vatican Council II has written a wonderful document dealing with the church in the world today. We should be in a dialogue with the ‘world’ (=people who believe differently). Condemning is not our option. Actually that is God’s work because He knows everything and sees everything.

One last note: all comments are vetted by me. This is because there is a lot of marketing going on. If we let readers to write directly on the blog, there would hundreds of them promoting any kind of product. So if your comment takes some time to appear it’s because I’m doing something else at the moment (I have to earn my living too because this blog is voluntary and it doesn’t pay my bills).

May God bless you all and thanks for forming up one single community notwithstanding that we might not agree on certain terms/ideas etc…

The new parish working plan

In soccer, there is an occasion when a player instead of scoring against his opponents, scores against his own team!!! It is called an own goal! Something similar I noticed on our own blog lately. Instead of being happy that somebody takes the initiative, like small children we start stomping our feet until our demands are met!

This is not something simple. After centuries of priest domination in the church, some lay people won’t accept anybody except another priest. The priest has practically given the idea that the church is priest centered. This is because many people have stopped reading the bible. They have never attended any theological discussion or had any theological formation. When the people are not informed they can be easily manipulated! One can easily google the net to find out if the priest dominated model is the truly biblical main point or not! One can debate what is the position of the priest vis-a-vis the parish (local church).

In the first years of the church, we had many communities without priests! In the Latin American continent today, there are so many vibrant communities which are lead by lay people! They have in fact given out a new model for all the world to follow: the base level communities! Please do google this information!

On the other hand, in the so called Western World, we are heading into priestless parishes! Just one impertinent question: how many brave parents transmit their faith to their children? Can we dismiss it just because they are not ‘ordained priests’? How many people take care of the community in which they are living?

We are not alienated. We don’t have one medicine to solve all the church’s woes! The fact that we have been urging the church to let priests marry does not solve all problems! We are still going to face priestless parishes!!!

Our main goal to let priest marry, is, because of such development the whole church stands to benefit, especially when writing the social teaching of the church.

Some people were not happy that a woman had offered her services to our blog. Are we going to protest because there is a woman who is preaching this week in the parish? Are we going to protest because there is a married man who is administering our parish? If yes, then the Holy Spirit has in store a lot of surprises for our spiritual development!!!

In any case, the future is really interesting. We cannot be like old, grumpy people who compare the present with their idyllic past which has long been buried!! We need to face the new spiritual growth which like Abraham, calls us to leave our own methods, our own comfort zones and seek new pastures! Statistics (if not our own spiritual renewal), will tell us that the number of priests is going lower and lower. Now what? What do our readers suggest? For sure we can’t multiply the number of priests (even though we allow some married people to become priests).

Please do write your opinion as this makes our blog more alive and kicking. Hopefully it will lead to our spiritual growth!

An author has announced the year 2019 as the year where married priests will be introduced in the Catholic Church. See the link.

Well, we never get tied to a particular date for various reasons. But on the other hand married priests are already here..look at those coming from the Anglican side. They are accepted with their wives. On the other hand, priesthood is forever. Hence some of the priests who have left officially are still working as priests albeit in different conditions. So strictly speaking, married priests are already here! But if the Pope says it, one knows that it’s so important. Consequently it means that married people (not connected with the Anglican side) will be considered for priesthood. No word was given about those who have left officially or about those priests who wish to marry now!

We are so happy because the number of priests has dwindled immensely. The alternative is to close the parishes and leave Catholics without instruction in faith plus without the sacraments!

On a different level, hopefully it will bring about a new kind of church. The married person is not like the one who is closed in a cloister. He is still living in today’s world. Hence he has first hand information about what really happens outside the building of the church. One advantage would be, that in his work most probably there are people without a religion, of a different faith, or who have left the church a long time ago. He is already in a good condition to listen and to take part in an interesting dialogue! He has his own teens who question everything and don’t obey on purpose…..

Our Louise is presenting a golden opportunity. She is a person who would like to do something in daily life to change things. How I wish that more readers become active in order to break the silence and we all start to present a different view of the church.

She has started a one to one Skype sessions for the women and also for the priests who wish to have support and verbalize what they are going through, live with her. By experience she knows how liberating it is to be able to talk with a real person, and so she thought to offer her time to anyone who wishes to share their experience in a safe and confidential environment, where they won’t be judged and where they will be understood with empathy and compassion. They can contact her via her email, then from there she will give them her personal information on how to reach her on Skype. My email is louise@forbidden-to-love.com
In case they prefer to speak to a priest, I’m available too. They simply need to write a comment and ask so that it won’t be published.

May God Bless you all! I’ll keep all of you in my daily prayers.

Women haters

2018…new year and new expectations. Many people are already asking: is this the year in which Pope Francis will allow married priests?

We are used to times, dates and schedules. Well the Holy Spirit does not work in a time frame! Surprisingly He knows when it’s the best time to help the church grow in certain aspects. We are all in a journey. We grow through experiences, thoughts, questions, encounters, prayer, reflection etc…

We can’t promise anybody that this year we’re going to have married priests officially. But it doesn’t mean that if not, the process would have been stopped! In a flick of a second, what is considered impossible may become possible! Let’s remember that very hard experience of Moses. Who would face the pharoah (like a powerful king), to tell him to liberate the slaves? Facing the pharoah could have meant death…let alone proposing such an out of the box question!! It took him a long time to let the people of God out of Egypt, yet at one moment he seemed to have said yes…only to change his mind again after a few days!

Moses did face a lot of challenges in driving the people of God out of Egypt. They faced enormous tasks including that of feeding a large crowd in the desert. Yet in the end, after a very tough journey and a long time, they did reach destination.

That’s our hope today. One day or another, the Catholic Church cannot survive without priests. It cannot deny reality anymore if it wants to survive! Married priests will bring about a new reflection on the teaching of the church. They will be the necessary tool in order to bring about some necessary and urgent changes in the church.

On other hand, some of our readers, who are so impatient to see the changes in the church in a very short time, do not know the background of the Catholic Church. Believe it or not we are progressing. Let’s have a look to see at what stage we were just a few years ago. I’m sure some of you will feel very bad at reading some of the texts. As we’ve been writing for quite some time, the women haters in the church have been at the top position for too many years. We need to remove the old mentality first, before we see the benefit of a woman who accompanies her priest to make him more holy!

These are some of the texts below which show the dominant position of women haters who interpreted everything according to their own philosophical-theological understanding!

“Women were created essentially to satisfy the lust of men .” “I do not allow women to teach, nor to take authority in front of their husbands, but to be silent.” (Saint John Chrysostom)

” Women should not be illustrated or educated in any way, in fact, they should be segregated, as they are causes of insidious and involuntary erections (!) In male saints.” “The woman is an inferior being and is not created in the image and likeness of God.” It corresponds, then, to justice, as well as to the natural order of humanity, for women to serve men, just order only occurs when the man commands and the woman obeys “(Saint Augustine)

“If the woman does not submit to the man, who is her head, she becomes guilty of the same sin as a man who does not submit to Christ.” ” Nothing more impure than a woman in the period . impure “(San Jerónimo)

“The woman is inferior to the man in virtue and in dignity” . “In everything that refers to the individual is defective and badly born, because the active power of the male seed tends to produce a perfect resemblance in the male sex, while the production of a woman comes from a lack of active power ” (Saint Thomas of Aquino)

As usual we welcome readers to continue growing in their faith by sharing their thoughts.

My Testimony

My name is Louise Ouellet and I am from Canada. I would like to tell you a little bit about my story and what I am trying to do about mandatory celibacy. It was during the fall of 1995 along with my twin children of three years old and my husband whose life has been shortened by the HIV virus, I was walking toward my new church in this huge metropolis where we started a new life.

As I entered this magnificent building with breathtaking frescoed architecture, I never would have thought that a man wearing the Roman collar, someone who is married to the Church, was going to upset my little imperfect but quiet world. As I was watching him walking back and forth to get things ready for mass, I got hit with a huge wave of what instantly submerged to my very soul into a pool of pure overwhelming love.

He walked at a brisk pace in the large corridor that ran along the rows of carved wooden benches. As he approached the row where I sat, our eyes met – it was love at first sight. I felt as if I had always known him, but at that point, I did not even know his name. The only details I had were his exceptional height, blue eyes and a smile that lit up his whole beautiful face.

Despite this new indescribable feeling that came over me, I felt much guilt as I thought about my husband. The service ended, and I returned home with my family, determined to forget this incident and dismiss this new feeling.

From one Sunday to the next this uncontrollable love got the better of my reason. I wanted to know more about this man that stirred my soul and my heart. So, I decided to let events flow to open the door to friendship. I wanted to discover, without it being obvious, whether what I felt was mutual.

During this time, my husband’s health deteriorated quickly, and I felt overwhelmed. Since he did not take the drugs needed to stabilize the disease, we found ourselves faced with evidence that he had only months to live – now he had contracted full-blown AIDS.

I asked the support of the man of my heart, in his position as a priest, to accompany us on this painful journey. He nodded reassuringly and gave us all the support we needed during the illness, death, and funeral of my husband.

Now a widow, the relationship became increasingly close between us. Not two days would go by before we would call or meet each other. As insignificant as it could be, any excuse was good enough to see each other. The desire to kiss and to say how much we were in love was evident but neither of us dared to confess it.

Months had passed without anything physical happening between us, I felt his prudence and especially his fear despite his desire. One day, after having hinted that he contemplated marriage, I began to see my dream coming true. He seemed ready to take the step. There was now no barrier between us – my happiness was at its peak.

One day, his superiors realized that something was wrong. They saw that the morale of my beloved priest had been low in the recent months. He had confided to his spiritual director, revealing that he suffered from loneliness. With the help of a pretentious friend of ours, they quickly found the culprit for an inconvenient truth, for them, and could see that we were in love. They decided to separate us by imposing on him severe restrictions, of which I had no right to know the details. As for me, I was pushed aside without explanation nor support. I could quickly see that no one cared about the excruciating pain I felt.

The only thing I knew is that he was forbidden to talk to me or to my children and he was obligated to give them all my personal letters and emails, after which they would read; violating my privacy. One of them took me to his office and tried to intimidate me and mocked me about my letters. I felt so humiliated.

To keep me away from the man I loved, they began to destroy my reputation, to intimidate me and to spread rumors of ‘scandal’ among some parishioners, who were quick to judge and harass me. Meanwhile, my priest wept as much as I did, which added to my pain. I tried to fix things, but the more I tried, the worse the situation became embittered.

After twelve years of harassment and suffering, my health deteriorated due to stress and traumas that I was enduring for so long. I couldn’t beat the depression, so I decided to move far away, leaving behind the man of my life for whom I could do nothing. We never had the chance to kiss or to hold hands. We never made love.

After much therapy, I managed to go through mourning. I could forgive his superiors and some parishioners and make peace with the situation. It’s been 19 years since he was forced into silence, but the love is still in our hearts and the hope is still alive for the Church to exchange mandatory celibacy for the freedom of choice-optional celibacy. Even if this change was to come too late for my beloved priest and myself, at least it will be for the benefit of future generations.

Even if I terribly miss my beloved, I am presently in a good place in my life. I have learned with time to love myself enough to let go and appreciate life as it is. The love that I feel has grown to be an unconditional love; I believe that God, the Great I Am, is love… therefore, there is no barriers, no laws, no distance and time to stop us from loving each other. The day that I was awakened and embraced this fact, I was free from the pain. Now, I take time for myself and I share the wisdom that I salvaged from this traumatic experience in a comforting form of support for others.

One of my ways to give my support was by writing a book to share my story and bring awareness about the consequences of mandatory celibacy. It was released this summer and it is called Forbidden to Love-Pure Hearts Crushed Under the Law of Celibacy.

Also, 3 years ago, I created a website (http://forbidden-to-love.com) to give my support to the others who are going through the same thing as I did. There is so many of us, women, children and priests with heart-wrenching stories… My heart is broken for every single story that I read. It gives me the courage to keep on trying to make a difference even if sometimes it is only a word of encouragement.

In this present moment, I launched a petition to request the abolition of mandatory celibacy and to have the right to vote during the Synod. If you wish to sign and share it in your social media and in your community, you can follow this link:
https://www.change.org/p/pope-francis-vatican-help-us-abolish-the-mandatory-celibacy-law-in-the-catholic-church
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Besides, Louise has published all her story in an ebook form. For more details visit her website. Thanks Louise for publishing your story. You have already helped so many people. Let’s talk, let’s write. Let us not put this challenge under the carpet. The Catholic church has suffered a lot because of celibacy. Let’s make it optional. Let us not divide Christ present in the sacrament of matrimony and the sacrament of the Holy Orders! Both of them are sacraments! Both of them nourish the soul.

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.

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!