Tag Archive: priest is a womaniser


The ‘Amazon’ Synod

We are so enthusiastic about the synod being conducted in Rome. We saw several women together with indigenous people from the enchanting and unique area of the amazon. It is another attempt to re-live the second experience of the Second Vatican Council which was celebrated some years ago [1963-1965].

We all know that the Council of around fifty five years ago has been relegated to just a past document. Surprisingly even Popes passed legislations which went against the spirit of the council!! But this is the church after all. One can imagine how difficult it is today when discussing something in the family especially with teenagers! Now it consists of just a few people who all live under the same roof. Now imagine discussing hot issues with millions of people coming from all parts of the world. We saw it on this blog too that when some people do not agree. It’s not a bed of roses!

All in all we are more optimistic today because contrary to the times of the council where the majority of the people were still brainwashed, now the majority had the guts to think differently from the people in authority in the church! The Catholic Church has lost so many people. It cannot afford to let go more people!

The fact that the church is going to let married priests [hopefully] celebrate mass, will bring about the much needed oxygen in the church. Married priests, should start their participation by reflecting on their daily experience. Especially in the amazon area where it will bring a shift in the mind of the church. We shall discuss environment issues as they concern not only the local people but all the people of the world where the amazon is defined as the lungs of the world!

Environment issues should become central teaching of the church. It should investigate the modern ways workers [modern slaves] are treated especially when multinational companies enter into so called poor countries and dominate the lifestyle and the economical well being of so many people!

It’s an open secret that we need married priests in the Western World too. How about the difficulties being faced by young people today? Mental illnesses, relationships, finding the right job or no jobs at all, difficulties of buying a house/flat etc…As already stated in the council, one starts with the normal and daily experience of the people in order to create the necessary trust which might lead to God. A married priest can give a first hand account of such difficulties and hopefully will be reflected in more up-to-date documents issued by the Vatican!

Contrary to the Council of some years ago, the married priests will remain a living testimony to the present synod and there is no danger that it will be put under the carpet in order not to create ‘waves’ in the church!

We are hopeful too that those contrary to married priests, by time will realise the great step forward which will benefit the whole church. Any change in the church should be done not to become a modernised church but to put people nearer to God. Now living amongst the majority of the people, will be a special occasion to show them the way to the Lord!

Churchgoers and the unchurched!

Young people struggle to find their place on earth. They have to get to know themselves really well in order to find what are they going to do with their own lives. Consequently they’ll find the right job and then hopefully, the right partner!

I see something similar in the church. We all know that life has changed drastically. We see things differently for various reasons. What about the church? Well many people have left. Others have stayed. Yet, on what level do they participate? Most of them simply follow the same timetable and principles for ages. Others are contrary to any change. Surveys have shown that most people who are still attending church, are in their majority ‘conservative’ people. It means that they oppose great changes for whatever reason! Some of these people would like to remove Pope Francis just because they think he is taking away the old teaching of the church. Well, they are truly ignorant of the gospel because most of the apostles were married!! See https://www.thedailybeast.com/vatican-may-approve-married-priests-but-conservative-catholics-arent-celebrating

So can one expect great changes? I don’t think so because the most people who are the right agents for change have long left. So who can make changes after all? Sincerely we don’t have an answer!

This is in part the society of today: we wish to make changes yet no one would like to be in the midst of the struggle! When we were young they used to tell us the story of the mice and the big, ferocious cat. The mice had their meeting in order to put a bell around the neck of the cat. After hours of discussion, one old mouse, in a soft voice just asked: Who is going to put the bell around the cat’s neck? Silence fell. It’s useless that we would like changes to take place if we abandon the church!

I know from experience that going for church’s meetings it’s not the most interesting job of the world. Sometimes one has to meet lots of old people (with all due respect to the old ones whom we cherish a lot). Most of them seem to be stuck in the 1900s! We see the usual faces. Very rare to see new ones! Besides, the young ones are not easy to make them attend besides the 1001 appointments that they have to attend to!

To add insult to injury, in the world, in a generic sense, there is a lot of prejudice or ignorance of what the true religion says! So many valid persons who have lots of talents, won’t come to church owing to prejudice, ignorance or outright hate of all that pertains to the religious world! This is one of the most challenging visions of the church. How can we bring back the lost majority? What kind of teaching do we present? What are people looking for?

Again we present the married priest as a one who is living in the world today! He has the right mixture to be an ambassador to many young, adults or non-believers. The fact that they see him struggling with everyday normal timetables, would be a great asset. As Pope Paul the sixth once wrote: the world doesn’t need preachers but rather people who testify with their own lives!

We either grow or die!

Children are easily noticed when they get taller. All of us do notice the rate of growth of the young ones. We, as adults, we are growing up very day! It seems so obvious that most of us don’t notice at all! What’s natural and happening everyday seems to get sandwiched between our 1001 jobs we have to do daily.

How do we grow up? Obviously not getting taller! But we are making experiences and reflections in our daily journey. As spiritual beings we tend to look beyond the experience. We are humans who ask many questions.

It has become obvious that as a spiritual community all of us have different ideas, characters, upbringing etc…But lately the going is getting a little bit more challenging. There are some who are not open to change [like in many other sections of the population]. Others who would like to take a commanding role [either you do as I’m telling you or I’m quitting]. Some others go on a rampage by labelling others [including myself]. A few have chosen their role: to be judges!

Can we move forward in this way? Well, in the moments when I feel it’s getting dark, I would grasp the bible in my hands and look for inspiration. Yes, Jesus Christ could have started and set everything ready made in His church. Yet He didn’t do it! He wished to have 12 frail men to command it. Where they the best people on earth at that time? Definitely not. It’s not me who is leading his church. It’s the Holy Spirit who is continually cleaning and sanctifying His church. Do we truly believe this?

This is the biggest change in teaching. We are bombarded by negative news. It’s so easy to fall in the prey of today’s so called journalists. It seems that there is negativity all around! How can I believe in the ‘nuclear’ news of the gospel? From this aspect, we are seeing what we DO NOT AGREE IN. In this way we are undermining our community. We have to believe that as a community we are obliged to take care of each other.

This is like friends. When we are young we tend to think that our best friends seem to be our photocopies. As we grow older, we notice many areas were we disagree completely! We are best friends not because we agree on all subjects, but rather for other reasons! The same goes for our community. We are trying to give a message to the world: married priesthood will be a blessing to our wider Catholic community. Now if we remain separated or everybody in the comfort of his house but disregarding the calls of his brothers/sisters, then we fall down. All of us. The entire community.

I did my doctoral thesis on the role of the community. I lived in a community 24/7. For some time, I lived in an international community of nearly 200 people. I know what it takes to live in a community. I know all the pros and cons. I do distinguish though, the online community from other communities. In fact some people play the bully role simply for the fact that they are behind a screen and they think nobody can get their true identity!

I never told anybody to leave. I hope I will never do that. But some people seem to abandon the community because the community is growing. Growing means taking a different path in our journey. Now I know that most human beings are so diffident with change. Yet, looking out of the window and seeing the wind blowing, I realise that it’s not the most ‘strong’ tree that will resist the wind but the most flexible one. The flexible ones seem to be so frail as they are going in all directions when the wind blows heavily. Surprisingly those who seem to be so strong are the most likely ones to be uprooted! Technically because they try to stop the wind, which of course is unstoppable, like change!

One final note: I have been there many times when there was discord amongst a community. I do feel that God is telling us to move forward, with or without these members. It’s up to them to either get on the bus again or risk of being left behind!

Hello! My name is Laura. I want to share with you my relationship with my priest.

I’m a separated woman. I had to leave my husband of 5 years. He had betrayed me and now has another family, though we are still not divorced officially.

First of all let me be very clear: The priest is the one who started the relationship. I knew him for over 6 years at that time. Because of our mutual friendship, we got closer. Once after dinner, we went for a walk. Suddenly he held me and kissed me. He did admit of having feelings for me. At that time I was still struggling, but he told me that he wasn’t going to force me to have a loving relationship. He just wanted to stay close. After around 2 months he showed that he cared for me a lot. At that time I had some feelings too towards him. He told me I could trust him. He showed many signs that he really loved me. Time passed by and we became closer and knowing each other more. I fell in love deeply. He introduced me to his mother and to his family

Then sex happened. It has been going on for these last 2 years, till a few months ago. I got pregnant. As soon as I gave him the wonderful news, he astonished me by saying that we couldn’t keep this baby. I was so depressed hearing him say such a thing. I plainly told him that I couldn’t accept. At last he changed his mind. He considered to keep the baby. However I had a miscarriage. Could we keep our relationship I pondered silently…?? We had some serious arguments.

He suddenly said that maybe it was God’s sign to stop having sex outside marriage! We needed to stop having sex and keep our friendship platonic. He told me that he had confessed already, and that he loved me so much. His wish was to stop having sex. Consequently we couldn’t sin any more.

We could keep our love relationship but just without sex…. I asked point blank: Why not leave priesthood and get married? It’s so weird…He emphasized that he loved me so much, but that he couldn’t leave priesthood.

Since last January, something happened. We keep arguing about something trivial. We argue about some family affairs about his sister..?? He has now turned to be an emotionless person, with less hugs, kisses and less dating with me. I try to talk to him, but he says that everything is fine. He gives the excuse of too much work and that he feels tired. He continues to say that he still loves me. He just brushes me aside with the expression that he loves me so much. He urges me not to worry.

On the other hand he thinks that the fighting is God’s sign to show him that he is wrong, but he does feel his love for me. The priest thinks that he needs to follow his vow of celibacy, because he did promise to God that he will be faithful to his promise. But celibacy is not a divine law, it’s a human law after all!

I don’t understand…I feel so confused. What can I do? I really love him and I cannot live without him. What should I do? What should I tell him???

I would like to write about a whole book about this story but I prefer to let the readers air their views. Please let’s not blame the person who was/is in a frail situation. Let’s walk in her shoes.

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!

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.

I met M in the summer of 2010 on an online dating site. Of course, he didn’t tell me (or anyone) that he was an ordained Roman Catholic Priest at that time. We struck up a conversation and within 2 weeks decided to meet for coffee.

I knew I liked him immediately and he seemed to be drawn to me as well. On our second date, after pressing for a little more information about him, other than what he’d told me (he was currently in graduate school), he finally revealed his “profession.” I was definitely shocked, but it didn’t bother me.

I was raised Jewish and live a very open-minded type of life. I think people deserve to be happy and I believe that God would want us to be. I don’t think I had ever met a priest before and I knew nothing about Catholicism other than whatever I had garnered from news and popular culture. Anyway, M’s profession didn’t stop me from wanting to get to know him more, although he warned me that he was a year away from finishing school and wouldn’t be able to maintain a relationship after that. 

At first, I was alright with the idea of a short-term fling. I really liked him and was attracted to him. He obviously felt the same about me, but he did maintain some boundaries to the physical side of the relationship, at least at first. A few months in was when the problem really started. I was definitely falling in love with him and I knew he was doing the same, even though he kept insisting this relationship had a very definite end-date when he graduated. Nevertheless, we kept seeing one another. It was probably both the dumbest thing and the smartest thing I have ever done. While he was in school (thousands of miles from his hometown) getting further education in a specialized area for his future job, we maintained relative anonymity. My friends didn’t question what he “did” outside of being a grad student and no one in his world knew about me. 

After a year, we were definitely in too deep to stop but the time came for him to go back to his hometown. I couldn’t drop everything and follow him, so we maintained a long-distance relationship for 2 more years. We did try to end it at one point but neither of us wanted that. We would visit every few months but we wrote and talked on the phone daily. Throughout this time, he continued to insist that he could never leave the priesthood but I continued to love him despite that and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. 

Around the 3-year mark, I decided I wanted a change of pace (and careers) and I moved out to be closer to him. We ended up buying a house about 20 minutes away from his home and parish, but over state lines so that I lived in a different diocese and he could come visit on the weekends, fairly anonymously. We lived this secret and double life quite well, even though it was hard on me both to see him so little – as you know, his job as a priest was very demanding – and to have to hide myself and our relationship from others who knew him. One of the hardest parts was not being able to spend holidays together. He had church and family obligations and I was alone, thousands of miles away from my family. Over time, I urged him to consider leaving active ministry, even to just take a break and figure things out, but it just wasn’t the right time and I felt in my heart that if I didn’t pressure him, he’d eventually come around. I had no doubt he loved me very much. The question was just always, did he love me “enough?” 

Another question was “how long can we keep this up?” We had a few close calls with being found out but we managed to keep our relationship a secret, even while living so close and spending so much time together. Until the Spring of 2016. That’s when everything changed. His Associate Pastor lived next door and had been noticing my car around regularly when I would come over for dinner or to visit M. Around April or May of 2016, almost 3 years after I had moved out there to live near M, and nearly 6 years into our relationship, this man decided to voice his concern to M’s church superiors. We don’t think he suspected the full truth of what was going on but he said he was concerned that M was becoming too close to a woman. 

In June of 2016, M was called to speak to his Vicar General, second in charge after the Bishop. The Vicar General relayed the concerns that had been brought to him by the Associate Pastor and M recalls having the realization that this was “it.” His moment of truth. He could easily have talked his way out of the situation and reassured his superior that nothing was happening, but he decided to come clean and reveal our long-time relationship and his choice to continue it. 

A few more conversations later, within about a week’s time, M was relieved of his duties and moved his few belongings into the house we owned across town. We lived together for a year before having our civil wedding and it took one more year for all of M’s paperwork to get fully completed to allow him to marry in the church. We had our Catholic wedding in the summer of 2018, almost exactly 8 years from our first date. 
Despite our happy ending, I don’t want to downplay how hard the entire thing was.

The relationship had very high highs and very low lows. There was nothing fun or exciting about being a secret. I often worried that M didn’t love me enough to make our relationship real, but I did have some deep faith or intuition that he did and I just had to be patient. I would never recommend this type of relationship to anyone else. I could have just as easily been heartbroken and shattered if M were not as good of a person as he is. If you are reading this and are in love with a priest, don’t ever be fooled into thinking that he will easily give up his vocation to be with you. I know the reality is that most never will. 

We are approaching our 2nd wedding anniversary and 9th anniversary of being together and I still love him as much as ever (possibly more). So I have no regrets, only gratitude that I get to tell a story that ends in our happiness. M is a braver and stronger person than he ever thought, and over the past couple of years we have made an amazing life for ourselves. I truly believe that God brought us together and I’m grateful to have found my soulmate, despite how difficult it was to get to this point. 

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.