Tag Archive: priest kisses me on my lips


The Surprises of the Holy Spirit

It’s summer, it’s hot. Our spiritual lives most of the time reflect our hot season. This summer has been too hot. We feel dryness on our inside too, in our spiritual lives. We would like to see the apostolic church to take over our church. In our Western Culture we are used to see changes, if not we do change our government. We are used to voting on a paper, if not, we do vote with our feet.

In the church and in our spiritual lives things tend to be different. The changes sometimes are too subtle to notice. Most of the time they take ages to see. Besides that, for many years it seems that nothing has been happening at all! We tend to lose faith. We tend to find comfort in other matters as we resign ourselves to the status quo in the church. We are a little bit impatient!

The life of prayer tends to make us familiar with how God sees things. It changes us to God’s image. In the real prayer we let God melt us to a unique image. God is not in a hurry. He gives enough time to all. This time could be our learning curve. We take time to realise who is a good friend to us. We take time to understand how God works in our lives. We take time to grow in our relationships. We take time to see how our children are growing and changing.

These days, sort of an insignificant event took place. In a parish, a nun was authorised to conduct a wedding. It was a glimpse of how things could change. The pope himself knows that the age of the priests is already a time bomb. If most of them are of a certain age, then a future pope won’t have the luxury to mull over a decision. He has to take action immediately if he wants the survival of the faith communities!

Reading some comments of our readers, it seems that some of them have given up all hope that the Catholic Church will ever change! We wish to bolster the faith of all. Yes the Catholic Church changes according to God’s wishes. But we are confident that married priests will be included some time in the future. The church will become more beautiful with married priests although there will always be unmarried priests. The church is a community where different people, with different attitudes can live side by side, next to each other in a peaceful way.

Let’s hope that our blog besides showing the face of the future church, will also inspire many christians not to wait but to start the change themselves by supporting married priests. Let’s hope that the faith of our readers will increase and not decrease when faced with centuries of still, malodorous water!

Recently, in what is considered a large parish, I asked about which activities were being organised for young people. Surprisingly the answer was practically none. Now in this parish, the population growth is incredible. Its truly increasing by leaps and bounds. The number of young people is immense…yet there were no activities in the parish, targeting such tender age. If one were to attend mass in this parish, unsurprisingly there are only people with silver hair!! Obviously the young people do go out and have fun…but there is no one to guide them. They do not come to church. Consequently there is no such uniting factor such as the church, in today’s society.

As a parent I know about the headaches of summer….the young people do not know how to spend their free time. There is the temptation of online games for boys and the watching of films or TV series for girls..not just for a few hours but for endless days. In some countries, there are summer camps which are a blessing. Yet there is no direct reference to their spiritual growth.

Besides, just walking with some young people and listening to their conversations, their kind of language..one sees that most of them, although they still yearn for a good quality life, the discourse of God and their personal spiritual growth is far away or maybe none at all.

Some years ago, we had the introduction of divorce and the resultant discussion. Practically in all countries (including Catholic Malta!!) it has been introduced with large majorities. Now, in some countries, the issue of gay marriage has surfaced and people have shown that they do care about such people and they do not want any discrimination. Again they have voted with large majorities. The issue of the contraceptives is considered to be buried once for all as the people are using them left, right and centre, although surprisingly there has been no change from Pope Francis. This brings a fundamental question: what about the church? Does it question it’s own teachings? Are ‘we right’ and them ‘wrong?’ The pope Francis himself said: Who am I to judge a gay person?

The friars in this parish are all cosy in their rooms happy of performing the miracle of mass everyday. Yet, do they realise that in most western countries, the people need to be evangelised about the basic things of religion? Just ask some basic questions (which we were supposed to learn by heart in our age), and you’ll be surprised with the quality of answers received! Do they believe that if we don’t care about our young people, there will be no church in the future?

This brings me to one fundamental choice: let married people become priests and they will change the church as they already have experience with most the daily conflicts, trials, debates and faith issues they face in their family. They already have the knack of approaching and directing young people. Let’s make use of them so that the church can benefit from such expertise.

All readers are welcome to continue the debate.

The priest and today’s world

The media and the common people are very creative when they invent stories especially involving a priest who has just left. Most probably they give a reason to something that they find extremely hard to digest! The usual answer is that one left to get married!

Although in some cases it might ring true, yet in most cases, we encounter a different picture. The priest is not so happy with his surroundings, happenings or way of life. In the quoted article, one finds an ex seminarian (one who is studying for priesthood), who is not happy with the way of life the friars are living in the monastery. He feels very uncomfortable that whilst his mother has to make both ends meet, in his monastery there is a superfluous luxury notwithstanding the fact that they took the vow of poverty! The most important thing of all is that it has effected his spirituality. Although for others it may seem to be trivial, it cost him his place in the monastery. He couldn’t accommodate this divorce between what he believes and what he sees daily in the monastery.

One of the most terrible lies is that priests don’t get married because they need to be 24/7 for the people of God. Many years ago people used to call them to come and accompany people at their hour of death. Now that job is practically gone except maybe in hospitals. The problem with most priests is that they view their work according to the number of masses or sacraments they need to administer. In most parts of the Western world church attendance has gone down so practically they have much less work to do especially during weekdays. On the other hand circumstances have changed and most people are not be found during the traditional eight to five working shift.

Mass and sacraments have lost their magic touch for the common people. People need to be evangelised. People need a human contact with the church. They need to be taught many things about religion as they are ‘ignorant’ in most religious issues. Most probably they would get the wrong impression of the church because in many cases it’s mostly silent in the digital world! When people are passing through a difficult/loving phase in their lives, the church is mostly absent. Even attending mass, in most cases it is something very anonymous! This is a fact which seems not to preoccupy bishops when amalgamating parishes!

Most probably the biggest issue (which goes unnoticed by many), is that most priests, outside the sacramental world, they don’t know how to deal with it! The still don’t know the importance of building a real community in their parish. They were never trained how to do pastoral work properly (it is not simply the distribution of the sacraments). Pastoral work should culminate in the person finding Christ and building a personal relationship. Now before embarking on such an adventure, one needs to know the flock. There are various ways and means how to get to know the flock but the best one seems that of family visiting. It is physically demanding and time consuming, yet it yields the best results. It builds a good bond between the priest and the parishioners.

As priests are transferred from one parish to another, the parish council seems to be the most appropriate one in order to work hand in hand with the pastor. How are relations with the pastor? We can find various examples yet very few parishes provide professional teaching and caring for it. The parish council is another largely unknown ‘thing’ in the parish. Most people are never introduced to it. They never vote for it so how could it be an effective instrument in the hand of the parish?

Then there is the church in general. The priest comes into contact with many relationships, hidden or otherwise. Yet he is representing the church. In many cases there is an internal conflict between what the church believes and what the faithful are living. Some people prefer to ignore such conflicts. Others simply leave the church, others try to find a leeway. Many pastors know that such conflict is bound to get bigger all the time if the hierarchy (people at the very top of the church), do not live in the same conditions. Recently I had a discussion with some religion teachers. They were surprised that the church hasn’t changed her mind when it comes to contraceptives. The fact is that these religion teachers have taken a different answer to such challenge in their married life which is beyond that of the church. Now what about priests and their internal conflicts? How would they solve them?

We hope of providing some food for thought to our readers. As usual, we didn’t cover all that needs to be written down. But that’s a big plus for our readers to start writing immediately in order to provide more shades about the mentioned topic!

Recently the Pope himself said that maybe he won’t visit some countries as by that time there would be a new Pope! This is no new news. Many priests are very old. Will they live beyond 100 years? Most of them will surely die before reaching 90 years, maybe 80. It’s a time bomb that we knew about it a long time ago. Most of the priests serving today are over 60. So some mathematics will help us to get to know the future. Who will serve the parishes then?

We never had any doubts that married priests will form part of the future church. This is simply because of one reason: there won’t be enough priests. Even the most dogmatic and anti-married priesthood supporter will accept the fact that most parishes will become priest-less!!!

On the other hand, it seems that most non-married priests are still resisting the idea. Is it worthwhile to launch a ‘battle’ against such priests? They are still in power and they know how to play the game of authority. It would be a suicide. Most of today’s priests are never going to leave the comfort zone. We explained the various reasons in past issues. One can go back and see why it’s so difficult for a priest to start a new life as a married person.

Any other solution? Yes. This is the biggest change we need to do. Enough with waiting a higher authority to say yes. Let’s start today. How? By looking for the right people to manage a parish. There should be a never ending of list of people who have a kind heart and are ready to serve their community. How about encouraging them to take a leadership role? The challenge today is that if a religious community dies, it will be very difficult to substitute that kind of community with something else. Our communities will become anonymous when there is no unifying factor such as religion.

In practical terms, what does it mean? Well, managing a parish, besides involving managerial skills (which they might possess already), it calls for one to be well versed in theology. How about starting a course today? There are universities which offer evening courses in theology. Obviously this might a take a long time and it needs highly motivated people! That’s why we are suggesting the idea today, so that by the time the call for married priests comes out, they would be already qualified for the job!

What about the priests who left the parish are living their love dream? Well, seeing the needs of so many people, gives them authority to continue living their priesthood. They can start their own communities which will surely include many people who had left the community many years ago. Like Jesus in the gospel they will start discovering new people who live in the periphery of the church.

In one line, we can’t be critical about the Catholic Church without ourselves dirtying our hands in the process of helping out to create a new face for the church! Let’s work!

When people talk about married priests, it seems as if we are talking about the future such as when aliens will land on earth! Those hearing us discussing about married priesthood might jump into the conclusion that it’s still not being practiced in the Catholic Church. This assumption that we’re talking about future decisions might harm our reputation. Some might nickname us as rebels or people outside the church!

Well there are so many people out there that they don’t know that there are already married priests in the church! If one uses a search engine, one might encounter a lot of such cases. One particular story is found here. So please note that all those people who might start arguing that a married priest might not have enough time for his wife and children, it is already being done!

Obviously, the next question would be: why are Anglican priests allowed to become Catholic priests and bring their wives over whilst Catholic priests have to resign in order to get married?! In our opinion it is pure injustice.

We are of the opinion that people should start asking for married priests now in order that Pope Francis might say yes. He has already shown that he is moving slowly but surely in that direction. But he wants the people to ask for it in their diocese (the geographical place where a bishop and his priests/nuns etc..work together).

We, as a community, we have to understand that we cannot live in the catacombs afraid to mention such subject during our interaction with the rest of the parish! Somebody has to inform the rest of the parish. Somebody has to show the way. This is what it means to be an adult in faith. We cannot rely on others to do this kind of work. Most of the people who would call for married priests are unchurched (not going to church any more). It’s our duty to inform them of the latest changes in the Catholic church. Let’s take it as a challenge or if we wish to, as a lent exercise for this year!

Pope Francis is not a dictator. He wants to move with his flock. People now are experiencing the lack of priests in so many parishes (in the whole wide world except some countries in Africa). Now we either go for married priests or risk of loosing more parishes which would be without the Eucharist. The Eucharist is so central for the Catholic Faith.

    It is the time and place where the community meets (can we have a community if we never meet?).

    During the mass we hear the word of God (can we simply be brainwashed by the media not knowing what God really thinks?).

    We nourish our soul with the body and blood of Christ (can our body grow healthy without eating adequately? Now let’s focus about the food for our soul).

In other words the body and soul of the Catholic Church lies in the Eucharist. Shall we let more parishes die because of lack of priests or shall we move forward and allow more priests (married) to work in the vineyard of the Lord?

There are several ways of how to control people. In the church there has been a very common one : creating a strong sense of guilt. Most people, even if they leave the church, deep down in their hearts there would remain a lurking sense of guilt. In history, there have been several people who opposed the church, yet during their last moments of life on earth, they simply surrendered and gave all property and riches to the church in order to redeem their soul!

The sense of guilt has been built not in one single moment. It has been going on for centuries. The Catholic church has for many centuries, did not build a conscience for adults, but rather a set of directions of what to do and what not to do. It’s no surprise that the recent letter by the Pope has confounded some Catholics. In simple words, they assume that the church should say what’s black and white. Incidentally Pope Francis mentioned the grey colour!! They find it hard now that the present Pope is letting them decide. Most probably it is for the first time in the history of the church that the adults in faith are being treated as adults. They examine their own conscience, listen to God’s voice and decide!

Parents understand it perfectly well, because at one time, one’s child, is going to decide about something which one does not agree to. At one moment, one knows and understands that the child is no longer a child but a fully grown man or woman. He/she now has a different opinion and might make choices which are not according to what parents dictate! It’s the same process which is happening in the church today. Pope Francis is really bringing a revolution without any blood being shed or terrible fights (including that of discussion!!).

One of the main ideas of the so called ‘conservatives’ (ie those who are in favour of the black and white mentality and who won’t accept any exception at all), is that they see the others as sinners. Jesus the shepherd gives us the idea that if he looses one, he goes out of his way to find it. When he finds it, he makes a feast! Are we looking for the so called the ‘missing ones’?

How about walking in their boots for one day? How would we see reality? How would one see the church? The advantage of being a married priest is that people, knowingly or unknowingly feel more at ease to discuss matrimonial challenges. We have been living this kind of theology (ie starting from experience and NOT from some medieval teaching) for many years now (much before the latest letter from the Pope).

But let’s focus on the fact of a women falling in love with a priest. We have been insisting for many years now that falling in love is not simply a button to be pressed at will. It can happen to everybody, saints and sinners and all!

Women and men meet at a certain date. It could be a casual encounter or one which leaves deep imprints. Whatever happens, we do believe that God is speaking to both persons. It’s not fair and just simply to tell any one of them to forget and go away. After all we preach and say that God is love! So why when love is round the corner we simply give it another name: temptation?

Obviously we are not referring to a passing crisis or infatuation. We have in mind several couples who although they stayed far away from each other with no contact for a long time, they both discovered that they have to share their journey of life together!

I’ve been asked several times to assist such couples which I happily do. Yet it doesn’t mean that I have to decide. It’s the couple who need to take such decision. We can only help them mature and make a sound decision whilst taking into consideration several challenges and trials. Indirectly we are breaking the sense of guilt that many priests who love their woman (and vice-versa), feel. Obviously we don’t expect to break this sense of guilt immediately after so many centuries of pure brain washing. Yet we are confident that no wall cannot be broken down to single stones to let people discover new areas of teaching in the church.

The pitfalls of silence

Today we speak of transparency, human rights, customer rights etc. We have slowly built a way in our civilisation in order to avoid mistakes, especially some particular mistakes. We have several examples of in-house or outside the house checking of standards. We have several steps, for litigation to take place correctly, in case the customer is not satisfied 100%. This is all done in order to ensure the best satisfaction between sellers and buyers.

Now in the church, we have a rather large area which is commonly called the grey area. There are several instances where the parishioners ask for a personal appointment with the pastor (or parish priest). This is all cloaked in secrecy. How can one be transparent when all is done in great secrecy? It’s like a secret agent accusing his employer of something. It is common understanding that what passes on between the priest and the parishioner remains so forever. How can one accuse the priest of something?

That’s why the silence which is commonly understood between the priest and the parishioner, could be used in the wrong way by the priest or the hierarchy (top people) of the church.

Most of the time, the people who have suffered an emotional abuse, feel themselves still bound by the secrecy act. In our experience, it has been very hard to instil confidence in people who have been abused in order to come forward. Secrecy seems to be a word which is written in the heart of Christians.

Some are still of the opinion that they might damage the church so it’s better to remain silent. Now, if one looks at the big picture, the day after might become more damaging to the church. If some insist on washing dirty linen inside, what is the way forward if everything is in great secrecy and no visible change is noticed? If no action is taken, then there would be no other alternative but to speak to ‘outsiders’ in order to do justice in the church.

Others are afraid of coming forward because that they are partly to blame for the budding love story between themselves and the priest. Speaking about relationships it is rather sticky as it involves lots of emotions, physical characteristics, thinking, growth, empathy etc.…It’s not so easy to pardon oneself and move forward elsewhere. On the other hand, people tend to get stuck with an abusive relationship, rather than having no relationship at all!

Most probably the guilt feeling would add more misery to the person involved as it keeps the person from speaking out. I feel guilty too so I have no right to speak of…..Well the time will come when they will realise that most probably the priest has abused his place and role and used the person for his own egoistic needs. The priest is the one who holds authority and law in his work. He is the one who should know all the boundaries. He is a role figure to many Christians. People would obey him owing to the fact that he is the priest or God (in their minds). This notwithstanding the fact, that falling in love with the priest creates a spiritual nightmare. Yet obedience blinds the person to any other practical consequences. In some cases, the woman, due to the obedience factor, took off her clothes.

The technological part has been abused too. Today it’s so easy to get to know people just by sending an sms, email etc. Again, it’s all done in the name of secrecy. In some cases, the woman was in bed with her husband (albeit sleeping!), whilst texting sexual messages to her priest. It seems to be not real for the common reader or totally foolish or disgusting. For those who have fallen in love, see things differently. They are being pushed around by their priest and it is all being done in great secrecy!

One final surprising reason is that the woman involved most probably truly loved her priest. In no way she is going to jeopardise the priest’s role in society! Love drives people to do the most incredible actions! This is one of them. “I know the priest abused me emotionally….but I still love him!” “Don’t ask me to start criminal proceedings against him. I won’t accuse him of anything!”

Lastly but surely not the least reason, there is still a great area which is not being given its due importance. How can we regulate the priest-parishioner in order to avoid silly mistakes especially when secrecy is so deeply embedded? This is not just the creation of courts, lawyers etc.… but rather a holistic education to all. The more we speak about it, the more we should learn from such experience. Our aim in this blog is to talk about what goes on between the parishioner and the priest in order to clarify many situations and avoid a lot of hurt, especially an emotional one.

We are happy that our blog has been in the forefront in order to help people speak about this kind of secrecy where most people suffer in silence. We thank all those who have published their story because in doing so, they have helped so many others. Some people could not give a name to their ‘silent story’. Now thanks to some stories they have become more aware of so many aspects of their past relationship with a priest. Hopefully they move forward in a healthy way. So let’s uncover all the secrets whispered in an inappropriate way!