Tag Archive: priest stares at me

The priest as a manager

I’m writing this article whilst looking at a young boy who is working in his dad’s shop. The way he talks to other colleagues is to say the least, disgusting. The way he walks, talks and behaves in the shop, is, as if he built the shop from scratch with his own sacrifices and sweat! Obviously he found everything ready made so he does not appreciate the meaning of hard work, of mistakes and of trying again and again. This is the typical mistake some parents do when they simply introduce them at work as their ‘son’. They don’t realise that other employees would never accept him as their boss, if not because of being forced on by their father!

Something similar takes place in a parish. The priest finds himself in a new parish. He never worked for the parish yet he is already in an important seat as a pastor! So what does one expect from him? What does he know about the parish? How many people does he know? Most probably he would rely on the people around him (which might be heavily biased about other people in the parish!).

In the early years of the church, the one responsible for the community would be chosen amongst the same community. Obviously this is another reason why we should go for married priests! The priest chosen should have already given an example of how to lead a larger community by leading his own family! On the other hand he already knows the community in which he has to work as their pastor! From the point of view of the parishioners, they already know what he is capable of!

This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any problems. When we present the married priesthood as a model, we don’t imply that there would be heaven on earth. Heaven is heaven. No place on earth is heaven, yet we firmly believe that on a weighing scale the advantages outweigh the disadvantages!

Earning the respect of the parishioners means a lot! Knowing the parish beforehand is an immense gift. Having a family would be a shinning example for the whole parish! The married priest although with one foot he is ‘in’ the world, yet with his other foot he is with God. He has to prove that he is a man of prayer. Only the prayerful priest is the one who continues to work against all odds! A prayerful priest knows that good work and good intentions alone won’t change a single thing in the parish. It’s God who works wonders and changes people’s heart!

Another challenge within the Catholic church is that of comparing today with yesterday. Recently I had a conversation with a friar (they live in a community but this friar owing to lack of vocations lives on his own). He was full of long forgotten dreams about the past where hundreds of people used to line up for confession (today it’s called the sacrament of reconciliation); Young people with Vocations for priesthood used to fill up the friary! Now they don’t have one single vocation!

We firmly believe that numbers won’t tell the whole story because God knows how to write in crooked lines too! We can’t be without faith (like other writers on the internet). It’s not the end of the Church! Yet God is changing it into something more beautiful. We are too tied to past traditions or criteria. God is changing the criteria too! One of them is to let married priests be a fundamental part of the Catholic Church.

It’s up to our mature readers to continue the discussion…


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 role of patience

The young ones are famous for bringing about a lot of changes in a very short time. This happens in a school, business company, local council, politics and in any other sphere where human beings interact. We all know the result. Most probably most people reject change and may turn the table onto the younger ones. ‘Too soon’ and ‘too drastic’ are some of the famous sayings heard in everyday life.

Patience is not something which could be taught like in a school. It has be mastered slowly and by inner reflection. The person has to continue struggling to bring about changes, yet it has to pick up the right wave in order to bring about small changes. In other words: “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”; it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” Fulton J. Sheen

We all look for results. We all want positive changes. Yet, most of the people are happy as they are. This is like the saying: everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die!!

How do we achieve our dreams of married priesthood? Well there are no magical formulas. There are no instant results. We have to study how to bring about the best result. But we all need to work hard for it!

Well the Pope, true to his word, made an invitation to Brazil. It’s the country with one of the lowest percentage of priests in comparison with the faithful there. He is very shrewd. Refusing in such a big country (some call it a continent with its big dimensions), would be equal to a suicide. But the Pope started from the country which cannot refuse such a call if it wants to survive and still have Catholics in its own land. The hemorrhage is incredible in such big country. People are leaving the church in large numbers. This is the effect of not having at least a mass once a week.

Now it all depends on our response to such change. Are we going to apply pressure to the Vatican, to the local church? Are we ready to start discussing with the rest of the church? Our big guns are several but we wish to focus on two of them: one is the lack of priests where many parishes are struggling just to offer a mass per week! The other one is the common point with most non-church goers: sexuality. Most people have left because in the Catholic Church we can’t update our sexuality chapter anymore. It has to be re-written from scratch. The married priests are in a comfortable position to tell what’s most important and what could be discarded having children of their own.

We have noticed as well that some Catholic agencies didn’t publish the news that the Pope has invited Brazilian bishops to discuss priesthood for some married people (referring to male ones). This already speaks volumes. Not all the people will agree. But this should not discourage us. Living in a democratic country we should not get discouraged because of different opinions. Yet the good of the church tells us to do something before it’s too late. This should be the base on which to discuss the issue. It’s life or death situation.

Watching a TV program discussing ghosts, dead people, afterlife etc….shows how little do the people know of what the church truly teaches!! There is a lot of confusion, everybody coming out with a new version of what happens after death…….we need more priests, we need more catechists to tell them what the church teaches!

I’m Annie and my priest’s name is Jack. I’ve been reading your blog for sometime now and I wanted to finally share some of my story (it’s okay to post this). It’s not very detailed but it’s enough. I met a priest in 2013 just before my husband left on a business trip. This trip was to last 5 months abroad. My husband is very kind, and I would say we have a good marriage. This priest was from an other parish filling in for our priest.

After my husband departed for his business trip, I filled my days with daily mass and volunteer work. In those days I would see this priest. There was an instant chemistry that I was very aware of. He was too. There was much eye contact, both catching and looking away and catching again. I felt that his homilies always spoke to me personally. I felt the hot and cold too at first. It would go from one week he’d “see” me and then the following week completely ignoring me. In those moments of being ignored I felt crushed. We didn’t speak much. I would email him occasionally asking for a Mass intention or pray for someone or something but nothing beyond that. 

Eventually, my husband returned home. The hot and cold and eye catching didn’t cease with the priest but seemed to increase. The day came when this priest was to return to his home parish. It was in our goodbye that set everything in motion. He expressed not wanting to leave and saying he wished we’d had more time together. We emailed in earnest after that day. Our correspondences was filled with double meanings…it was frustrating. I met with a few weeks later. It was at this time he expressed his love for me. I was so shocked and pleased all rolled into one.

Over the next several months we would meet and our closeness grew both emotionally and physically. Until he broke his promise of celibacy and I broke my marital vows. We continued this way for a year. We’d meet at different places, it would always end in us being intimate. At first i thought what we experienced in friendship and love was special, unique and true. But as time progressed the illusion of us being “meant to be” as he put it came crashing down.

I felt many times he wanted to know all about me but would share only bits and pieces about himself. He wanted to know and meet my friends and family but I was never to meet his. I would want to plan ahead, he would give me excuses for why he couldn’t. Then he would make palms with other friends and family. Yes, we’d text and call but my communication with him didn’t take priority. There would be days I wouldn’t hear from him. I would take time to ensure he knew I was thinking of him constantly, at the expense of spending that time and effort on my family. He would just say he was too busy or too tired….or just couldn’t. He would be jealous and it would cause arguments between us. He always wanted to advise me on my life and would get upset when I chose not to follow his guidance. It was like he wanted an observer rather than a participant in his life. He never seemed to understand actions speak louder than words. 

When I realized that the relationship would always be one of secrecy, one built on falsities, one that would never progress beyond a rendezvous, I couldn’t continue. I told him I just wanted to be friends. He wanted us to continue as we were…confiding in each other, communication, still seeing each other…everything but the physical contact. I couldn’t agree to that. It would be tempting to just fall back into what we were. So I cut everything off cold turkey. He hasn’t contacted me at all since I said no more to all of it. I sometimes get the urge to text him because it’s hard to stop all contact with someone after a year of constant communication but then I remember that he wasn’t mature enough to tell me goodbye. At first I was upset he didn’t contact me back, but now I am grateful. It has allowed me to make a clean break from him. 

Why do I want to share all this? Because after reading all the posts from women hoping against hope their priest will be different, I had to speak up. Aren’t we more than the little bit of time and attention they give us? Don’t we want more for ourselves? Someone who will fully commit to us? Their time, attention and love? Where when you meet or talk there isn’t an elephant in the room looming over head because of who and what he is? 

I’m mad at myself for listening to the flowery things he said. For not paying attention to his actions towards me. I feel I wasted the last couple of years on him to feel immense guilt and sadness. I remain married to my husband. I am constantly working to better myself and my marriage. 

It’s up to the readers to comment in order to make our blog very lively. Last week we had a record of 273 comments! Thanks to all who participated and made our blog truly unique. Every opinion counts! On the other hand we had some interesting news…The Pope is giving back authority to the local bishops to fix the liturgical translations. He is giving back authority to the local bishops. Remember that we need to pester our local bishops about married priests! Please do your part. Don’t lose faith. Let’s keep going. Don’t be afraid if they don’t answer or they seem to be very cold or indifferent. If we wish to testify about our Lord Jesus Christ, we need adults who are strong enough to withstand any coldness or bitterness! Some positive news (thanks to Maria from Italy)..the Hungarian bishops are asking for married priests!!! In the USA there is a local community who is asking for married priests!!!! Let’s unite and move forward…the future is not very far away!

I would have never guessed that such cases do really exist. How could a priest treat his wife like a slave? Although he is not functioning as a priest any more, yet he was trained and lived as a priest (in public) for many years. Technically he is still a priest because once a priest is always a priest. How can one explain such barbarism with a fragile woman? We are looking to our honest and mature readers in order to receive their kind feedback. Is there a human rights’ lawyer amongst our readers?

It’s very easy to pass judgement. It’s harder to help and try to win this difficult situation. As adults in faith we are obliged to help first and foremost. Hopefully it will serve as an eye opener for other women.

My name is Patricia. I did not have high education and worked with my family since I was 16 years old. Lately we had financial difficulties.

I decided to search for a man on the internet. A man (Lawrence) contacted me. He wanted to marry me. He promised me a better life. He promised to take me to several exotic places. A friend I knew called me and told me about Lawrence. He knew about him and consequently I trusted Lawrence more.

Lawrence sent in all the papers necessary for marriage to my country. I still had some doubts but Lawrence would every time assure me of a better life.

Because of his compelling words and my own dreams to have a good and happy family life, I made the biggest mistake in my life and agreed to book the marriage at the Registration office to get married.

We finally got married. On our wedding night he wanted to sleep saying that he was tired. The second day was the same. I understood that he was not interested in me as a women. He acted like he was afraid of me or he was never before together with a women. I asked him why and he told me that he was a Catholic Priest for a long time and never had any sexually contact with a women, so he needed time and my help too.

I believed what he said and trusted him, but every time he was angry and would shout at me. There was always a reason to be angry at me.

One day after coming back home he said that the following day he was going back to his country!!

I asked about myself. He said that I would go at a later date.

I didn’t hear anything from Lawrence. i tried to contact him on the internet but he did not reply. Finally he replied on a certain date. The message was devastating. He asked me to go to the Registration office and ask for the cancellation of the marriage!!

If we wanted to cancel the marriage we had to go to the Court and ask for divorce. But Lawrence does not want a divorce. He wants me to go to the Registration Office and delete the Marriage certificate.

Every day I cried and begged him not to ask that from me because it was very difficult to stay alone and with my family relatives asking so many questions about ‘us’.

Then Lawrence agreed to let me visit his country but I had to promise him to obey him and to work hard.

I went to his country. His brother and wife picked me up from the Airport and I stayed with them until Lawrence arrived, as he was abroad.

Soon I discovered that his house seemed like a Guest House because people from all around the world used to come and stay free of charge. He drove them all around the island, going to the beaches and restaurants, while I was not permitted to join them and had to go for work and take care of the guest house and host all visitors.

He did not allow me to call my family and shouted to me not to call them nor to talk with them. This was the start of more bad things. He wanted me to work and he found me a job as a dish and pot washer in a beach restaurant.

I worked 7 hours a day, it was hard and heavy work and one morning I could hardly move due to pain in my back, but Lawrence forced me to go for work.
I worked again for 5 hours, but my back hurt me a lot and I couldn’t work any more. Lawrence became devilish to me…screaming, cussing and he beat me. It was the first time since I was with him.

Every day he had women from different countries in his house and he wanted me to host them. He brought the women saying that it was their house and they could enjoy themselves.

Myself, as his legal wife, he always said not to touch this, and not to use that, not to use water or hot water, electricity etc…

He founded another restaurant where I had to work (cleaning dishes and pots for 6 hours a day). It was a very hard job for me, but Lawrence forced me to work and he would not allow me to stay at home while he was enjoying him self with the women guests in his house, he drove them around and accompanied them to beaches where they swam. With the meagre pay I received I had to buy the Grocery
for home.

Many times he ate from his mother’s or friends’ and from restaurants’ while I stayed at home, hungry and with no money to buy food. But to his guests he wanted me to pretend that I was a happy wife.

When I lost my second job, Lawrence was very angry again and he said “if you do not go to work i will bring you men to have sex with them to earn money!”. I immediately refused and promised him that he would do that, than I would readily commit a suicide as I was not a prostitute.

Lawrence brought me to a cleaning company to work for 4 hours per day in a Bank. I was very happy with that job but he wasn’t because he wanted me to me to work full time.

With the money I earned he forced me to buy foods and everything needed in
a household.

Besides, during my work, Lawrence always guided me outside the house and told me not to talk with other people. Once he saw me talking with a neighbour. He was furious and warned me again not to talk with other people outside his house.

All the time I was there he wanted me to visit his parents and spend time with them but no one else. Lawrence expected a lot from me, I had to obey him and to take care of him. I had to hand him the money I earned. But he did nothing for me nor to make my life better. He gave me lots of hopes and promises before our marriage, but they were all empty promises.

Lawrence told me that he had a friend in another country and they needed someone to look after their disabled child. I was not happy to go to another country and to look after a disabled child. I came to his country because he married me,
but he did not want to treat me as his wife.

He said again that if I earned enough money I could stay in his house, if not, I had to pack up and go back to my country.

I dared warn him that if he would not treat me as his wife, then I wanted to divorce him. He told me that I had to pay for a lawyer. He beat me again. Lawrence always warned me not to talk with his neighbours, nor to his brother and wife or his parent what was really going on between us.

I lost the cleaning job at the Bank because I asked for a full time job. In the meantime I met a lady Doctor. She said that her cousin needed someone to clean dishes and pots in his restaurant. It was a part time job again. Lawrence did not want me to stay in his home doing a part time job. Incredibly he
not earn the amount of money he demanded from me!!

Lawrence threatened me to put me on the streets. He offered me the solution of going back to my country. If not, he would kill me!!!

My marriage with Lawrence took place in a cloud of lies, manipulations and
force. Now he is refusing to grant me a divorce.

Lawrence has a reputation, as a priest, of being a pillar of society. [Officially he has left priesthood now]. He vows to serve as a man of God and help people in need..whenever they are in need. Actually it seems that he was helping himself in order to have a decent living from the proceeds of his fund raising.

In the mean time, with his own hand he had turned me into an ‘Orphan’ because of his unreasonable treatment towards me. I’m his legal wife. He married me under false pretences and have treated me like a piece of scum ever since.

His marriage duty bounded him to look after me, his legal wife…to take care of me in good and bad times and to take care my body and soul.

Since the end of 2015 I haven’t heard anything from Lawrence. I am desperate and do not know what to do. I can’t pay a lawyer to help me with the Divorce. I can’t go back to Lawrence’s country for problems with visa. He destroyed my life and made me the outcast of the village. I live here in my country as a registered married women. Consequently I can’t start a new relation without a divorce.

One who is reading our stories, may get the impression that the only challenge for priests – in view of relationships – is the that of women. Well, after eighteen years living in a monastery we can safely say that most priests are attracted to men! Some readers have already pointed out, that the monasteries is an all men club. So it’s no discovery that most of them like, enjoy and feel secure with other men. This is another reason why married priests is never going to be a priority for whom relationships are equal to men.

We are in favour of relationships. We are never going to condemn anybody who falls in love. We know from many other stories, that nobody selects the person with whom it may fall in love. Yet we want to state clearly that we are not in favour of clandestine relationships, whether it’s with a man or a woman. Secret relationships point to all the negative connotations. It may seem interesting and exciting at the beginning, but one may soon feel all the negative effects, mentioned in several of our readers’ comments.

Today, we have the story of a man who falls in love with a priest. We are happy that men too write to our blog as it reflects the hidden reality which is found in many cases around the world. It maybe that in most cases in the Western World, men find it difficult to put their case in writing. We hope that this example may encourage other men to write too.

My name is Eli. My story is probably not very different although I am a committed man in a relationship with another man. This year, I decided to try return to my previous parish. My first mass there, the priest essentially cornered me and made the excuses giving me confession in his office after mass. Then it proceeded to having drinks and then on another occasion dinner. Following this, we had an exchange via text and email that was exciting, In the excitement of getting to know a new person, and also having flirtations.

Did I mention that this priest is a very good-looking man? In our discussions, he mentioned the things that he could not do as being part of the church. So many things, of course sexual and also do not have favouritism, or exclusivity for anyone person in particular. In our discussions, he mentioned to me that after six years he had prayed to God to be given a companion. Obviously there is an attraction there, and I’m certain that it is mutual. There has been nothing physical, however I feel that six months later I cannot be in this situation in my life of having to take care of the emotional needs of a lonely priest.

It was not more then two months and that I was feeling a very strong emotional connection to him and feelings of love. I mentioned this to him and he hoped that he was not the cost for instigating or starting any of these feelings, And begged me not to make any rash decisions and leave my relationship.

In this time, he has gotten to know my partner and I, and my children. Currently, my feeling is that he has potentially developed some feelings for me and is running away from them and so can run hot and cold with me. It is in this way that he says: ‘God bless you’, that makes me feel his instead of saying something else. However I might just be the one that is a bit delusional here. I consider myself very intelligent person, and feel that an emotional level I’m dealing with someone who has the intellectual capacity in relationships of an 11-year-old. He can go from being very sweet and caring one day, to ignoring me for four days.

I’ve told my partner about this maddening crush, and have prayed for a long time about it. I no longer want to play guessing games, or be used by anyone else to make them feel better about themselves. I would really like a solution to this situation; Do I continue to harbour a friendship? Or do I close the door on this, and move on. I should also mention that in the meantime this priest has also developed a fondness for my partner and my partner is more interested in continuing with the same parish. I think if I had my way, I would leave. I’m hoping readers can provide me with some insight on the situation.

I’m Q, a female. I’m Roman Catholic and I’m suppressing and repressing my emotions for a priest whom we will call X.

First Meeting, almost a year ago: A few notes after the opening song, X and I locked gaze where I felt embarrassed that I looked away and shifted my gaze at the image of Mother Mary in front of the altar. As X delivered his homily, he would glance at me every now and then and noticing that I wasn’t comfortable with it, he delivered the remainder of his homily with his eyes either cast down or closed. At the end of the mass, parishioners lined up to shake X’s hand. When my turn came, he looked away, withdrew his hand and patted me on the forehead instead. It would be a few more months before I approach him again.

In the next meetings, X and I would do the eye courtship thing with no one daring to hold the gaze.

Four months after the first meeting, something probably got the better of us. X decided to hold his gaze and I gazed back. We were eye to eye for not shorter than five seconds. Then he stopped at the middle of his homily, looked away, groped for words before he could continue. This happened again on the same mass during consecration. At this point, the embarrassment transformed into guilty feelings on my part. But still, something in me refused to acknowledge that X was looking at me and I caused him to buckle.

In the succeeding couple of weeks, we practised custody of the eyes. Glances minimized. Everything under control.

A month after the first uh-oh moment, I went to mass and I could feel that X, like me, was having a hard time practising custody of the eyes. At The Great Amen, we locked eyes and X raised his eyebrows to acknowledge my presence. I was so shocked I felt it was painted all over my face. Seeing how shocked I was, X looked away immediately and acknowledged the presence of another parishioner. I sensed he was embarrassed and sad about my reaction that I decided to approach him after mass to shake his hand and greet him. When I did, his hand was ice cold and he shook my hand while he was looking down, as he slightly shook his head.

I didn’t see X again until a month or so after that. When I saw him again, he openly glanced at me and held eye contact. Needless to say, he would lose thread of the mass and either stop or say the wrong words. This happened almost every time I attended mass with him being the celebrant. I felt guilty, but no longer that embarrassed. I thought it was cute, but a little scary. I noticed that he was warm to everyone, too, that I decided to start approaching him after mass to shake his hand. He welcomed it and shook my hand, while suppressing a smile.

There’s this memory with X I cherish. I attended one First Friday Mass and X was the celebrant. As he was about to deliver the Good News, he was suppressing his smile that it seemed puzzling for most of the parishioners. When he delivered his homily, he would glance at me every now and then and he would smile. It felt good afterwards that I also smiled with my head bowed during the Apostle’s Creed. When I looked at X during Prayers of the Faithful, he was smiling, too. After mass, I approached X and shook his hand. He shook mine, too, and he boldly squeezed it, rubbed his thumb against the back of my hand, and held on to it for a couple of seconds. It was raining hard that night that most parishioners were at the church doorstep, waiting for the rain to let out. X went out of the church and eased his way among the crowd to stand beside me. I struck a conversation by offering him my umbrella but he said nothing. He just stood there silently, but I caught him taking a quick glimpse at me every now and then.

I wrote the above story a few months ago. When is no longer important.

A lot of things happened to me after writing that, but it’s good that I delayed the publishing. I would also like to thank Fr. Daniel for not forcing me to publish.
Where are we now, X and I, after all those months?

The first thing is, there is no “we”. And I am not bitter about it. I will never find out if it was a case of mutual attraction or not, and I don’t need to. Sure, there are now more memories to cherish and smile about – wonderful, teenage-crush memories with X as we got a little comfortable with each other a few months after I first wrote that, not to mention this wonderful feeling I have for him that I have come to accept over time.

So what am I writing for?

I just want to share that we can feel something and not be guilty about it by not doing anything about it. Just accept it for what it is and not think about whether it’s being reciprocated or not, or even without the certainty that the other party feels the same way, too. I’m sure most of us will say that he probably has feelings for me, and sometimes I can’t help but consider that somehow he likes me as a man desires a woman, but truth is, we will not really find out unless he tells me or I ask him. But that will not happen. It’s not for me to know and that’s okay. He will not tell me because, aside from the fact that he has no chance, I know and feel how committed he is to his vocation and ministry that even if he might be feeling something, he, too, would not do anything about it.
And isn’t this the most beautiful thing in this world? To know what you must do for God in response to His immeasurable love even if it entails getting used to a cycle of death and resurrection – dying a little by forgoing something your heart wants and being reborn every time you feel so happy that you are in love, and yet making the same choice as you did when you decided to keep your faith?

While most of women here write sad stories about getting into relationships with priests and then having their heart broken, I hope you have a room for my story.

In this relationship, did you ever have some private space to talk and show your emotions for each other?

No private space to show emotions except after masses where I approach him to shake his hand. Often, he would squeeze my hand or hold on to it, especially when no one else was in line. Sometimes I squeeze back and when he holds on to my hand, I never let go. But that’s it.

We were given chances to talk but I just kept things business-like and left after the purpose was served.

We all know that eyes do ‘talk’, but how can you be sure about his real feelings?

As I’ve mentioned, I will never know if it was a case of mutual attraction and I don’t exactly know what you meant by being sure about his real feelings. Maybe eyes do talk, but how can I be so assuming when I haven’t even observed how he looks at other ladies in the other masses he celebrates. Rule #1. Until he says anything otherwise, those gestures were done out of compassion.

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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!