Tag Archive: priest undresses in front of me


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!

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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!

Hello my name is Jackie. I met my priest (Maximilian) last 2009. I was a freshmen student back then. We had a project in our Religious Education subject, a church involvement where we had to render some hours in serving/ helping in a church. He was the parish priest of the church that time. I was with a group of five, all girls. That’s the first time we met. After that day, I never got the chance to see him even if he was a professor in that same university I am studying with. 

It was in 2010 when my classmates, who were my group mates on the project , had planned to visit him and thank him in allowing us to do our project in his parish. That was when our communication started. Days before our scheduled visit to him, I had my facebook status of the lyrics of a song just changing the word “girl” to “boy”. This is my exact status: Don’t love me for fun boy, Let me be the one boy, Love me for a reason, Let the reason be love… I had no other intentions but to tell boys to love all the girls they’re in relationship with. However he liked my status and left a comment that he likes the way I changed “girl” to “boy”. He also said that it was one of his favorite songs before. So I teased him that he might remember someone which made him relate with the song and I asked him to tell the story. He said that it was so many years ago already. He also said that before, whenever he hears the song he would remember that someone. But now, whenever he hears the song, it’s me he’s going to remember. So I asked him to sing the song during our visit to him and he accepted and started practicing there and then. I felt happy but honestly I never felt anything special because I never thought of anything more because for me it was just a friendly conversation. 

On the day of our visit, we shared many stories. My group mates and his companions in the convent sang many songs. I am not a good singer and I am a very shy person so I never had plans of singing and I never sang at all. But he kept his promise. He sang the song for me, not only once but many times. I felt somehow special but still no malice at all. 
After that day, we communicated more often. Another party was held and some of the professors in our school including one of our professor before were present. We had fun the whole night. He even accompanied me and my classmates home (whenever he invites us, it’s not only me but our group who happened to be my classmates and friends). When I arrived home, I texted him thanking him for inviting us and for accompanying me and my friends home. He did not reply so I got worried because he was drunk when he drove us home. He answered my call and said that he was driving when I texted so he wasn’t able to answer. I asked him why it took him so long to reach his house and he said that he already arrived at their house few minutes ago however he and his companion had some misunderstanding so he decided to leave and go to his brother’s house who happened to live very far from his place. But because I called, he said that he learned that he left his driver’s license so he’s not going to push through with his plans of going to his brother and just talk to me over the phone instead. He thanked me and said that I was his angel because if I didn’t call him he might be driving without noticing that his license was not there. We talked for a while until he decided to go home. When he arrived home, he called again and we talked until the wee hours. He calls me by my name and I really don’t like people who call my name. I always ask them to call me by my nickname and I told him that. But with my surprise he called me by my nickname with “my”. Like for example my nickname is Pretty. He called me “nkyPretty”. He even asked me if I got a crush on him and I answered him no. Because honestly that was the truth at that time. 

That was a turning point because we started to chat, to text and to talk over the phone very much often than before. One time, my professor who happened to be his friend asked him to go out and have some drinks. To his surprise, that professor asked him to go out because he wanted to ask my priest to help him with me. They talked many things and after their session, he called me and told me about it. However he did not tell me everything over the call. Instead he sent me a message in facebook. He said that when the time the professor confessed to him about his feelings for me, he also thought of how he feels for me. That’s the time I got aware that there was something more between us. He said that I am special to him and that he is happy because of me. So that was when I started to think about everything that happened and that was happening. That’s the time that we both said that we treat each other special. That started that whenever he invited us on a party he I would always be the last that he would drive home because we would go to other place first have some coffees and talk some more (usually parties were held because of Birthdays of his companions in the convent). We can only do that whenever there is a party. However there came a time that even if there is no party, we agreed to go out. That’s the first the he held my hands. I felt kilig. That started our hang outs together. But we never kissed. We never hugged. Just holding hands. 

Since then, we texted more often because that was our way of conversation. Less calls but more texts. However, by the end of 2013 to early 2014 I felt that our communication became infrequent. We didn’t see each other that often, I had lesser calls from him. He would only call whenever I would ask him to. I would always understand him because those were the times that he was sent to other parish without good reasons and that he felt it was unfair for him many factors made him different. He was not the joyful person I met. He got angry easily, he got irritated just for simple reasons and he became less sweet than before. I felt that something has really changed but I never told him about how I felt.

One day, my friends and I met in one of my friends house. We drank and had conversations until one of them asked me if I had something to tell/ share to them. I had no idea of what they were talking about until one them told me that they know that there is something going on between me and my priest. I had no excuse so I told them everything. They asked me what was my plan. So I told them that I really don’t know, maybe stop the relationship that we have. My struggle that time was that I didn’t know what kind of relationship we really had. So after that, when I arrived home I texted him about what happened. He decided to meet me and talk about the real thing between us. But that night, he said that we would have a a platonic relationship. Not just an ordinary one, but something deeper and more special.

We met in a restaurant. We talked with both of us having our own printed research about platonic relationship. He discussed more and I just listened a lot. He told me that the platonic relationship that we have is not like the ordinary meaning of that of Plato. Something that is deeper and more spiritual. He said that we were not committed. That if ever we go beyond that romantic relationship we might be like his priest friends who made wrong decisions because instead of making their relationship better, it became worse. Because of people’s acceptance and many more factors. He also said that whenever I choose to get into a relationship I can do it anytime. That he doesn’t have the right to get angry, jealous etc.. I felt sad and I was hurt because I felt like it was very easy for him to say all that. We finished our conversation right away because he had prior important commitments which gave us limited time to talk. However we agreed that we have talked what our agenda was and that everything was clear. Honestly, I had so many questions that I wasn’t able to ask. And until now, I didn’t give a try to ask. 

I believe that what I am feeling for him is true love. I already told him about someone I had  relationship with when I was in high school but don’t consider it as first love. Puppy love maybe because I was very young that time. I was only able to learn/feel what true love is, that was how I feel for him. I love him dearly. He is the only person who opened my heart into extreme emotions. An emotion of extreme happiness and sadness. 

The problem now is that since the day I felt our relationship dropped. Less communication, less stories, less conversation. Just good morning and good night. I want to tell him how I feel. Almost five years of relationship and until now, I still can’t tell him I love him. I want to tell him that. This might give me a big relief but I am not certain of what will happen next. I am already exploding inside. He may not have any idea of what I am feeling and this might be a surprise for him. I really tried my best to keep this but I failed. I can not fake what my heart feels. What should I do?

By the way, he’s already assigned in his hometown just last year. And to be able to go to his hometown, I have to ride a plane. But because of my job I can go to his place anytime because of my benefit of free tickets. I already asked him twice if I could visit him but he had many reasons to refuse. I never asked him again because I only get hurt. I am afraid that if I ask him again, I might get the same response. However, just last week, I was really surprise to see his pictures in facebook with his friends, they were some of the choirs from his assigned parish before he transferred to his hometown. I already met some of them during those parties where he invited us before. I was really upset that he can entertain them and give them time while he would always reject my visit. I am anxious about us and every negative feeling it gives me.. 

Hello readers! How are we going to answer for yet another love story involving an adult woman and a priest? Please let’s put ourselves in her shoes. There is no place for judgement nor orders about what to do. How about sharing our experience ? May God bless you all.

We have appreciated our readers as they have struggled to come to terms with their experience of priests. They were successful in putting into writing their own particular experience. This is what makes our blog wonderful. People from all over the world come together to discuss one experience: falling in love with a Catholic Priest.

Some of our readers have gone beyond that. They have chosen their field of study, the area where priests behave sexually inappropriately. Thanks to Stephen (at the end of the article there is some personal information about his studies and interests), we are going deeper in our reflection. I wish to welcome you to read his findings.

Clerical Sexual Misconduct Involving Adults: Now a little less ‘unknown’

Everything is on his terms. I only see him when he wants to. If he doesn’t want to see me he avoids me for months and then when he wants to see me he comes back as he pleases. He doesn’t care if I’m crying or asking him to stop, then afterwards he says he loves me then I get so very confused because I love him and I don’t want to lose him. I hope and wish that he will marry me…… I feel special to be loved by such a holy man. But I also feel very guilty and dirty for having sex with a priest. I cry and tell him that I don’t want to do it but he doesn’t care that I’m crying. So I stop crying and let him do it in order to please him because I’m afraid that if I don’t please him I will lose him (Winnie, a divorced mother of one, seeking spiritual and psychological help from this cleric).

Although the relationship was consensual, in hind sight I feel that I was very vulnerable and taken advantage of. There was a huge power imbalance and I was left feeling very broken (Cathy, a student, and a parish housekeeper seeking support at the time).

Three years ago, I wrote an article titled Knowing the Unknowns of Clerical Sexual Misconduct (see http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=38542#.V79UwcUh5zU ). Clerical sexual misconduct involving adults (CSMIA) is one of those phenomena in the Church that everyone seems to ‘know’ about and yet few really actually have real ‘knowledge’ about. Thanks to the 23 women and 6 men who responded, I have been able to establish some important themes expressed throughout the stories of those 29 respondents. Similar themes were also found in the five other major studies reviewed along with many writers on the topic of CSMIA and topics closely related to it. Those themes poignantly summed up in Winnie’s and Cathy’s statement above, were language; power and vulnerability; and harm. These were discovered to be vital elements in understanding how their CSMIA was able to occur, how it was interpreted, how it was dealt with, and how it affected their lives. They are also three elements that need to be included in any discourse on CSMIA.

Language

I was extremely confused. The priest was telling me this was “love” and said I was “beautiful”. I felt wonderful while he was there, because his definition of what was happening was dominant. But afterwards I felt awful, sinful, depressed, seriously bad and often suicidal (Tanya, a young woman who had suffered both childhood sexual abuse and a rape one year before seeking this religious order priest’s help; emphasis hers).

I was finally able to have my case listened to a few months ago by a police constable who works for [withheld for privacy] who told me what happened to me was criminal abuse not misconduct…. It was the first time that I was actually given some confirmation that what happened was criminal abuse (Edith, a 29 year old married woman at the time, seeking spiritual guidance from a highly respected religious order priest).

Language and definitions surrounding CSMIA are of major importance in coming to a balanced understanding of the realities of victims/survivors of that CSMIA. If CSMIA continues to be defined as simply a mutually consensual affair, the most likely outcomes for the adult victims/survivors, past, present and future are a blaming of the victim and victim self-blaming, and a continuation of the harms that such outcomes produce. Evidence for this was found in most of the participants of this study. Women like ‘Winnie’ and ‘Cathy’ above, caught up in what can only be described as abusive ‘relationships’, both perceived their ‘relationships’ to be ‘affairs’ and even ‘consenting’ but few could agree with even their own perceptions. However, what the literature and the respondents to this survey also revealed is that once language changes, once the definitions of CSMIA and ‘affairs’ and a deeper and more accurate understanding of ‘consent’, change to ones which include abuse of power, abdication of fiduciary duty, and/or, the crossing of ethical and professional boundaries, more resolutionary outcomes result for the victim/survivor. As Margaret Kennedy, founder of MASCAS, explains:

Clergy may not force, and the woman may desire him, but he has constructed this context, in which he makes her responsible, whilst relinquishing his responsibility for the boundary-keeping he knows he, as the professional, should maintain.

Power and Vulnerability

I was depressed and frequently suicidal. In retrospect NONE OF IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED except that HE INITIATED a sexual relationship. I can say for absolute certain that, if it was up to me at all, I would have followed my sense that he was celibate and out of bounds. I fell for his bull-shit because I was convinced he was truly holy (Tanya).

I had to agree to providing a body massage in order to receive forgiveness for my sins (Andy – a single 20 year old man seeking help when the CSMIA began).

I had to prove my physical sexuality to him so I could be a Religious Brother with them. It was very confusing…He was a Brother of high standing and respect. I just trusted him but felt uncomfortable too (James, an 18-year-old novice in a religious order when the CSMIA began).

Why do you think you have the right to muscle in using your position of status to win over a vulnerable young girl with a disability (Ann, 19 years old when the CSMIA began).

He didn’t tell me God wanted us to have sex. He made out that it was between God and me and that I was to detach from him and just look at God [during the sex]. He spiritualized the whole thing….He said nobody would understand because it was so spiritual and that if I said anything it would completely destroy it and we would never be able to continue the relationship and that it would be my fault (Edit, 29 years old when the CSMIA began).

The evidence for clerical/positional/spiritual power as a tool for the abuse of the vulnerable and indeed any adults in the church, became patently obvious while undertaking this research. Almost all the respondents in this study described deep personal vulnerabilities at the time of CSMIA – half had already experienced sexual abuse as children. However, 24 of the 29 participants would not have come under the definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ found in recent diocesan and religious order Prevention and Protection Policies. It is only when positional vulnerability – related to age, gender and religious status; and personal vulnerability – the existence of a full range of significant issues in the lives of people, is juxtaposed with the positional and personal power of clerics and their institutions, that the power differential inherent in CSMIA can be clearly observed in action. Accordingly, positional and personal vulnerability, need to become part of the church’s and everyone’s understanding of how and why CSMIA is as common as it is. Until this occurs, the dominant perception of CSMIA as a relatively harmless ‘affair’ will continue to rule.

Harm

I had a nervous breakdown but continued to work. Whilst she [the mother superior/perpetrator] dyed her hair, I was pulling mine out….as a form of self-harm (Maria, a religious sister at the time; in parenthesis, hers).

What happened to me stole my adulthood and developing positive relationships with people in general, and men in particular. I feel so icky to have actually married and had children (Wendy, an 18 year old theology student at the time).

At 65 years old I am still trying to accept myself as a good and worthwhile person (Scott, sexually assaulted by his novice master as an 18-year-old in a religious order).

I felt I had to leave a work position that I truly loved because working where I did with this person in a power position became untenable (Sue, a woman working in a Catholic office).

If nowhere else, the evidence for CSMIA being abusive is revealed in the harms that CSMIA produces. While levels and lengths may have varied, the fact that some form and level of CSMIA-related harms existed in the lives of all the respondents in this study, was more than evident. The harms revealed in this study included deep and life-long psycho-spiritual disorientation, physical illnesses and sequelae of practical consequences which only compounded the difficulties they were already facing.

When the elements of language, power and vulnerability, and harm are included in discourses on CSMIA, many hitherto unaddressed dynamics are revealed such as grooming, consent obfuscation, and disclosure reluctance leading to continued suffering. Without their inclusion, CSMIA can never be fully revealed for what it is and a resulting lack of drive for justice and compassion-driven change follows. Justice and compassion are not needed if CSMIA is believed to be an ‘affair between mutually consenting adults’. According to such a definition, the event is an ‘affair’, not abuse, it involves a ‘consenting adult’, not a vulnerable person, and it is ‘mutual’ and, therefore, not exploitative.

In regards to the stories and responses in my study, the events they experienced cannot be defined as ‘affairs’. Nor have these stories been ones of decisive, compassionate, just and psychologically mature responses from the RCC, if their experiences were reported. A few found understanding, justice and compassion, as well as financial assistance to try to get their lives back into some form of equilibrium, but most did not, neither at the time, nor since. Their stories include the repercussions of secondary and very serious neglect, trauma and pain caused this time, by the institutional church’s responses.

For the 29 women and men who participated in my study, their experiences were and are real. Their pain and harm was and is real. Their desire for acknowledgment and healing, has also been, and is also still, very real. It is my belief that there are great numbers more of disempowered and offended against women and men, who, along with those in this study, long for their stories to be heard, and believed, and dealt with, in order to save their faith and/or restore their lives to some semblance of happiness. It is for this reason that the microphone was given to such people in this study. However, more people are needed to step up to the microphone and tell their stories. These participants, and those who are currently under the spotlight or in the news simply because they are seeking justice and compassion, (see Box, Dan. 2014. “Disabled woman sues top priest.” The Australian, August 08, 2014), are, for the most, still in a very lonely place.

The complete study can be found at https://eprints.qut.edu.au/96038/ .

Stephen de Weger has just completed his Master of Justice (Research) in the School of Justice – Faculty of Law at QUT. He is about to commence his PhD to further investigate CSMIA particularly how it has been dealt with by both secular and religious institutions. He will soon be seeking further men and women who are willing to share their stories about their experiences of sexual misconduct, and how both religious and criminal justice institutions have responded to them when, if they reported the misconduct. He is particularly interested in men’s experiences of clerical sexual misconduct as well as those who were themselves clerics or in religious life at the time of the misconduct as there is virtually no research in this area. He can be contacted at stephen.deweger@qut.edu.au.