Tag Archive: priest wets pants


I struggled even writing this, never mind trying to summarise almost 16 years of my on and off friendship with this person. I wanted to share my story to let others know that they’re not alone (because for a while, I felt very alone and as if no one could understand). If I’m being honest, I’m looking for advice and a resolution too. My name is MA and my priest is J.

I met J through a family friend; they were both attending seminary at the time. I was attending a mass for vocations and after, I went down to the church hall for refreshments. It was then that J caught my eye across the room and right away, I wanted to know: “who is HE?” I cannot tell you how silly I felt when my friend introduced him as a fellow seminarian (he was not dressed in his collar). We talked for a while and I was struck by his smile, his dimples, and his pure excitement about becoming a priest, as well as his commitment to our faith and God. Frankly, I was blown away by the sheer chemistry and energy radiating off him and between us. For the record, it was the first (and last) time someone had ever caught my eye in that way. Regardless, I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again.

The following summer, he was placed at my Mom’s church as an intern. Right away, we clicked. We often joined other parishioners for coffee, attended masses for vocations around my state, and he even met a few of my closest friends and family. At this point, I wasn’t thinking of J as anything other than a mentor of sorts, someone who I could talk about my faith with. He also seemed proud of my work in the healthcare field and we discussed helping others a lot. He shared he had been engaged prior to entering the priesthood and had needed to take a break from seminary in order to discern whether he was on the right path. J admitted he struggled with celibacy and the thought of not being a father.

By the end of that summer, we were even closer & I felt sad that I was losing my friend as he headed back to the seminary. I was also a little shocked and confused as to why he hadn’t yet asked me for my email (no cells back then!). He waited literally until minutes before leaving and heading back to ask me for my contact info. I wish I had seen the confusion I felt then for what it was— a foreshadowing of feelings that would characterize and haunt our relationship.

We continued to email at least weekly during his school year and then he started calling me at work. It happened so often, that I actually got in trouble. Not to mention, every time he called, he would say it was “Father J,” making the poor receptionist have a heart attack, thinking that something bad had happened to someone in my family. I was there for his transitional deaconate ceremony and celebrated with him after. He introduced me to his family and I became friends with some of his family members, often emailing them on a regular basis.

His last year of seminary, J. treated me much like the previous year, except our contact greatly increased. A few months before his ordination, he confided that he “wasn’t so sure he wanted to do this and that his biggest fear was getting to his mid-40’s and realizing that he wanted to be a husband and a father.” At this point, I was starting to become physically attracted to J. and finding him working his way into my thoughts more and more. I struggled between the desires of my heart, being a good Catholic and friend, and giving him unbiased advice. I tried to give the best advice I could, encouraging him to take a good, hard look at his motivations. J. basically summed it up as: “My parents want me to be a priest. Besides, what else would I do? I didn’t go to college.” At the time, he neglected to tell me he was a trained healthcare professional himself.

In the end, he followed through with being ordained and it was one of the proudest, yet hardest, days of my life (it still is). I knew how he had struggled with the academic work, his emotions, but persevered because of his strong faith. As he lied prostrate, it felt like a knife to my heart. I love my faith and God, so I felt guilty and ashamed for feeling this way. It was that very day, probably the proudest day of his life, that I realized I was in love with him. The irony was not lost on me.

J ended up in his first placement as a parochial vicar not far from where I live. He invited me to his first mass and told me that my being there helped to decrease his nerves. He also asked me to continue to attend mass there and I found no problem with this, as I was dating a man from the area and often spent my weekends there. J was aware of this and made it obvious he didn’t approve. Despite the tension that my having a significant other created, our friendship continued to strengthen and we started to create special moments together. One snowy Xmas Eve J. begged me not to leave, as he was “lonely” and estranged from some of his family at that time. I helped to advocate for a family member of his when insurance would no longer cover her chemotherapy and filled out numerous amounts of paperwork to get her additional resources. Meanwhile, my faith was growing stronger than ever, but so were my feelings for J. Looking back on it now, I find it odd how I never dreamed that he could possibly reciprocate those feelings; I was brainwashed and saw him as a priest, not a human being. A person not only who is capable of love, but might even be desiring it. It was only until J started acting funny that I questioned his intentions, but immediately dismissed them. He insisted I have a confession with him when I thought it was a conflict of interest and fought with me about not attending a pilgrimage to Italy with his church (I couldn’t afford it at the time, he offered to pay for me). After mass on a beautiful spring day, he offered to walk me to my car after we spent hours chatting and laughing after mass. A red flag went up; I found it strange because we were in a suburban, safe neighborhood, with my car tucked safely in the church parking lot, in broad daylight. However, I was used to his being courteous, and he always walked me to my car but it was always in the presence of fellow priests. I started to feel funny as I loaded my things into my car, only to turn and find him leaning against my door, in close proximity to me. I started to feel that awkwardness when a first date is ending and you don’t know if the guy is going to kiss you or not. I didn’t know if he was going to do or say something, but I knew whatever was coming would change things for both of us forever, so I literally pushed him away, said goodbye, and drove off. I remember, still to this day, seeing his face in my rearview and cried the whole way home. It was the last time I would see him for a decade. There are no words to describe how I felt that day, other than I loved him so much, I wanted to protect him. I also didn’t want to hurt God. I thought of J over the years and wondered if my gut intuition was right regarding his feelings for me and what he was going to do that day or if I totally misread the whole thing.

To make an already long story longer (kudos if you read this far), I ended up lapsing and not going to church for 6 years. I would be lying if I said my love for J wasn’t part of it. However, my faith and spirituality never faltered. It is my main coping mechanism despite chronic health issues and frankly, it’s what keeps me going. About a year ago, I started to get serious about returning to church and yearned for a place where I wouldn’t be judged, feel comfortable, and not be forced by the pastor to get involved behind the scenes in various roles (this has been an issue for me in almost every church I’ve attended). I looked up J to see where he was and found he was assigned to a parish in the same city I work. I attempted to contact him via parish email to break the ice and make it less awkward for us both if I decided to show up. Naively, I figured that so many years had passed; there would be no harm in seeing him again. I assumed he’s now an experienced pastor, that I have grown leaps and bounds and am pretty good at detecting red flags (that’s what happens folks when you’ve been dating since 15!), and that my feelings for him had leveled out because of lack of contact. I even prayed continuously and agonized over my decision. I prepared myself for seeing someone who might have changed in ways I would not appreciate, expected him to be different, even prepared myself that he might have a significant other (yes, we all know the reality). Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I’ve dealt with since my return.

He claims he never got my email message and within minutes of sitting down at my first mass there, I realized my instincts and gut feelings so many years ago were spot on. He turned pale, then beet red, stumbling over his words, hands shaking when he gave me communion, fidgeting when sitting on the altar. I have seen him drop the Eucharist once or twice and it was always the person before me in line. I cannot tell you how awful I felt, as if I was causing him to feel uncomfortable on his own turf and screw up his at his job.

I have never had a more awkward conversation, as I attempted to explain my presence to him. He couldn’t even look me in the eye and reprimanded me for disappearing all those years ago and not telling him why. I think he sees my leaving years ago as rejection, not the protection I intended. However, he never contacted me to see if everything was ok either. I was struck how emotionally immature he seemed, able to interact with parishioners quite easily, but not with me. For some reason with me it seems different; it’s hurtful and painful. J insists he “likes having me there and it’s not awkward for him,” but I don’t feel he’s being honest. There are days he’s friendly and like old J I knew, we laugh and talk with no issues. Then there are others where he ignores me and I don’t know how to act myself. I have always felt comfortable talking to a wide range of people, especially males; I am a tomboy and have mostly male friends. I talk and listen to people for a living, so to be struggling like this is a foreign concept for me. People always tell me that I am easy to talk to, that they feel like they’ve known me for years, and can trust me with anything. It says something that I don’t know how to act when I’m around J.

Over the summer, I started taking J’s unwillingness to open up personally. I also noticed his friendliness and closeness to another female parishioner our age, who is married and whose husband holds a highly respected job. She is actively involved in the parish in a variety of roles and donates a substantial amount of money to the church. I have seen him engage in a way that I think is inappropriate for a pastor to engage with a parishioner but then I think: “am I just biased? Is it purely the fact that she gives money?” I am aware the church is a business. I don’t find that a comfort though—it makes me think less of him and get angry. If money is what he bases his friendships on, I find it sad and hypocritical. I can’t afford to give thousands to my church, but it doesn’t mean I love God any less. I also don’t want to think of the alternative, that she’s special to him in a way she shouldn’t be.

I struggle to understand why he has no issue interacting with this woman but gets nervous and discombobulated around me. I feel jealous and frustrated, as if I’m on an emotional roller coaster. I’m beginning to think we weren’t as close as I thought.

As soon as I pull away emotionally and get to a good place, it seems as if J can almost sense it, and he’ll do something to pull me back in. One day, it was telling how he was struggling. I didn’t want to talk personal issues in front of other parishioners, so I told him to text or call, whatever he felt comfortable with if he needed someone to talk to. It’s something I would do for any friend in need. He’s never once texted, emailed, or called. It’s disconcerting when we used to talk every single week, almost daily. I began thinking if it weren’t for Mary and the Eucharist, I’d consider becoming Protestant. I struggled over the summer to see how my faith could continue to grow in this church, but I didn’t feel like leaving either. I like the people, feel comfortable for the most part, and was doing fine when I got to a peaceful place about J. Finally, I got to a good place emotionally and it lasted for a few months. I was proud of myself.

That all changed. After recently experiencing a serious trauma, suddenly nothing mattered—not J, not this other woman—nothing was as important and crucial to my well-being as God and my faith. I am so thankful and grateful not only to be alive, but to have come to see it as a learning experience that readjusted my priorities. J was involved in my healing process and was honest; he admitted it scared him to see me that way. He told me that “out of all people, you don’t deserve this.”

Since then, I have noticed J. attempting to connect with me, but his immaturity and arrested development often get in the way and act as an obstacle in growing our friendship. He does small things, often within homilies or during prayers that I know are geared towards me. At first, I found myself thinking: “am I narcissistic? Egocentric? I think that was meant for me!” But then a smile or direct eye contact will reassure me, yes, I’m not crazy. I still find my mind drifting off to him, like a school girl with a crush. I feel sad, confused, angry, worried, and alone; it’s not exactly as if I can talk to just anyone about this. There are times, though, when I’m talking to him or praying with him, that I feel such joy and love, love for not only J, but an overwhelming love and closeness to God. One of J’s smiles can send me floating for days.

That being said for me, knowledge is power. I have actually sought out support groups online and in the process, read research and many books about this issue. Yes, women love priests. Some because it’s a challenge, some because they “lack self-esteem,” others because they love the priest not for his role, but because of the amazing man beneath the collar. I fall in this last category; I love J. for who he is, not WHAT he is. Yes, I’ve said it; I’m in love with a priest. It feels freeing to finally say those words. And I am no longer naïve to the fact that priests often love a woman back. I have rationalized my awareness that this man may indeed love me back for way too long. The key is he’ll never love me back in the way I deserve or need. I’ve come to understand that there is no happy ending in this situation. Will I ever tell J how I feel? Probably not, although if he directly calls me out on it, I wouldn’t lie. I don’t plan on leaving his church any time soon either, but don’t have plans to pursue more than a friendship. Believe me, if J ever tells me he’s leaving the priesthood, I’d be the first one (in a long line of women I’m sure) ready and eager to pursue a relationship, one that we both deserve and would be on equal footing.

Meanwhile, I plan on devoting some of my energy to advocating for the married priest movement. Why shouldn’t priests be able to marry? I find it ironic, as they speak about love and counsel married couples. Should a man who has chosen to spread the word of God be “punished” by an inability to experience God’s greatest gift—love? There is no way that anything that involves love can be a sin because it is of God. Period.

In ending, thank you for reading my story. It is because of the courage of the many folks who contribute to this blog that I was finally able to tell my story. I know many of you will relate to me and support me, but I’m also aware that others may think my feelings are wrong and am prepared for possible criticism. If you’re in the latter group, I only ask you to think of how it felt when you first experienced love: the excitement, the joy, and the confusion at times. Be kind to one another and may God continue to bless us all on our individual journeys.

Merry Christmas to All! Readers, let’s be charitable by finding the right phrase or writing, to help this lady.

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Let’s make it crystal clear at the very beginning: we never force any adult to take any decision. It’s up to the person to walk in the direction he wishes to discover. On the other hand, we are never going to promote clandestine relationships between priests and women. We firmly believe that the amount of stress, risks and guilt feelings are too much for both the woman and the priest in order to lead a hidden life. It is not ethical that while the priest preaches to others what to do, he himself lives a lie.

On the hand, let’s discuss openly and give some common directions to priests who are walking in this unique and particular journey. Falling in love is not a sin. Can we put it into the priest’s soul? We know that the priest has been brainwashed for many years with the mentality that love and priesthood are not compatible. Talking with other priests seem to be worse as most of them will force the priest to abandon the golden relationship with this special friend. It seems that they don’t have any doubts or second thoughts. It’s another alarm which sounds quite aloud as some persons seem to have all the answers in the world…for others! Yet some simple questions will paint the situation rather accurate: did they ever experience love? Did they ever communicate with another person on a special level? Most of them find refuge behind a wall of denial and copied truths which were handed down without ever being questioned.

What is this sudden love urge for one single person? Why is this person so special? Why did it enter into his locked up heart? How was the priest living his relationship with God? Was he successful in building mature relationships with other adults? What is God trying to say to the priest? It’s a wake up call. Obviously these questions have to be answered individually and personally. We cannot photocopy answers as each priest has to give his own particular answer!

The crisis in the spiritual life is not a negative experience. It’s the call for growth. God does not leave us in the same situation for long. Life itself changes many times. We have to face some new challenges. Sometimes the challenges will help us get out of a stagnant life.

The priest can decide that the challenge is too much. He might feel at odds with such challenge. In that case, one should at least be open and sincere with the woman concerned and not leave her hanging on for ever! It’s cruelty if one leaves the other partner in a permanent limbo! On the other hand, the fire that started to burn in his heart, should be listened to in order to start a fire in all his pastoral work. His out of the blues love relationship was not superficial. He has to translate the same enthusiasm and sparkle in his work.

In the case that the priest is doubtful about his work in the church or is at odds with the teaching of the church, he has to resolve the case. Either he believes in his work within the church, or else steps aside in order to find power, energy and spiritual growth in his life.

Stepping aside might lead to new, convincing answers ie. a mature growth in his faith. He might continue as a priest with a new energy. If not, he has to decide that he can’t live a lie and to walk in a different path.

What’s new in all our opinions, is that going for a married life does not mean that one has lost his faith and neither that he has acted like Judas who kissed Jesus for hidden motives! It means that one has to live his faith with a new pair of eyes: that of a married priest. It will help one to revise all the teaching one has received since childhood! We know that this is actually a revolution in one’s life. But this is what is needed in the church of today. If the experience of a married priest becomes worldwide, all the theological writings will have to be edited! Like a snake who has shed his old skin, all things will come alive in the new church.

It’s an old/new way to present priesthood. It’s old, because most of the apostles were married and so were some of the popes! New, because around 1000 years ago, Roman Catholic Priests stopped getting married!

Without being hurtful to the church, we do notice that most of the young people will never step inside a church unless they see the face of the humanity in it! Seeing the priests getting married and facing most common everyday challenges will help them realise that they are not far away from the kingdom of God! Let’s face it, in most European countries [with some exceptions), churches have become empty spaces! Are we happy to see the church die?

One final note. Christmas reminds us that a woman (Virgin Mary) brought the human and frail child to this world. Do we need women to revive our religion today? Married priests is another step which brings recognition to the hidden work done by many women who are the backbone of our religion, but who are not at the centre of publicity! Like Mary, they bring forth a new child to the world!

Guidelines for women!

We’ve been gaining experience for these last 21 years in our marrried priests’ movement! We have come to a point where we can be in a better position to help both the priest and the woman who are in love.

One of the aspects which has been built on, is the number of tips given to women in order to understand better their position. We are not abandoning the priest neither, but this time we’re giving out some practical guidelines to the women out there!

We insist that a relationship starts very early when most probably both persons are not aware of some dynamics going on! It happens in all the world and in all countries, but we’re trying to help the woman notice that the red bulb is lit! The fact that people meet, relationships are formed, with or without our knowledge! Now as the saying goes, it takes two to tango! The starting up might be totally innocent or innocuous, but the continuing needs both sides of the relationship! At one moment they will realise that things have gone too far and a decision is needed. We’re of the opinion that until that moment comes, one could avoid all heart breaking and other damages by being alert to many ‘hidden’ signals.

As usual we’re asking for some help from our readers to add, delete or comment about the coming lines.

Women are guided in order NOT to:

• invite the priest to her house nor go to the priest’s house alone;
• give her personal number unless requested for professional services in the church
• [in that case one has to keep all conversations on a professional basis];
• allow the priest to make a conversation based on his personal life;
• allow any provocative kisses, touching or patting;
• to dream about the priest as the perfect future husband;
• talk about her personal life in a secluded and closed room;
• let any conversation take on the form of a lovers’ chat room;
• let the priest communicate [through social media] on a daily basis and/or too frequently;
• let the priest say or write romantic words;
• let the priest promise that he is on the verge of leaving priesthood [or similar words];
• let the priest openly show that he is at odds with the church;
• accept presents from the priest;
• become his saviour especially when things fail in his parish;

The signs of the times are calling for married priests in the Roman Catholic church. It’s not far fetched but we do feel that the wind is blowing in that direction. On the other hand, we are standing on the ground and not flying too high. It’s not going to be an easy change. This is because for various reasons. One of them is, that many people want progress but nobody wants to change.

If the church really wants married priests, how are they going to call for vocations with the present circumstances? The church calls itself the expert in humanity. Yet, do workers in the church have the best conditions of work? Is the church ready to preach by example? How many married men are going to join the church with the present conditions? What type of hindrance keeps married men from joining priesthood? Can we alter something in order to attract the best possible candidates? The financial package is not to be forgotten, plus spiritual, humanistic and intellectual formation.

On the part of the laity, are they prepared to study theology and other studies to give a professional service to their parish? Studying means many years of studies. On the other hand one can’t have a course similar to the one provided for non-married priests where they can afford 6 to 7 years without gaining money. How can they receive married ones while maintaining the responsibility of the family?

What about the general reflection about the family? Are the married ones expected just to obey? Are we prepared to re-write the whole ‘relationship’ chapter in the theological studies from the point of view of married priests? Are these married priests to be given their right to give a unique feedback to the general church?

One of interesting debates is when married priests have teens themselves. Even when they preach to the congregation their own teens will be there! That means somebody who is trying to live the gospel. This week I met some families who are complaining that there teens are abandoning the Sunday Mass!! That would already be a tough challenge for married ones. Yet, the challenge itself could prove to be a witness to many other families!

Speaking about the teens, what about the women. Is the wife of the pastor going to be a silent spectator? Or is she going to get a significant role in the running of the parish? After all, like many other women she is the silent supporter of her husband’s work! She is the one to help him going on. She could be the voice of many other women who are still living in the periphery of the parish!

With all this in mind, it makes sense to call back all those priests who have left. Why? Because they have something which new candidates don’t have: experience! Once they were at the centre of activity in the parish. In these last years, they have lived their most difficult time of their lives. They know how one feels when one is discarded in society. That makes them better candidates to look at those in society who feel not welcomed anymore. Those discarded have always been an important part of the church. It’s the new generation which will form up the new church. It’s not a surprise that most married priests welcome all kinds of people who are in different phases of faith!

Priests today have a dark cloud above their heads owing to the sexual abuse crisis. Yet married priests could prove vital to thwart that conception of priesthood. This is another hidden asset of married priesthood which could link the church with the outside world once again.

The word argument might have a negative connotation for some people in some particular cultures. Well, many years ago it was the basic form of education in the old times (referring to Greek and Roman times). People used to bring the hearsay to ‘old’ people in order to hear their views about it.

The so called ‘old’ teachers had the knack of building up an argument in order to expose their teaching. So the argument was an excuse to spread their way of thinking. There weren’t classes as such but the so called arguments took place in the square where all the people used to mingle (whether for business, curiosity, to hang out or simply to gossip!)

We too can start from what the people say and think and take it up to the next level. We should show our way of presenting the argument.

One of the most famous (or infamous!) hearsay is that of sexual abuse which might happen if priests are not allowed to get married. We have to be extra careful how we present it as our adversaries might tell us that married people too abuse young children. But it doesn’t mean we have to drop this side of the argument. Let’s get deep down.

Both single and married people abuse children. That’s a fact. Nobody can deny it. But is it for the same reason? Now this is the side of the argument that most of them forget. Let’s give an example: stealing. A poor person might steal because it needs to. Does it mean that rich people don’t steal? No sir. They steal TOO. But they do it for a different reason.

The same with sexual abuse coming from unmarried priests. Yes the lack of sexual expression might lead to different forms of sicknesses. One of them is to reach out for young, inexperienced and virgin young boys and girls. This has been proved in many scientific studies. Just to mention a comparison it’s like somebody who is dying of hunger and sees the trash bin of somebody. Without thinking twice he would open it and eat the first food item found, forgetting about getting sick from such food! Yes some unmarried priests sometimes are craving for just a handshake! Most of them would like to have a sexual encounter in their deepest and hidden wishes. They are practically being crucified everyday! They simply go nuts when the perfume of a woman enters their office. This is the environment when sexual abuse of children takes place. No one can deny it! They can’t contain their sexual appetite and consequently they express it on the most vulnerable section of society – children!

Married people too abuse young and inexperienced young children. Again we emphasize, but it’s for a different reason.

We are not simply going to give permission to an abuser to get married in order to solve the problem! That would be complete nonsense!

But why are we asking for married priesthood then?

The first primary reason is the bible. How could we encourage people to read the bible and then go against the bible? Most of the apostles were married. How can we justify that our priests today go against the bible? If we start making excuses for not following the bible then all teaching will fall away!

Secondly, we firmly believe that a priest with a woman at his side would change his outlook on life, spirituality and philosophy of work completely. We can’t simply insist on the mentality that men alone are better qualified for the job. As time passes by, we notice that teens who are still coming to church, in most cases have a very active mum (in the religious sense)!! Mums, in many cases are doing a priest’s job by speaking about God to children and bringing Him alive to them. In many parishes, the contribution of women is often hidden. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not important!

Married priesthood is going to be the starting point of a new revolution where all the teaching of the church has to be: reflected on, shared, discussed and action taken upon! All this enveloped in an environment of prayer. Let’s not be afraid of the Holy Spirit who speaks in different times and in different ways though various and unexpected people!

A priest-in-love writes to us!

Finally we have a priest who is speaking about his heart adventures!! Well, I’m not promising anyone that he is going to answer all questions or any questions at all. At least we can have a glimpse about how he seas this new person in his life. Maybe some day in the future he will continue to reveal more about his life in the parish. Obviously we are hiding his identity for practical purposes.

I’m Gabriel, a Catholic priest in my late 50s. 

I was ordained when I was in my mid-20s.

I’m 5 foot 10 inches (1.8 metres) tall. I’m fit and lean: a testament to the control I use when choosing only clean living and what goes into my body.

I’m a busy Pastor where I spend 8-12 hours a week driving between my rural parishes and diocese offices. On my “day off” I enjoy swimming and video chatting with friends and family. 

I’m a happy priest and I feel loved and admired by my parishioners: especially the seniors many of whom I have formed a close bond with.  In fact, they love me so much that they petitioned the diocese to keep me in their parishes instead of moving the Pastor every 2 years as is the norm in my diocese.  I’ve been there for nearly 7 years now.  

I thrive on the predictability of my daily life as a Pastor. I like to be in control of my world and refers to myself as “somewhat of a control freak”, though I’m very careful to never try to exert control over others.

I would like to share with you about something which happened today that shook my inner self.

Today I saw a woman. She is new, but somehow seems familiar.  There is something about her.  Something that draws me in and is enticingly frightening,  Like I’m playing with fire and want to get burned.

Something.  I can’t put my finger on it.

She has this sadness in her eyes.  Those eyes, big, beautiful and brooding. Sad, but sparkling – How does that work??  She looks healthy enough but yet seems frail and fragile.
 She is wearing makeup.  Why? to cover something up?  Not some physical imperfection, but something else that she doesn’t want the world to see?   I imagine her with no makeup.  Freshly showered, clean, hair wet.  Oh no, don’t go there!.  I’m immediately trying to guess her age.  Young, too young.  I guess about 15 years younger than me.  My brain starts arguing with itself – Too young for what exactly?  Stop it you fool!

I introduce myself.  I don’t even know what I said, in all probability something absurd, because for some reason, I’m not thinking clearly.  I wonder if she thinks I’m examining her a little too closely so I avert my gaze towards the other parishioners, only to look back to find that she is still looking at me.  Now I’m embarrassed.  Do I look okay?  Is my hair messed up?  Can she see into my soul?  Okay, gain your composure.  Act professional.  You’re not a teenager!  What is wrong with me?  I’m sure she thought I’m an idiot.  Oh no, I feel like I’m staring.  What in the world is happening here?  I shake her hand and somehow my other hand comes up and I have her hand in both of mine now.  I think probably that’s a little too friendly too soon but I’m committed now and  I blurt out “I hope to see you again – WE hope to see you again”.  She thanks me and leaves and I have to consciously remind myself not to watch her walk all the way through the welcoming area and out the door.
You’re acting like a fool Father.  Don’t feel much like a “Father” right now.

I go back to the elder I was speaking to before who immediately says “She’s lovely isn’t she?”  Oh my Lord.  What an imbecile I am.  Now I’ve embarrassed myself twice already in a span of about 2 minutes.  I don’t answer and try to resume the conversation we were having before my brain and my heart decided to go their separate ways.  But I can’t focus and feel the need to find quiet and solitude. Nevertheless, I carry on with all the necessaries and all the niceties I’m on cruise control, robotic.  All the while I want to bolt to the parking lot in case I can catch another glimpse of her.

I should have asked the elder who she is.  She seemed to know her.  No, that would be a huge mistake.  Oh well, it’s too late now. 
Why am I so out of control?  Why do I not feel like a priest right now?  I’m feeling guilty already.  Why?  Have I done something wrong?  Maybe I should talk to someone.  No, I don’t want to do that either.  I’m probably reading way too much into this.

I find myself praying that she comes back again but I feel thrown off.  Maybe I don’t want her to come back.  God help me.  What is happening?  I feel unsettled. 
A missed opportunity, or perhaps I dodged a bullet. 

I spend the rest of the day trying to get her out of my mind and trying to determine whether I am happy that I met her or not.  And to regain my confidence which is inexplicably shaken.

The Red Line for priests

Noticing the lack of comments by priests on our blog, I feel it’s my job to try to fill it in. Obviously I can’t speak for all priests. Yet I’m trying to keep in mind the hundreds of stories I have read, listened to and witnessed personally. The invitation is still valid for priests involved in romantic stories to write their own opinion. Please do write your opinion! Obviously we promise to keep their names, place etc….in secrecy.

The red line means when the priest should stop and reflect and take a decision: either to continue to delve into the relationship or else stop the relationship for good. We are never going to take that decision for anybody. It’s the couple which has to decide which way to go forward, preferrably by mutual consent.

First: The first and most dangerous assumptions by priests is that once sex didn’t take place, then everything is ok and one can continue walking in the same direction!

This is due first and foremost for lack of formation during the priests’ training period. Relationships start once people get to know each other. From the priests’ way of life, relationships start earlier because the priest, being a public person, is exposing his thoughts, beliefs etc…in the public during the homilies delivered each and every Sunday. Most people feel that the priest is not simply filling up the time during the ceremony but exposing who he really is. In fact most people approach the priest to talk about personal challenges after listening to his homilies.

Second: most of the priests live all alone nowadays. Whether they are aware of it or not, most of them are craving for a little bit of attention from a person who does not visit the parish simply to be served. Once a person gives them some attention, they are hooked to that person because most people in the parish visit the pastor simply because there is a need to be filled (like signing papers etc..). Most people assume that priests do not feel lonely because they are all the time accompanied by crowds. Obviously crowds might make somebody feel more lonely!

Third: priests are trained to work all the time. Most of them have to visit families because of various reasons or meet people in the office. When a priest starts to speak more about himself than about God, most probably he is already beyond the red line! This is the time when connections turn into a deep relationship.

Fourth: the fact that most people talk about personal issues, they never meet in a public place but rather in a closed office or room which might give rise to inappropriate relationship. Priests having a personal issue with lack of sex, touch or affection might feel it’s the appropriate moment (because of secrecy) to take advantage of the opposite sex!

Fifth: priests who are struggling with pornography, alcohol abuse, excessive travelling abroad etc… should seek professional help and not keep everything inside. It might come out in an explosive manner. Just to make it easier to understand one can try to keep a ball under the water for some time. One can release it. It comes up with a massive force! That’s what happens when a person keeps some issues well hidden. One day they might come out in unexpected manner. The damage is immense.

Sixth: the priest although he preaches to the others, might be passing through a period of lack of faith. He has to talk to somebody who can guide him through the delicate phase. It happens to everybody. There is nothing to be ashamed of. No one can grow up in faith without challenges! The fact that he might not feel ok with the church or with faith, could be a trigger to go away and leave active priesthood! This another unknown path where many priests pass through.

Seventh: problems with his own faith community or with his superiors might again trigger his temptation to leave everything behind and start a new life. Not everybody finds himself comfortably guiding a local faith community. Some of the priests I spoke to, where placed in parishes which were a complete mix-match with the formation and character of the priest. A clear example is transferring a young priest to a parish where the average age of the parishioners was over 60! But this does not concern just the age bracket, because one could be in a so called ‘young’ parish, yet the parishioners seem to be living in another era!

Eight: this one, is again misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with the priest nor with the woman. They simply fall in love. Some love relationships start when nobody is looking for love. Chemistry has it’s own unique way of attracting people together! Besides, love is not a switch to press on and off at will! There are various examples of people who went to another part of the world in order to forget a loved person….yet in the end they realised that it was simply useless. One cannot stop real love from growing and flowing nicely around! Some readers did point out that God is love after all, so why do we resist such manifestation of his presence?

Ninth: most priests took their vow or promise of celibacy when they were so young. Now they do realise the meaning and the consequence of such a special way of life. Can they be held responsible for something which took place without their full awareness or maturity? Not all people can be classified as adults although having 18 years of age or more. People mature on various levels and at different time levels. Emotional level is a very tricky one! To determine one’s emotional true age might be very challenging!!

Readers, you are invited to comment and add to our observations! May God Bless you all!

Many people will ask every now and then….why don’t you priests, who have left the parish, convert to another religion?

Well everybody is free to answer that question according to his concience. There are no right or wrong answers. But surely one of the reasons which keeps us in the Catholic Church is the number of ecclesial documents which make us proud of our church! We studied, prayed and experienced the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Now we have this document by Pope Francis about the unique and rich area of the pan-amazonia.

It’s truly the true church which this pope is trying to make stronger. It is not simply a visit to this region. He wants to learn how they are successful in making the church a strong social element where others have failed (especially in Europe where churches are becoming similar to museums).

It is lead by the common people (women included which lead some to think that he is in favour of women priests). They do discuss many issues (mostly ecological but including justice). They decide which path to take. Finally they go for it! They are enlarging or putting under the religious discussion subjects which at first glance have nothing to do with religion. On the other hand it’s listening to what the people feel the need to discuss, which in the end is illuminated by the bible. It is the people’s church.

Unfortunately most journalists already missed the point by selecting one or two issues. It will be interesting to see how politicians are going to react to this document.

Surprisingly in many countries, nothing is heard of this document. We are referring to Catholic news agencies. As one commentator has commented, it seems that part of the church is boycotting Pope Francis!!

Let’s come to our part where it has given hope to many people that future priests maybe married. Well, it’s not simply that married priests are going to be part of the future and that’s it! The church has to become owned by the common people. The people have to show their fears, hopes, dreams etc… The communities have to become vibrant. Obviously, the communities are lead by couples. In this context, the couple which is animating the community, could be ordained a priest (referring to the man).

Introducing married priests in a church where the community is practically dead won’t bring about the necessary changes! Secondly, simply putting a married couple in a church where they don’t know the community and the community doesn’t know them, would be risking a lot.

We know that many people haven’t been to Amazonia or Latin America. One of the fundamental differences with Western Europe is that the spirit of community is so high! This is not only for the church but rather on every social level. It’s like the old life in our villages where everybody greeted each other and took care of each other.

The second reflection is that the church should be concerned with the environment. One because the environment is truly important (St. Francis had a long vision in this area notwithstanding living in the middle ages). This shows that the church is concerned with what the people experience. It’s not a study about religion with no reference to today! As one had said, one hand on the bible and one hand on the newspaper (referring to today’s concerns).

An interesting part is that of questions. I think it’s unheard of that the Vatican publishes questions in order to help all those discussing the theme! It’s another first for Pope Francis.

Readers have every right to access the document published by the vatican here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi, my name is Christina. I have been reading this blog for a very long time, and it is only today that I found the courage to go ahead and tell a little of my story. This is mainly because I refuse to let it go on any longer. It is in some way a kind of closure on my behalf, and a hope that other women won’t allow themselves to go through the same pain and torment as I have.

Around 10 years ago I met my priest and I had just separated with my fiancée at the time with whom I was still friends with. My fiancée had decided that he was being called to the priesthood and no longer felt called to marriage! My priest was aware of this being as we both attended his church. However, my fiancée and I remained friends and he continued to attend Church with me up until he left for seminary.

I think this is how it all started with my priest. I think he was trying to offer some kind of consolation.

It was a few days after Mass and the first time my priest saw me with my fiancée, my priest asked me who my fiancée was. I told him the situation but he just said “Ah, ok” and appeared deep in thought as if he wanted to ask more questions. I thought nothing of it and as Mass had finished, I just went home. From then on, the priest would stare at my fiancée and myself during Mass, and he would only ever speak to me and never to my fiancée.

A few months passed and I contacted the priest as I needed to have confession. (My fiancée had now left for seminary.) Once confession had finished, he offered refreshments and we were conversing as would be friends. We are around the same age and found that we had a lot of similar interests. We got chatting and he began to tell me that he also had a partner before he entered seminary. He seemed to be able to relate to what I was going through and it was more like a conversation with a friend. He asked for my number, so we exchanged numbers and he told me that I could contact him at any time. I told him that I wouldn’t want to take up his time but he said that he always has time for me. I felt very comforted and reassured to know this as I was understandably quite upset that my fiancée had left. I remembered how he said that I could contact him at any time and there was a period after my fiancée left that I was feeling very down and lonely.

I sent a message to the priest and told him how I was feeling. Thinking back now, he must have felt sorry for me. He invited me to see a show. I regret sending this message now as I feel I may have tempted him without even realising I was doing so. I only went to him as I found him easy to speak with and he seemed very understanding of what I was going through. (None of my friends or family could understand why my fiancée left me to join the priesthood.) Anyway, my priest and I went to see the show and started to grow what I believed was a friendship. We then met again socially on other occasions.

I started to find it odd that he would be so friendly and we would have such a nice time, then I wouldn’t hear from him for months. I once sent him a message to which he didn’t reply, and after a few weeks I messaged again asking if I had done something wrong. He replied in apology for not responding and we arranged to meet. We then met again and saw another show, but all the time I was naively thinking nothing of it on a romantic level. It was after one of our meetings when we were walking along together, that I became aware something was beginning to develop, a feeling that was almost sensed between us, but nothing was said. I knew at this time that I was beginning to fall in love with him and I had no idea if he felt the same.

After this meeting, I didn’t see or hear from him for 3 years and he moved to a different parish. This was a very difficult time for me as not only did I feel I had lost a friend but also felt guilty for having these feelings of love for a priest. I became depressed and was so confused as there was no contact or no explanation.

After 3 years, I received a message from him asking to meet him. Before we met, I was honest with him and told him that I had fallen in love with him. He said that he liked me also but has had to control his feelings. He told me that he was going through a difficult time and decided to take a leave of absence. Not at any time did he say that he did this because of me, so it was all a little bit confusing. We then met on a few occasions and kissed passionately but never had any sexual relations as we always met in public. Had we not been in public, it would definitely have gone further. Things then started to become strange. Any conversation we started became awkward. I asked him if he felt anything for me and he seemed frustrated by my question and did not answer with a direct yes or no answer, but because of his frustration I didn’t want to push it.

It was after this day that he suddenly decided to stop the contact after having spent a really nice time together, and again with no explanation. I tried to contact him but he wouldn’t respond to any messages. After a period of time, he went back to priesthood to which he is managing more than one parish. I have not heard from him since. I became very depressed and have felt suicidal. He has never told me what changed his mind and this has been the most difficult thing for me to deal with. I don’t think that I will ever be able to even begin to recover from this until I have some kind of explanation, but I don’t think that he will ever do this and I don’t understand why.

It has taken me another 3 years to begin to start accepting that nothing will ever come of this because I haven’t heard from him and he will not respond to any communication that I send him. I am devastated and for obvious reasons can’t tell anyone about this situation. I feel forced into silence and suffering, and I am grieving. I fell in love with him and I don’t think this feeling will ever go away.

I’m not sure if he ever felt anything for me as he never actually told me that he loved me. I don’t think I will ever be able to trust another man again, and I don’t attend Church anymore due to a guilty conscience.

Thanks Christina for sharing. You have come to the right place. We know that falling in love is NOT a crime, even with a priest. You did nothing wrong. It’s the priest who should know have known better. At least on a human level he should have spoken very clearly and explained his odd behaviour (we have become familiar with such odd behaviour though!). Please do not punish yourself. God understands our human flesh because he was human too. He is not keeping account of what we do wrong. He is so merciful (just read so many messages from the present Pope Francis). In our opinion it’s time to turn to God to receive his understanding, mercy and infinite love. He does not love us if we behave well! He was always in the company of well known and public sinners. The only time that he was really angry was twice: when they turned His temple into an economical activity and when the priests of that time were totally double faced, they played the role of good people when viewed in public, but behaved differently when all alone……….He never treated sinners in a bad way. On the contrary he is prepared to leave the 99 sheep to go and look for the missing one!

We’re putting you on our prayer wheel. May God Bless you!