Tag Archive: the daphne project


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!

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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!

I’m Abigail. The Reverend Father is Alex. Basically, we met at a small parish in a rural town in Minnesota. I wanted to convert to Catholicism and after meeting with him for 9 months, I was baptized and confirmed by him during Easter Vigil. Our meetings usually lasted around 2-3 hrs.

We never kissed but we’re the same age and had tons of weird stuff in common. He’d tell me things like, “you’re a very beautiful girl” and “nothing is off the table where you and I are concerned”. He was very confusing in the way he phrased things. I’ve been in love with him for months and I think he feels the same. However, I brought a male friend to my baptism and now Fr. Alex won’t look at me and didn’t respond to my message. He announced last Sunday that his last day would be June 20th. His term was supposed to be for 12 years but now he’s mysteriously leaving after just 2 years???

I shook his hand as I was leaving Mass (as is customary) and he wouldn’t even look at me. He didn’t look at me during his announcement, either.

I asked Abigail some direct questions. Here are the answers.

How was he during the those 9 months? Did he act more like a man than a priest?

He openly adjusted/scratched his genitalia in front of me once. He used crude language often, all the swear words, even the F word. He told me that all every man thought about was sex and how good it feels and how much they need it and want it (even though I didn’t ask him that and it had nothing to do with our conversation.) His language was always overtly sexual. He was constantly saying things like ‘screw’, ‘fuck’, etc. He talked about breasts a lot, too and mentioned pornography a lot.

Did he ever sit next to you (touching you) ?

He always wanted me to sit at the end of the table, while he sat on the right of me. The closest we could possibly be at the table. Oftentimes when we were standing, he’d stand so close to me that our shoulders touched. He didn’t pull away.

What other kind of language you think was weird for a priest parishioner relationship? Did he ever use any body language to hint that he wanted more from you?

Besides the overtly sexual language, he told me we could meet ‘informally’ outside of the church anytime I wanted to. One time we were talking and he was trying to remove his coat and he was so engaged with me and staring at me that he couldn’t focus to remove his coat and he said, “Damn, I’m all fucked up today.”

How do you know that you’re in love? Can you prove that he loves you? What signs does he give to you to make you think that he is in love?

We were in the sanctuary and we just stared at each other for over a minute with intense eye contact (‘bedroom eyes’) and he mimicked my body language as if our bodies/torsos were in sync. He described his old girlfriends and their description was the exact same as my description, down to hair and eye color and interests. He’d follow me after our meetings until I turned down a side street. He got noticeably quiet when I’d talk about my past lives and he even chastised me for having a long term boyfriend. I broke up with the guy and anytime he was mentioned Fr would say, “I bet he just wants to have sex with you! That’s what he wants is sex! If you talk to him, he’s going to think that you’ll have sex with him!” Sex, sex, sex!

Was he in competition then with your male friend?

I brought 4 people to my baptism. A married couple, an older lady, and my friend Eric. He made it a point to talk to them and engage them in conversation, all except Paul. He did not even shake his hand but he shook my other guests hands. He wouldn’t even look at Paul and was extremely cold, to the point that my other guests asked me what Fr Alex issue was with Paul. He was baptizing another person on the same night as my baptism and he didn’t even go speak to the other persons guests. He ignored them. He spent 20 minutes after with me & my guests though, totally unsolicited.

Abigail is one of our readers who have the courage to publish her story. There is no place for judgement on our blog. Let’s see what God is telling us through another love story which involves a priest. In the meantime, being a new comer to the Catholic Faith, let’s pray that Abigail won’t loose her faith in God and the church!