You break through those barriers, Chan-wook Park! Ecclesiastical leaders eager to pass judgment on priests who seek companionship need to understand that they have turned God’s gift of love into a force of evil. The devil enters our life through trauma, mortal sin, our emotions is a good way into our life. They live in fear of their love becoming public and must sometimes have to lie to keep it hidden. The priest truly loves her, but is too steeped in Catholic theology to ever seriously consider leaving because he fears putting either of their souls in jeopardy. It’s revealing that the Vatican intentionally tied pedophilia to homosexuality in order to exonerate mandated celibacy and avoid having to make the systemic changes necessary to find real solutions. The priest may truly love her, but not enough to face the possible ramifications of developing a deeper relationship. Down with men’s underpants! The most common trap door to crossing the line sexually has to do with personal vulnerability. Sometimes conflicts over sexual attraction or orientation, childlike shame over any sexual impulse, even limited ability to relate to people outside a structured role. The transparency is both shocking and wonderful. As in the previous two stages, authority is still located outside of one’s self. Pope John XXIII, Vatican II and countless dedicated priests and bishops worked hard to pry open the windows of the church to let in some fresh air only to find them being closed by a new generation of priests who refer to Vatican II as “Vatican too much”. Mandated celibacy shames priests for having this desire, and because celibacy is all about sexual abstinence, their sexuality is shamed too. For some, they might have the celibacy calling with the priesthood calling. When you find yourself falling in love, find a book that gets you on a spiritual, deep level —a story or book of poems that’s all about that love life. Many. 1 about Woman No. For Catholic priests, love plays a major professional role. You can share your story also on my forum/blog. Real. Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! All my life I've thought of myself as straight. For the rest, I am sure there are many good men who have navigated the choppy waters of physical attraction with relative aplomb if not ease. Confusion about sexual matters only makes him more vulnerable. The true value of a person is expressed in his or her fidelity to the sacred commitments taken on, be they marriage of sacred celibacy. Also most priests tend to think in terms of sin, which works against their thinking deeply about what their behavior means and understanding it more realistically. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Is there love involved? The message that came through to us seminarians was:  “Your sexual drive is evil and alien to who you really are and must be repressed, or you will be punished by God.”  This resulted in seminarians running off to confession every few days with sex as the major “sin” with which they were preoccupied. From your starting point there can be no discussion since you regard priesthood and marriage to be ENTIRELY INCOMPATIBLE CALLINGS. Without excusing any of this behavior, it is not hard to comprehend why men are vulnerable and why they would seek out what is probably the most potent form of comfort known to humans: intimacy, in whatever twisted form that might take. This stage of faith makes it difficult to follow one’s conscious when church leaders insist their way is the only way. You presume that celibacy and priesthood have always gone together. If he does come across someone that causes the violins to sound off, he feels both attraction and fear of where it may lead. It is an experience where the presence of God cannot be denied if one is honest about it. By so adamantly maintaining the current law of mandated celibacy, they are mainly responsible for the pain suffered by priests and women in love and for whatever scandal might ensue from these  relationships. Priests who fall in love can feel imprisoned within the priesthood as they watch others freely celebrate their love and openly show affection for their significant other. They cannot deny that their love is a holy experience and find themselves perplexed as to why it has put them on a collision course with the priesthood, when, in fact, being in love has brought them new joy and enthusiasm for life. I find it offensive when someone implies that a priest leaves because “he can’t keep it in his pants”. Author and  Methodist minister, James Fowler, in his book “Stages of Faith” proposes a staged development of faith across a person’s lifespan. Dear Woman in Love, Other priests in similar situations can have very different experiences. Authentic love has many routes. Regardless of whether priests are homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, the real problem lies with the hierarchy’s seeming inability to deal with human sexuality in an emotionally healthy way. Even though they know this, most priests still yearn for a significant other with whom they can have a close, intimate relationship. Their outlook exemplifies an Augustinian view where sexual orgasm is perceived as a defiling act rendering the priest impure. When I am around him that consuming love turns from Christ to him, and I just wish I could care for him, cook for him and comfort him and hear his voice everyday of my life. Click here to find a history of sex, choice and Catholics, The Experience of Romantic Love in the Heart of a Priest, arrest what would have otherwise been healthy psychosexual development, Celibacy as the MAIN REASON for the lack of vocations, how Paul VI passed off some half-baked and dishonest analysis, [Priestly] celibacy is not an unchangeable dogma, A moment that changed me: leaving the priesthood for love, https://www.e-ir.info/2013/07/28/papal-politics-paul-vi-and-vatican-ii-the-reassertion-of-papal-absolutism/, How the inferiority of women was overturned, The Debilitating Feminism of John Paul II, The Red String Chronicles–finding true love online. An obvious solution to this would be to make celibacy optional. The creators of this website describe it as follows: The purpose of this website is to provide information about challenges Roman Catholic priests encounter and the need for reform. How Pope Francis brought me back to the Catholic Church. filling this void in his life. So, why is love an impediment to ordained ministry? I’m afraid that your analysis is not trustworthy. This is sad in any relationship, but it can be tragic for a priest, whose life, values, and meaning have been swept away in a torrent of passion that he had perhaps unknowingly forsworn and the dynamics of which he barely understands. The fact remains that, because “celibate” primarily defines a priest by his sex life, he is viewed and understood primarily by sex and for this he suffers now, more than ever. It is the job of the priest to be strong in the midst of others' weakness. We have never had sexual intercourse. Aaron. because it prohibits the very intimate interaction necessary for this development. My mother had sent me there for a few months so that I could restore my health, and for good reason. On the day of my marriage, as I spoke my vows to my beloved, I felt nothing but joy and happiness in the freedom to live my personal life out from under the oppression of mandatory celibacy. #4 Many seminary students confided to me that they experienced an acute personal struggle between their calling to priesthood and their calling to intimacy. Other priests in similar situations can have very different experiences. How Falling in Love Made Me Rethink the Priesthood. Father, if you are in a romantic relationship, whether gay or straight, you are fortunate. In this stage, there is a lot that can happen – we might not feel an immediate attraction to someone, and then develop it over time. . Whether driven by compulsion, rage, or unremitting entitlement, such persons, who exist in any profession, cross boundaries not out of personal need or lack of support but because they are driven to such behavior by poorly understood psychological motives. To move forward, it must be backed by Pope Francis. The First Lateran Council (1123) was so frustrated by the inability to impose Vatican compliance to earlier legislation that they went so far as to render the sacramental marriages of priests “null and void.” The Council decreed “that marriages already contracted by such persons [priests and deacons] must be dissolved, and that the persons [husbands and wives] be condemned to do penance.” In a Church that was endeavoring to sustain the notion that no sacramental marriage could ever be dissolved by anything less than death of one of the spouses, the First Lateran Council’s open hostility toward the sacramental marriages of priests was a shocking (and many would say “ungodly”) departure from its own theology. Of course, the situation would be completely different if celibacy was optional. An online search using “in love with a priest” produces blog after blog about church-crossed lovers, in any number of languages. Journalist's story of falling in love with Martin Shkreli goes viral. It may be costly but such is the price of true spiritual growth and maturity. (. The situations I've been describing exclude, of course, those few men among clerics who are just narcissistic or sociopathic enough to take what they want, the rules be damned. Here one believes in God, but not as a literal being living in the sky, and Heaven and Hell are no longer seen as physical places. What love he is able to show cannot be overt, and like a schoolboy he is awkward trying to express it, feels shame if anyone notices it, and if asked would strongly deny it exists. In stage four, “Individuated Reflective” faith, young adults become aware of their freedom and burden to begin to sort through their beliefs, accepting or rejecting them. Understanding this, the transitioning priest is justified in separating the will of God from the practice of the ecclesiastical institution. For centuries, they have constructed a mystical facade around celibacy and their efforts brought welcomed protection and privilege. You were trying to do the right thing by not contacting her because of your vocation. Fowler’s first stage is called “Undifferentiated Faith” where an infant’s experience of reality is not distinguished from fantasy. Fallen Priests & Their Women. My heart was crushed when he did and while I loved God just as he did, I found it hard not to be angry about the fact that he had to choose between being a priest and being a father/husband. I know men who have pushed away the person they love because they are scared to leave the priesthood – and who can blame them when they were trained at a young age, then given a home, living expenses and prestige? The perplexing question, “Why do good people suffer?” begins to challenge them at this stage. Realize they and their predecessors have turned romantic love into a force of evil, which is the ultimate corruption of religion. Here, one believes that if they follow the rules, God will give them a good life. This makes for life in a kind of fishbowl where everyone outside is watching. It read: “In Love With a Priest: Support Groups Spread.” My heart started beating ferociously, and I was brutally catapulted back more than forty years to 1967. Kell am See, Germany (dpa) - It's been three and a half years since Michael Pauken gave up the priesthood - because he had fallen in love with a woman whom he wanted to spend his life with. Click, to see the statement extolling the superiority of priests by Lacordaire and how it has created an atmosphere of clericalism, which has allowed sexual misconduct to become more prevalent within the priesthood. It is not God’s rule…. The kinds that compel priests' superiors to send them off for treatment at a facility dedicated to priests. . It is an experience where the presence of God cannot be denied if one is honest about it. Here, people are not fully conscious of having chosen to believe something, because they are not engaged in any analytical thought about their faith. Eighteenth-century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal. You give your life to the Church and you give your life to God. They may find that attempting to run from love is actually running from God’s greatest gift and something they will someday regret. “Sow a thought and reap an action.”  Finding emotional support is helpful, but if he is looking for priest friends or his bishop to validate his desire to leave, he will be disappointed. I hardly heard what she said to me, so I hope it’s still relevant. Mostly, as one might imagine, the don'ts. There are important differences between those who seek out physical contact freely and openly and those who perforce do it on the sly. Human weakness cannot simply be eradicated, although measures can be taken to reduce it significantly. Does he approve? We all know this film is automatically sexy because of the vampires. But it was the ’60s, and radical thinking abounded throughout our world. How are they supposed to? They got married and had children, grandchildren and had a happy life together. Here she offers a few classic novels featuring a priest protagonist. Then comes Pope Francis who says, “[Priestly] celibacy is not an unchangeable dogma.”. Some priests find their needs for love and intimacy met within their life and ministry but many do not. ... a priest and a rabbi, fall in love with the same woman they knew in their youth, but the religious position of both men denies them romance. There are struggles because we can’t marry and I believe he does not want to leave priesthood but I’m okay with that, knowing that he is my twin flame and not able to abandon this relationship as I know by experience, I am just happy to have him. Priest friends came to visit our little apartment and told us how hard our lives would be. I’m in love with my priest and monk for 10 years now. For an excellent in depth discussion about homosexuality and the Catholic Church. To live in a dynamic relationship with God is to live in the midst of change. While it is true that some find their needs for intimacy met in their spirituality, many do not. With this statement, they made homosexual priests the scapegoats in this crisis, even though they know pedophilia is a separate issue. Rather than run from this love, priests may find it helpful to have a good trusted counselor with whom to discuss it. Kudos Aaron. It is a matter of faith and this whole analyisis about romantic love and priests is way off base. When the typical lay person meets a priest, they perceive him first and foremost as a “celibate” and have an internal dialogue that goes something like this: “Is he really celibate? Why so? During that period our love has just become deeper and deeper. Here’s how I help people break their bad relationship habits. Click. You say, “If the person [an ordained priest] truly had a vocation and got emotionally involved with a woman, then he is unfaithful to the vocation.” In so doing, you assume that no one can “truly” have a priestly vocation and, at the same time, be married to a woman. Perhaps you need to consider in more depth: 1. the effects of the lies, deceit and hypocrisy required to sustain such a relationship 2: the priests who have multiple concurrent emotional and/or sexual relationships. I hear you, Joe. Check any book of the Bible, Old and New Testament and you will find that a vocation comes from God and only him and it requieres a free response. This is why there will always be some sort of sexual crisis within the priesthood, and the responsibility for it needs to be placed at the very highest echelon within the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. How many men have confessed lapses over and over again, only to find themselves trapped in behavior they barely understand? Sometimes. As the priest cited above attests, the acceptance and respect shown to celibate priests is a strong drawing card for boys who feel alienated and demeaned because of a homosexual orientation that they themselves probably don’t understand. In my first few months of counseling priests, I was shocked at the kinds of mayhem they could cause. Yes, it does. Priests who leave to marry are not looking only for sex. Within the Roman Catholic priesthood, a high percentage of bishops and priests are bisexual or homosexual. 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