Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Priest Forever

Terry Nelson has a poignant post which expresses the feelings many of us may have over the latest fiasco. To quote:
My first temptation is to think, “What’s the use? Why try to be holy?” If a priest can leave his vocation behind, why do I feel so guilty about some stupid every-day failure in virtue? I quickly recover my senses and realize we are all human, we all make mistakes, we are all weak, we all fall - I know all of that. But I still feel like I got the wind knocked out of me. I still feel as if I’ve been cheated out of a priest, or worse, his vocation was somehow just a sham. And once again, my better judgment kicks in and I realize something just went wrong - that’s all. Stuff happens.

It is like a divorce - although not nearly as common. Divorce harms a family though. Even amicable divorces do harm, causing mistrust, insecurities, disruption of values and lifestyle, and so on. In a way, a priest who abandons his vocation seems like a dad leaving his wife and kids. It hurts the family.

offers some practical advice. If women would take such advice, there would be fewer laicized priests. She says:

Don't get into the habit of hanging out at the rectory, no matter how legit your business there is. Whatever you need to see Father about can be taken care of in the office. Do not get into the habit of traveling alone with him, even if it's giving him a ride to the Catholic Family conference in the next county. People WILL talk and it could be an occasion for temptation--- yours, his, whatever.

Do not invite him to your house for "counseling". See him in the confessional or across a table in the office. Do not invite him to your house, PERIOD, if you are single or if you are alone in the house. People will talk.

Do not call his personal number unless it is for a genuine reason. Arranging a time for confession or checking to see what time he needs your husband to come by with the chain saw to clear the brush around the parish playground or asking a theological question is fine. Calling him just to say "hi" is flirting and darn if you don't know that deep down inside.

If you are afraid of sex and prefer to hang out with men who are unavailable go see a good Catholic therapist. Do it right now. Do not hug Father, especially if you are the type who tends to do the grinding bosom thing when you embrace someone. Do not ask him to be a dad figure to your son. That's asking too much and if he's at your house all the time people will talk and temptation might arise. Do not dress provocatively around Father because you assume he' s above all that and you can go all wild thing with him without any complications. Do not flirt with Father on ANY level.

If you have a crush on Father, take a deep breath, grow up and get over it. If you have to join a different parish, then do it.

Fr Mark has a beautiful prayer for priests. I think some of us need to start saying it on a regular basis.



Terry Nelson said...

Thanks for the lonk. Gosh - Dymphna has given great advice.

Anonymous said...

Terry's right, Dymphna's advice is great! At one time, this advice was known and followed by EVERYONE, but nowadays folks seem to think that prudence, modesty and chastity are wild and radical ideas.

Anonymous said...

I sense that I'm in the definite minority in regard to this scandal. Because I mistrusted this man's vocation the very first time I saw him and saw how he tried to act 'cool' for the cameras and 'hip' for the teenagers out in the viewing audience. I saw him as a walking time bomb because he was in the world and of the world. There was no sense of boundaries or proprieties. I often wondered how the order decided that he would be a good candidate for the religious life. This is like a divorce and worse because it's a vow made directly TO God. "Discerning a vocation" is what you do before becoming a religious, not after. I believe he like so many others has been infected by the spirit of our times which denies that men and women are different and that certain proprieties are to be observed in male female interactions. I will pray for him, and I really hope he won't betray our Lord in this way. It's wrong. And may the Lord have mercy on him.

Anonymous said...

The mistakes of a priest, or for that matter anyone or any organization, should not affect one's on personal quest for holiness and seeking a relationship with God. Priests have all the same temptations we have, that is why they constantly ask for our prayers. The vows of the Priesthood do not exempt them from assaults on their body, soul and mind.

elena maria vidal said...

To Anonymous who accused us of heaping "opprobrium" on Father Francis: No one is doing that. If devout people experience shock and surprise when a good priest defects for a woman, we have the right to share our thoughts and feelings with other Catholics.

elena maria vidal said...

Sorry, I am not publishing any Anonymous comments on this post. It is too confusing for the readers. It makes the discussion too hard to follow if too many people are Anonymous.

Sanctus Belle said...

A man who is married to a woman has the obligation and duty to practice chastity and purity of mind, body and spirit. He should not have lunch meetings with a female associate alone, should not have his female co-workers in his office alone with the door closed, should not socialize with them outside of work, etc. The minute he thinks he is immune to his "lower nature" is becomes prey to the wolf of lust and inordinate desires.

Likewise a priest has the same duty to closely guard himself against any and all impurity, to avoid the near occasions of sin and temptation. This would have been avoided had this priest carefully guarded himself. Priests can fall pray just as men do.

Both situations, a husband or priest are failures in keeping vows made before God. We are all weak and vulnerable to such temptations and much prayer is needed to guard against them. But we must also keep in the front of our minds our duties to guard and avoid even the appearance of scandal and God's grace will suffice.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree.

elena maria vidal said...

To "deseree." You poor dear. I am so sorry, but I hesitate to publish your inquiry concerning such an intimate and sensitive matter. If you wish for my advice, please email me.