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-   -   Is it a sin to be in love with a priest? (http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=570175)

Ana v Jun 12, '11 4:09 pm

Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Please note, what I am not asking: I am not asking " Is it wise to be in love with a priest?" or "Is it prudent to be in love with a priest?" or "Is it okay to pursue a romantic involvement with a priest?". The answers to those are I think, quite obvious.

My question is simply, is it in- and- of- itself a sin for a person to be in a love with a priest?
What about vice-versa? Or is such a situation morally neutral?

Corki Jun 12, '11 4:17 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ana v (Post 7980734)
Please note, what I am not asking: I am not asking " Is it wise to be in love with a priest?" or "Is it prudent to be in love with a priest?" or "Is it okay to pursue a romantic involvement with a priest?". The answers to those are I think, quite obvious.

My question is simply, is it in- and- of- itself a sin for a person to be in a love with a priest?
What about vice-versa? Or is such a situation morally neutral?

Yes. It is a sin. It is not morally neutral.

You do not just wake up one morning and find yourself in love with someone. What starts as attraction is nurtured and fed until it turns into actually being "in love". It's not accidental. At best, a woman would have put herself into situations where the attraction could grow. And that's wrong.

Young Thinker Jun 12, '11 5:46 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Hello, Ana. No, I would not say that is inherently sinful to love a priest. They are human beings like everyone. People often cannot control their feelings and often do not want to, but they are normally culpable for any action that is based on such feelings.

BornAgain2010 Jun 12, '11 6:36 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ana v (Post 7980734)
Please note, what I am not asking: I am not asking " Is it wise to be in love with a priest?" or "Is it prudent to be in love with a priest?" or "Is it okay to pursue a romantic involvement with a priest?". The answers to those are I think, quite obvious.

My question is simply, is it in- and- of- itself a sin for a person to be in a love with a priest?What about vice-versa? Or is such a situation morally neutral?


Not unless you're Katharina von Bora (Martin Luther's gal). :p

It is a sin to love a Priest (or any other Clergy). It is a sin becuase it draws the persons involved away from Christ by forcing them to break their oath of celibacy that is modeled after the Book of Revelation. Doing so is also a crime against God himself.

Ana v Jun 12, '11 8:09 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Thanks for the responses.

Does anyone know though, if there exists an official/formal Church answer or instruction, in relation to this question?

Intuitively speaking, I would think that one preparing for the priesthood would receive some kind of instruction on what to do in the event that, as a priest, he begins to develop feelings of romantic attraction towards another human being (e.g. a parishioner he regularly counsels) and/or what the per se moral significance is, of such an attraction.

Paul theApostle Jun 13, '11 12:43 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
I don't think to love somebody is a sin

If we seek to have romantic feelings or lustful feelings and physical relations with religious or Priests I think were going down the wrong path

smichhertz Jun 13, '11 6:25 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Hi Ana v!

This is fairly common problem that most Catholic girls run into at some point. I hope I can help give you some good guidance!

I think it would depend greatly on what your definition of "love" is. So often this word is used to mean so many different things.

Long story short, there is nothing wrong with simply feeling an attraction to a priest, but it is the job of the girl in question to make sure that it doesn't lead anywhere. She should avoid situations where she is alone with the priest, go behind the screen for confession, seek a different priest for spiritual direction, and not attempt to socially interact with the priest beyond what would be appropriate.

However, if she becomes aware of these feelings for the priest, but does not do anything to keep them in check, and puts herself in situations that foster them, then that probably would be a sin.

I hope that helps!

Maureen1125 Jun 13, '11 8:17 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul theApostle (Post 7982036)
I don't think to love somebody is a sin

If we seek to have romantic feelings or lustful feelings and physical relations with religious or Priests I think were going down the wrong path

I think this answer is great. Loving someone is not wrong or sinful, acting on that "love" is where you have to be very careful. You also need to discern the type of 'love" you have. There is brotherly/sisterly love, there is friendship love, there is romantic love, there are countless other forms of love.

If you find yourself desiring the priest intimately, then that is lust and not love.

I also think that some women develop crushes on their Priest because it is safe to do so. They know that the relationship will develope and that in most cases the Priest will never even know about their secret crush. I think that when you are unhappy in your marriage, or single and lonely or in a relationship where you are pressured to be more intimate then you are comfortable with, then "loving" a priest seems natural because they "understand" your problems and they are a safe person to talk to who will most likely say all the right things that you are longing to hear.

Telling the Priest you are "in love" with him is a really really bad idea.

Ana v Jun 13, '11 10:25 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Telling the Priest you are "in love" with him is a really really bad idea.
I agree, albeit, out of intuition. But what would the reasoning be behind that? Telling a priest such a thing would certainly be awkward (so in that sense I see it as a bad idea), but disciplinary wise, would it lead to anything?

Suppose a person confesses such a thing to a priest ( I am using the word "confesses" here loosely, so it does not necessarily mean something revealed in the Sacrament of Confession) not because she is trying to "lure" the priest, but because that priest is the only one that's practically available and the one she's regularly gone to, and now she has to explain to him why she needs to minimize contact with him. Would it still be a bad idea in that kind of a circumstance?

vera dicere Jun 14, '11 12:08 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
As others have said, depends on the kind of love, ie. platonic, brotherly/sisterly et al.

Think of the priest as another woman, in that its fine to love another person, even loving someone of the same gender, it is however, not fine, to seek that love in a physical or even heavily emotional way. So, yeah, just like there are people with SSA who have "crushes" on other people of the same gender, these peopel cannot act on those urges, as those actions are what makes the sin.

There's no point in telling the priest, what benefit would that serve? It wouldn't help the priest, it seems self serving to tell him. Not to mention it almost seems to be leading, ie. tell the priest in hopes he will throw off his collar and embrace the woman? No good could come of telling him that, I think.

What sort of intereaction does teh woman currently have with this priest? Is she his house cleaner and sees him everyday, or is she a reader at sees him maybe once a week?. Perhaps he counsels her in other situations, perhaps she lost someone or is having a hard time with certain things and he's helping her there? If she's married, and is seeking comfort from the priest then that's boardering on an emotional adultery and is a whole different kettle of mortal sin.

IF the woman sees him all the time, she needs to perhaps move out of the situation, ie. if she's his cleaner, quit, if she does reading, perhaps read at another mass or go to another parish, if she sees him rarely, or at weekly mass, then she will just have to get a handle on the situation as well.

Reality is, teh woman could put the priest in danger if she gets too deep involved, and whiel teh priest should have had education about what to do in this situation, it could still end badly. I know of a woman who "loved" a priest, and when he didn't return her affections she went to the Bishop and said they'd had an affair. The priest was eventually found innocent, but it was a big scandal and mess and that woman's spiteful action caused a lot of hurt.

Its not a sin to love a priest, it only becomes sin if the woman tries to action those urges or if she starts lusting after him.

Lady Marchmain Jun 14, '11 2:24 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ana v (Post 7981441)
Does anyone know though, if there exists an official/formal Church answer or instruction, in relation to this question?
I would think that one preparing for the priesthood would receive some kind of instruction on what to do in the event that, as a priest, he begins to develop feelings of romantic attraction towards another human being ...

1. Yes: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's spouse. The priest is married to the Church.

2. Well, stop thinking that. The burden is on the Christian woman to keep her distance. Who cares if he has training or not? My heaven, do you know how many priest's lives have been ruined due to some unexpected moment alone, etc? Priests get "hit on" in the Confessional, and now due to all the abuse stuff, I even know one who was "set up" by a woman to make it appear an affair and he was innocent. Priest / Love = NO, just don't go there.

You so much as brush his shoulder with your hand and I assure you someone will notice and it will be the parish headline in 24 hours and both your lives possibly ruined.

I'm exaggerating? This is serious. Men are not qualified to answer because they don't realize we can have them in bed in five seconds with a look. Women answering ought to realize the vulnerability of the priest and their responsibility to respect him AS IF HE WERE CHRIST. In persona Christi, think of him that way.

We all have fallen in love with the wrong person, puppy love to adultery to whatever. It's hard to resist. But we all have that temptation. Just because he's a priest does not give you a unique excuse that "we're just friends" or "I can't help myself" or "I know he needs me."

You must (I keep saying 'you,' maybe this is for a friend, but for the sake of typing) keep in mind that the burden is greater upon you to not be a temptation to him. If you're in love, it's hard to avoid those long glances and extra questions.

But you must because as a man he will sense your attraction. It will either draw him to you and pretty soon your at "Thou shalt not commit adultery" instead of just "covet" - or it will cause him to pull away from you probably in a state of confusion and anxiety. Most men take until age 50 to figure out how to cope with these temptations.

Also, per Canon Law, the penalties on a priest for sins "contra sixtus" are very severe. Don't jeopardize his soul. Get over your love. If you have to avoid him, get a guy-pal, go to another parish, join something.

There is an ugly expression I was taught on this forum for a type of woman who flits around priests, or gets crushes on them, etc: "Collar Chasers." They are around. There is something alluring about the mystique of a priest. Your love is not so special nor your situation unique.

Well, in short, I suppose you can surmise my answer: YES, it is a sin to be in love with a priest. You should not even hug him even if every other woman in the parish does. Why would we want to be a source of temptation to him? And you know it's a slippery slope, just a drink, well, dinner, well...hello hell.

smichhertz Jun 14, '11 6:27 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ana v (Post 7986081)
Suppose a person confesses such a thing to a priest ( I am using the word "confesses" here loosely, so it does not necessarily mean something revealed in the Sacrament of Confession) not because she is trying to "lure" the priest, but because that priest is the only one that's practically available and the one she's regularly gone to, and now she has to explain to him why she needs to minimize contact with him. Would it still be a bad idea in that kind of a circumstance?

I don't think that would be a good idea. She could be putting the priest in an occasion of sin. She should definitely distance herself, but do so quietly and cite different reasons if asked by the priest.

I imagine that the priest also has an attraction to the woman. If she then discloses that she is attracted to him, then it would become that much more of a temptation for the priest. Even if the priest never acted on it, it would just make things much more difficult.

Just my viewpoint, hope it helps!

Ana v Jun 14, '11 7:13 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

2. Well, stop thinking that. The burden is on the Christian woman to keep her distance. Who cares if he has training or not? My heaven, do you know how many priest's lives have been ruined due to some unexpected moment alone, etc? Priests get "hit on" in the Confessional, and now due to all the abuse stuff, I even know one who was "set up" by a woman to make it appear an affair and he was innocent. Priest / Love = NO, just don't go there.
Please understand I was not trying to put all moral responsibility on the priest. I asked what I did about the training because it can be noticed that in the OP I also said "What about vice-versa"? (emphasis added here)

Lady Marchmain, your post is very blunt, but I appreciate that. I really did not realize that priests were regular targets for intimacy ( I don't have enough life experience yet to be aware of that yet I guess, additionally, it's still pretty recent that I've returned to the Church).

Quote:

I don't think that would be a good idea. She could be putting the priest in an occasion of sin. She should definitely distance herself, but do so quietly and cite different reasons if asked by the priest.
True, because even if the attraction was not initially mutual, it's easily conceivable how it might cause the priest to "look at her differently" once she's made her feelings to him known. And since all actions begin as thoughts, then, well, what Lady Marchmain said.

smichhertz, would it be a good idea however, for such a woman do go to a different priest (whether at an another parish, or at the same one) -- one she does NOT have romantic attraction to, and explain her situation to that priest, namely during Confession? Or if in Confession, should she disclose her predicament in vague terms (e.g. " I have feelings for someone whom it would be wrong to be in romantic relationship with. ") ?

smichhertz Jun 14, '11 7:34 am

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ana v (Post 7987078)
smichhertz, would it be a good idea however, for such a woman do go to a different priest (whether at an another parish, or at the same one) -- one she does NOT have romantic attraction to, and explain her situation to that priest, namely during Confession? Or if in Confession, should she disclose her predicament in vague terms (e.g. " I have feelings for someone whom it would be wrong to be in romantic relationship with. ") ?

Oh yes, absolutely! I would strongly recommend that the woman in question talk to a different priest who she is not attracted to. It might be taking a little trip to a different church, but well worth it. It might even be advisable to ask the priest to set up a few regular meetings with her just to help her get through this.

Confessing in vague terms would be okay as a last resort, but again, the priest may connect the dots. Also, it is difficult for the confessor to understand the problem unless the woman directly states the issue, something she couldn't do with the priest in question.

Corki Jun 14, '11 1:44 pm

Re: Is it a sin to be in love with a priest?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ana v (Post 7981441)
Thanks for the responses.

Does anyone know though, if there exists an official/formal Church answer or instruction, in relation to this question?

Intuitively speaking, I would think that one preparing for the priesthood would receive some kind of instruction on what to do in the event that, as a priest, he begins to develop feelings of romantic attraction towards another human being (e.g. a parishioner he regularly counsels) and/or what the per se moral significance is, of such an attraction.

You don't need a specific instruction. If you are attracted to someone who is out of bounds, whether that be a priest or someone who is married, and you nurture your attraction to the point of being "in love" you have done something wrong.

There's a difference between attraction/crush and being in love. The latter takes effort. Putting that effort into a relationship with a priest is Wrong.

Quote:

I agree, albeit, out of intuition. But what would the reasoning be behind that? Telling a priest such a thing would certainly be awkward (so in that sense I see it as a bad idea), but disciplinary wise, would it lead to anything?
I wouldn't call it discipline but it would probably lead to some actions. First of all, the priest would not hear your confession any more, except under danger of death. Second, you may be asked to leave parish ministry, not because you are doing anything wrong but because of the temptation (for you as much as for him) and the risk of scandal. Third, the priest might request to be transferred which, if he is a good priest, would be bad for your parish.


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