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  #31  
Old May 3, '12, 12:44 pm
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by BenedictFTW View Post
I would still advise against such confidential talk between a priest and a woman. If you need to speak to him so privately, then you have the confessional or you could arrange to speak to him in the priests' house. Meeting in public, as special friends or lovers do, is not appropriate. The propriety of the priest is, of course, his responsibility. But we must help our priests and not put them in compromising positions. A wise person once said to me "It is not always sufficient to do the right thing; one must be SEEN to be doing the right thing!"
But it is hard to be seen doing the right thing when people already think you are doing the wrong thing.

We need to give our good priest a little bit of good faith. Unless you have credible evidence to the contrary, you should assume that in whatever they're doing they are being faithful to their vocation.
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  #32  
Old May 3, '12, 2:14 pm
Joannm Joannm is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

Women in my parish are always going out to lunch with our priests and no one thinks twice about it. Last time I went out with one of my priest friends we ran into another priests having lunch with a woman friend and we ran into some of our parishioners. No one thought anything out of the ordinary.

I am not going to go sit in a confessional just to have a talk with a priest friend when I am not confessing. Sometimes we have deep theological discussions or talk about things that are going on in our lives. Sometimes we talk about our ministry or about decisions we have to make. We don't want to include others in these discussions and it is always nice to discuss them over a nice lunch. Besides if something improper was going on no one would meet in a public place where anyone and everyone in town could see them.
  #33  
Old May 3, '12, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by BenedictFTW View Post
The point is that we must make sure we are SEEN doing the right thing. We must not rely upon other people's assumptions. If we do not put ourselves into compromising positions, then nobody would have to presume at all. A priest must be above suspicion. The same applies to others in positions of trust, such as a teacher or doctor. A priest even more than those, because he is a minister of God. The Church has been hurt by too many scandals of late. Even more than ever, it is incumbent upon every member of the clergy to protect the reputation of the Church.
And what is "seen doing the right thing"? Do you have an all-encompassing and specific definition for us? Not guidelines (like "don't be seen in a 'compromising' position"), but actual rules, with all the phrases and words defined for us?
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  #34  
Old May 3, '12, 3:18 pm
Joannm Joannm is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by BenedictFTW View Post
Really? You think? I pity the priests these days. They are expected to be all things to all people.
What is that supposed to mean. My priest friends enjoy having discussions with me and sometimes they want my opinion on things. I am not expecting them to be anything but themselves when I hang out with them. If I want them as my confessor or for direction I make an appointment. When we go for lunch or a walk we are just two colleagues enjoying each other's company and good conversation. And some priests really appreciate a woman's point of view on things.
  #35  
Old May 3, '12, 9:30 pm
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

I think yes good friends but what you do, needs to be considered. For example going out for coffee at a Duncan Donuts or a Tim Horton's for the Canadian folk: sure. The two eating a meal at a restaurent that some locals might consider romantic: no. If the two of you are at the restaurent with a group and he wears his collar: yes. The woman hanging out at wherever he lives after office hours when no one else is around: no. He at her place unless there is an emergency: no. I say this because it doesn't matter where one lives, small village, large city, it always amazes me in how small the world is. Priests are known by many people and it just takes one busy body to create trouble.

Even movies, I would be careful when selecting a time and a film. For example: no chick flicks or romantic movies nor late night shows. I can see talking on the phone or on skpye ok. Every day unless it was a church related issue: no. I have a friend who is a seminarian. We meet occasionally for lunch as part of a group or we will speak on the phone. Even with my pastor, (we are around the same age,) unless it was a very public place, I would never go to lunch unless someone from my church was present. Call me old fashion but I believe it's important to avoid giving anyone any potential to gossip. When you are out, and you run into friends: it is always important to introduce him using his title. That way, it prevents any potential trouble or people from arriving to false conclusions.
  #36  
Old May 3, '12, 9:44 pm
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

When I was in formation with the Franciscans we weren't allowed any "particular" friendships - i.e. friendships which seemed to exclude others.

We had to be open to all the community and all people.

Intimate friendships with people outside of the community were not encouraged at all.

I don't believe priests should have close friendships with women outside of their families, or spend time one on one with them at all.

If they want to see a movie they should go with a group or with another priest.
  #37  
Old May 3, '12, 9:58 pm
thequeen thequeen is online now
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by Joannm View Post
Women in my parish are always going out to lunch with our priests and no one thinks twice about it. Last time I went out with one of my priest friends we ran into another priests having lunch with a woman friend and we ran into some of our parishioners. No one thought anything out of the ordinary.

I am not going to go sit in a confessional just to have a talk with a priest friend when I am not confessing. Sometimes we have deep theological discussions or talk about things that are going on in our lives. Sometimes we talk about our ministry or about decisions we have to make. We don't want to include others in these discussions and it is always nice to discuss them over a nice lunch. Besides if something improper was going on no one would meet in a public place where anyone and everyone in town could see them.

Hey Joannm you are doing nothing wrong in fact i even have a very dear priest friend who is like a father to me that I have lunch or dinner with every now and then good point about the confessional why waste the priest's time in the confessional if you are not confessing you keep having those theological discussions with your priest friend and you will be in my prayers.
  #38  
Old May 3, '12, 10:11 pm
kmuestwin kmuestwin is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

My priest's best friend is a widow that he has known for years. They eat together, sometimes travel to different parts of the diocese together and are there for each other.

The priest is the pastor at my college parish and the woman works in the office as a secretary. I consider them both as close to me as family and I know that they both would do anything for me if I needed them.

Could a close relationship between a priest and a woman cause scandal? Sure.

I think if a woman is a devout Catholic, there should be no problem with "temptation."

It is important for a priest to have friends. The last thing a priest should feel is isolated. I know that scandal is to be avoided but I think that the dynamic you mentioned as a married parishoner, this relationship is perfectly acceptable.
  #39  
Old May 4, '12, 3:35 am
Pfaffenhoffen Pfaffenhoffen is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by Joannm View Post
Women in my parish are always going out to lunch with our priests and no one thinks twice about it. Last time I went out with one of my priest friends we ran into another priests having lunch with a woman friend and we ran into some of our parishioners. No one thought anything out of the ordinary.

I am not going to go sit in a confessional just to have a talk with a priest friend when I am not confessing. Sometimes we have deep theological discussions or talk about things that are going on in our lives. Sometimes we talk about our ministry or about decisions we have to make. We don't want to include others in these discussions and it is always nice to discuss them over a nice lunch. Besides if something improper was going on no one would meet in a public place where anyone and everyone in town could see them.


What you described if professionalism, if one can speak this way of a priest.
Not friendship. At least, not intimate friendship.
Yes, this way, we could say that the women were good friends of the priests but one must be careful with the use of the word friend.
It is not by chance that this word is girl-friend.
  #40  
Old May 4, '12, 4:16 am
InLight247 InLight247 is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by BenedictFTW View Post
I knew a priest like that once. He was very charming and everyone loved him. He had a good word for everyone. He was also good looking. However, as time went on, he became very friendly with a married woman. Eventually, the worst happened. She left her husband and he the priesthood. They are now 'married' and the lesson is still not learned. When a priest is very social and friendly, lines can be crossed. It is so much better to avoid near occasions of sin by keeping a professional distance. A priest can be very available for pastoral duties without being too friendly.

It is the same as any other profession with regard to 'professional distance'. Teachers and doctors know this. Why would a priest not?
Very well said.
"Boundary" and "prudence" is the key. There must be some question and uncertainty in the OP's mind, otherwise, the question of this thread won't be asked.

If there is any question raised in mind, there is something, at least remotely, questionable in the relationship. And one should follow the alert of her intuition, stop frequent one on one contact. Protect priest, and protect marriage. Better be safe than sorry. It is only wise to be careful and refrain oneself from any possible temptation.
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  #41  
Old May 4, '12, 4:31 am
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by teresadeavila View Post
Can a priest and woman be good friends? Would the Diocese or church frown on this friendship, ie having lunch together, talking about books, movies, etc? If woman is happily married, hubby knows about all meetings, and priest is happy and enjoying his vocation but just enjoys spending time with the woman as friends and there's no sexual tension, or should this relationship be avoided? Just wondering what your thoughts are...
If you're an attractive woman, people are going to wag their tongues regardless.
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  #42  
Old May 4, '12, 5:06 am
Joannm Joannm is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by InLight247 View Post
Very well said.
"Boundary" and "prudence" is the key. There must be some question and uncertainty in the OP's mind, otherwise, the question of this thread won't be asked.

If there is any question raised in mind, there is something, at least remotely, questionable in the relationship. And one should follow the alert of her intuition, stop frequent one on one contact. Protect priest, and protect marriage. Better be safe than sorry. It is only wise to be careful and refrain oneself from any possible temptation.
I know of a similar situation, but the priest and the woman were never seen together except in the parish office when she went to him for counseling. No one even knew that they saw each other outside. So it was a complete surprise to everyone. No one knew they were even friends. Like I said earlier, if a priest is involved with a woman he is going to hide it and not show up with her for dinner or a movie.
  #43  
Old May 4, '12, 6:35 am
teresadeavila teresadeavila is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
If you're an attractive woman, people are going to wag their tongues regardless.
Beauty is the eye of the beholder though. Of course, my hubby finds me attractive but not sure others do. We are around the same age, avoid romantic restaurants, we exchange books and music, and he is almost always wearing his civvies. I'm glad to see that there are other women who are in the same boat - we also talk business of the church in general because of my job/work with the church. I also have lunches with other men, professional business lunches mixed with social, alone - hubby knows them, and when I go every time b/c I tell him all about it. These men are single, and they often needs a woman's perspective/opinion on things, ie women they may be dating or interested in.

But I will exercise extreme caution with priests - I just don't want any of them to be subject of scandal or myself!! Often, it's the priest's idea to get lunch, they often dine alone or don't have many offers for homecooked meals and enjoy being in another's company sometimes. They're human and need socialization beyond their church, I'd imagine.
  #44  
Old May 4, '12, 8:51 am
InLight247 InLight247 is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by teresadeavila View Post

But I will exercise extreme caution with priests - I just don't want any of them to be subject of scandal or myself!!
It will be good to put on some thoughts about "how" to exercise extreme caution. It is always helpful to think about the concrete steps.
Quote:
Often, it's the priest's idea to get lunch, they often dine alone or don't have many offers for homecooked meals and enjoy being in another's company sometimes. They're human and need socialization beyond their church, I'd imagine.
As you mentioned the "human need", that is exact the area needs to be handled with extra care. Do not underestimate the evil one's trick and plan. Priests are the devil's first target to attack. The devil is very subtle and skillful, always make things innocent to start with and go from there. Therefore, it is the laity's responsibility to protect the vocation and avoid any slightest possibility of occasion of temptation.
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  #45  
Old May 4, '12, 2:08 pm
Dakota Roberts Dakota Roberts is offline
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Default Re: Can a priest and woman be good friends?

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Originally Posted by Julia Mae View Post
Only if she is at least twenty-five years older than he is. It is entirely inappropriate for a woman and a priest to be dating, which is what lunches and movies are. This is entering freely into temptation as well as giving scandal. If either finds they are "connecting" and long for one another's company, they should immediately break off any contact that is not in the presence of a third party and limit conversation to courtesies and parish business.
Um, does this mean two guys who are good friends, occasionally catching dinner an a movie are in a gay relationship since they are "dating"?
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Originally Posted by nickybr38 View Post
Recently when my priest found out I was living alone he volunteered to come down and help me 'warm the house up'. I still don't know quite how to handle the suggestion. He's from a different country with a different culture so I'm really hoping this is a cultural misunderstanding but good grief... I think it's inappropriate for a priest to offer to come to a woman's home when she's alone UNLESS in the case of an emergency.
It sounds like a lot was lost in translation, you should ask him to explain further.
Quote:
Originally Posted by teresadeavila View Post
Hubby has been with us at times but can't make it to all our lunches, priest has been to our home as well, knows the whole family including my mom and in-laws. He's like family - we've joked about the fact that we've "adopted" him. Priest is from overseas so he has no family here. It's in our culture to welcome people we really click with and treat them as family.
So he's a family friend? Perhaps you should introduce him to the rest of the community and helping him make other friends.
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Originally Posted by ForGood View Post
I think a priest and a married woman can be friends... "good" is probably the problem here. For me, it's a non-issue because I am very happily married and completely solid in the sacramental commitment of my marriage, it's my vocation. Likewise, is the priest's marriage to his bride, the church. I wouldn't allow anyone to threaten my vocation and I wouldn't threaten anyone else's. I'm kind of old school in that I still hold priests to a higher standard generally and personally have a great reverence for them. Crossing any boundry would be a horrible sin I think. They are here to serve, but they don't belong to us.

I think priests need all the good friends they can get, or at least a good handful of people they can trust and count on.
For the former if you could please cite a Church document I'd be grateful, for the latter people really need to understand that priests are people too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by teresadeavila View Post
Lunch maybe once a month - and we live in a city around 1 million population. He has many friends, both male & female, who he spends time with at dinner parties, other lunches, movies, etc. He's just a very social person.
Jacksonville is a nice city,
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Originally Posted by BenedictFTW View Post
St Teresa of Avila warns against particular friendships between nuns. Religious lives are for God - at all times. Priests, especially. We can be kind and sociable to our priests without crossing these boundaries.
parish priest≠monastic community

Have you ever read Aelred of Rievaulx's De spiritali amicitia?

Ultimately an equal relationship with everyone becomes a relationship with no one.
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