advice needed

Hi all,

I recently returned to the Church after 20 years away. My husband and I had to get remarried as we got married in a protestant church some 7 years ago. We did this gladly and I knew it was right. To do this I met with the Priest for some lessons. I was inspired by this priest because he was and still is a very dedicated priest particularly in the area of helping people return to the Church. My difficulty is I crossed some boundaries in the help department, not sexual because my husband and I were in need. I pushed his generosity to the limit and he has backed right off understandably. However he is shortly leaving to another district and I want to sort this problem out in a correct fashion. I have rung him once to see if I could meet and do so, but he is not keen, plus he is busy organising his move. What do I do here??? I hate what happened, none of which he was to blame for, and I guess I want to remeber this short time as special. Is it best to leave it and learn from it, or is there a correct way I can do something so I can feel peace again and any damage Ive done to his trust and generosity wont harm someone else??

Im feeling ashamed, and embarrassed even asking these questions but I am bothered a lot. I have backed off from any more contact, apart from church, with a priest completely as I do not want this to happen again.

What do you think anyone?

My suggestion: Write him a very kind and apologetic note, handwritten last draft (ie, first write a couple of first drafts), on nice paper or a card, and maybe donate some money in his name to the fund for retired religious in your diocese as a gift. Don’t forget to wish him well in his new place.

And pray for him.

Yes, maybe a note. Remember for a priest to be accused of an impropriety is equivalent of guilt of impropriety and end of ministry. Particularly in today’s politically charged environment. So if there is a fear on his part of that, it could be causing his hesitance.

I have watched a similar situation unfold in my parish which ended up driving the priest away - very nearly from his vocation altogether as the person concerned became very unhealthily obsessed with the priest.

I would also suggest that you write a letter, thanking your priest for his generosity and help, and apologising for any and all occasions where you overstepped the mark. Wish him well, tell him to go in peace and, most importantly, don’t expect or ask for or drop hints for a reply.

To do this will let your priest know that you have drawn an unbreakable line under the episode and he can go and not worry that at some point in the future being surprised by you appearing out of the blue (I know my former parish priest still worries about the person who caused him so much stress, even some years later).

If you feel you might have done something that needs confession and absolution, then do so elsewhere and not to this priest. Then, just as much as your priest can stop thinking about the problems, you must also. Move forward in your life, both with your husband and in faith, and never think about it again.

Peace be with you.

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