Can a priest and woman be good friends?


#1

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...


#2

there is nothing wrong with a priest and a women being friends. But it is completely wrong for a priest and any person other then his peers to have a intimate relationship. If a priest has dinner every month or so with a women and her husband, or some other type of gathering is no issue. But personally I think it would be a good idea for priests to avoid (for the sake of avoiding scandal) being alone with a Women. If a priest talked about his personal life, his struggles with sin, his disagreements with the bishops and other things, he is crossing boundaries. If a priest is telling things to non peers (women, lay men, teens and such) what normal priests would only tell to their confessor or spiritual director, he is being very very bad.

The Church sees intimate friendship between a priest and women as bad.

but a casual non intimate friendship between a priest and a women is fine.


#3

no, asking for trouble...


#4

[quote="teresadeavila, post:1, topic:282897"]
Can a priest and woman be good friends?.

[/quote]

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.


#5

[quote="teresadeavila, post:1, topic:282897"]
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...

[/quote]

Sure they can. A priest needs good close friends he can rely on.


#6

This attitude is what John Paul calls “master of suspicion”

Lunches and movies are not dating. Dating is for the purpose of finding a spouse.

One can go to the movies with a friend, not intending to have a romantic future with them.

I have lunches/dinners/beers with priest friends all the time. We are not dating.
2 weeks ago I went to lunch with a priest friend who helped me with some theology work. We were not on a date.


#7

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.


#8

Can a married man be friend with a woman who is not his wife?
My opinion: no!


#9

Little personal life talk, a few stories from our past in high school, family relationships, but not much else - nothing that belongs to the confessor or anything intimate. He also gives me spiritual advice, and I talk about how working parents balance work, life, our faith, etc.

I just want to make sure I’m not crossing any boundaries here.


#10

[quote="teresadeavila, post:1, topic:282897"]
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...

[/quote]

Could you bring your husband along, and have the both of you get to know him? That seems like a good way to me...


#11

[quote="superamazingman, post:10, topic:282897"]
Could you bring your husband along, and have the both of you get to know him? That seems like a good way to me...

[/quote]

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.


#12

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.


#13

[quote="teresadeavila, post:9, topic:282897"]
Little personal life talk, a few stories from our past in high school, family relationships, but not much else - nothing that belongs to the confessor or anything intimate. He also gives me spiritual advice, and I talk about how working parents balance work, life, our faith, etc.

I just want to make sure I'm not crossing any boundaries here.

[/quote]

No and yes-ish.

There are two things at issue here.

1) It boils down to a moral code of just never putting oneself in danger.

If you set a standard and stick to it no matter what, then you don't have to worry about occasion for sin.

As a married woman; it is against my personal code of ethics to ever be alone with another man. Old, young, it doesn't matter. Being alone with one is right out.

This ensures that there is never any false impressions for the man and anyone who might catch wind of such an encounter.

2) It just looks bad. I know that wicked minded people will find bad in everything, but why give them easy fodder?

Since you asked this question, you must already be feeling a bit convicted.
Listen to that little warning bell and hold back.
I've discovered that even making one's self frumpy and unattractive does little to deter the tongue-wagging and, well, with some men, the attraction that just clicks.

  • Blessings.

#14

The fact that you're asking the question shows that in your heart of hearts you know this is not the right thing.
With your husband present is one thing, but no, you are risking scandal, and sooner or later will give scandal to others who see you together in your tete-a-tetes.
Are there not enough scandals already, that you would risk others being scandalized?
You will be as responsible as the priest for those who are disillusioned by seeing you one on one in intimate conversations with each other.

The priest made certain sacrifices when he became a priest and it could appear that you are both being self-indulgent if you keep this up.

The priest is a man, and he will form an emotional attachments that is likely to cause his soul unease as he has no woman of his own, but you are making yourself his companion if you continue with this. And it is dating behavior when it is between and man and a woman, even if it doesn't carry the name, if you're doing this one on one. So you intend nothing and you may do nothing, but that doesn't mean this won't become some kind of emotional affair and the question you may need to ask yourself is are you fooling yourself that it isn't already so that you want to talk books movies, have lunches with him.

Perhaps you need to find a book-club and some girlfriends to go out with.
The priest may need to include more others in his pastoral work, and to find fellow priests with similar interests. He may need to visit the same people less and others in his parish who otherwise never receive the friendly pastoral visits of their priest.

I hope and pray that you and the priest both will consider others spiritual welfare and faith by avoiding all action that sooner or later will, will, lead to discovery by others and to scandal; and also avoiding any unwise personal relationship that prevents you both from finding more wholesome solutions to your social and intellectual needs, and that are more inclusive of other people.

I speak as I do as I have seen the outcomes several times, and it is a matter of conscience.


#15

Or it’s common sense and a lifetime of experience.


#16

Maybe he misunderstood the word/concept of a “housewarming?”


#17

[quote="teresadeavila, post:1, topic:282897"]
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...

[/quote]

I don't know why you can't be friends with a priest. The only part I would caution on (for his protection--as well as yours) would be the lunches together with just the two of you.

Although....some people have nasty minds and can accuse people of all sorts of things...whether its true or not.

I consider our priest a friend....and he is a really excellent priest.....but I would consider him a friend even if he wasn't. But I would never suggest lunch together by ourselves....not that he would accept....just for his protection from what people would say.


#18

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:15, topic:282897"]
Or it's common sense and a lifetime of experience.

[/quote]

You are proving jp's point. Please read theology of the body.


#19

It's called a "priest-confidante". And yes it happens. When i was in college, i had heard of research saying married women with a priest-confidant usually have happier marriages.

Priests and nuns who left their vows to get married, however, had an incredibly high divorce rate.

Since I haven't seen a pic of the luncheon, I have to go along with the OP's description of the situation. What size town do you live in? If NYC, there won't be quite as much danger of scandal as, say, a town of 5,000 (like where I grew up) .

Is it possible to take something to him at the lunches where hubby can't attend, since the priest is from another country? Would make it look like it was a somewhat casual encounter.

As long as hubby knows about it, and can answer the questions from the curious, there shouldn't be a problem.

If two ppl are comfortable in their vocation, there is such a thing as a 'spiritual friendship'. Look at St Francis and "Brother Jacoba". Or Boniface and Lioba. In that last situation, St Boniface wanted Lioba to be buried in their cemetary, but the brothers said no way.

St Aelred of Riveleux (sp?) Wrote about spiritual friendships. There has been a book in publication in the last 20 years about the subject.

The priest does need to find male friends, though. Your family may just be a springboard for him in the community, and this wont be an issue this time next year.

A bit of humor. Every man a particular woman invited over for supper became a priest. True story.

HTH

Blessings,
Cloisters


#20

I thought there was a "rule of thumb" for priests and religious that they were never to be seen in the company of the opposite sex without a third person present? Seems very wise to me.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.