Confessor of Ex-Girlfriend


#1

I was wondering if anybody could share any philosophy regarding the following topic:

So, I am discerning a vocation to the priesthood, and I currently am dating a beautiful young woman. Last night, we were talking about it and I asked the question, "If I became a priest, would you go to confession to me, or would that be awkward?" She replied that it would be very awkward, and that she probably would not choose me as her confessor. I was wondering what you think of this. Is this for vain reasons? I think that through the Paschality of the dating relationship we would have a greater mutual understanding of paschality in general and, in a sense, the whole meaning of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Especially the aspect of the priest representing the Communion of Saints as well as God in the forgiveness of sins. Any Thoughts?


#2

I don't understand how such a question is useful or relevant. It takes years of formation to become a priest, and after that you could be dispatched to any parish in the diocese. If and when you ever reach ordination, you and your girlfriend will both have changed immeasurably, and grown apart. I don't see the point in asking hypothetical questions like this, especially when the situation is so unlikely to happen.

I don't understand why you are dating this girl anyway if you are considering the priesthood. Making such a choice is something that requires peace and space, and I don't think that it is fair on you or your girlfriend to be in a relationship while you are thinking about priesthood. I speak from sore personal experience: I tried to discern the religious life AND be in a relationship at the same time. I basically wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted the reassurance that if the whole nun thing didn't work out, I was snug and comfortable in a happy relationship.

It was one of the unkindest and most selfish things I've ever done to anybody. Now I am single (my ex has forgiven me, being the kind-hearted and clear-sighted friend he is) and I will never make the same mistake again, please God. If you are thinking about priesthood or religious life, seriously thinking about it, then give yourself the necessary space to pray and wrestle it out with your uncertainties.


#3

OP: if you don't realise how creepy your post sounds - well that's creepier still!


#4

cboechlar: I think she would feel she was confessing to you rather than to God.I wouldnt call it vanity.It wouldn't be about pride.She's embarrest baring her soul to someone she knows personally not taking in to mind that you are a priest and are nnot to be concerned who is doing the confessing but are acting in the place of Christ and are to put out of your mind who's confessing.


#5

I think it's just difficult for some people to confess to those whom they know. I'm currently studying to become a priest, and I know that my father would probably not confess to me. It's understandable, because I'm his son. People don't want a close friend hearing their deepest flaws, even if he is a priest. It's just awkward for them. Don't concern yourself too much with this.

Also, a bit of advise. If you're discerning, break up with this girl now. Speaking from experience I can tell you that it will be difficult. The longer the relationship continues, the closer you will get to her, so if you are called you will only make the end of the relationship more painful. It's best to end it now, figure things out, and make your decision based on what you feel called to.


#6

The simplest answer is that she is free to choose whatever confessor she is comfortable with. People go to, or avoid, specific confessors for any number of reasons - a previous personal relationship is probably really far down on that list.

To me it is more important to ask yourself why this is of any concern to you. Why does it bother you enough to even ask the question here? If there is vanity involved here I suspect it is in you and not in her.

Peace
James


#7

Please explain, OP, what you mean by "paschality."


#8

Best to discern your own vocation, and let her do the same.

Entertaining these sorts of questions does neither one of you any good. If you are truly discerning a priestly call, then you can't be dating anyone, period.

Seminarians, and those aspiring to become one, cannot and should not date.

Spend more time praying (alone) and spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to discern what He wants of your life.

My advice to you . . . more prayer . . . and less *Thornbirdesque *pensing.

God bless,


#9

[quote="baltobetsy, post:7, topic:234213"]
Please explain, OP, what you mean by "paschality."

[/quote]

I was wondering the same thing.


#10

[quote="baltobetsy, post:7, topic:234213"]
Please explain, OP, what you mean by "paschality."

[/quote]

Dating relationships image the paschal mystery in more ways than one. Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection are mirrored in the relationship through self-sacrifice, mistakes, and the mending and restoration of the relationship after mistakes.


#11

There is a very good post about this kind of situation which I suggest the OP read:

seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com/2011/03/will-you-be-my-vdp.html


#12

Dating + discerning a vocation to the priesthood = disaster
Either date or discern, not both at the same time!

Dating is discerning a vocation of marriage.
You are also discerning a vocation to the priesthood at the same time.
Two conflicting vocations!


#13

[quote="stephe1987, post:12, topic:234213"]
Dating + discerning a vocation to the priesthood = disaster
Either date or discern, not both at the same time!

Dating is discerning a vocation of marriage.
You are also discerning a vocation to the priesthood at the same time.
Two conflicting vocations!

[/quote]

I think this depends. Do we know that the OP is not an Eastern Catholic man? Some of my friends are Eastern Catholics and did openly discuss both marriage and the priesthood with their girlfriends.


#14

[quote="stephe1987, post:12, topic:234213"]
Dating + discerning a vocation to the priesthood = disaster
Either date or discern, not both at the same time!

Dating is discerning a vocation of marriage.
You are also discerning a vocation to the priesthood at the same time.
Two conflicting vocations!

[/quote]

Well, I should have added that I am in high school. But I would like to make a distinction. Dating is not simply a discernment of marriage. It is a way to learn to love. My vocations director is absolutely fine with me dating, so enough advice. Lets get back to the philosophy of a confession with a priest that one knows very personally. I have been to confession to a priest who was very close to my family and it was the best confession of my life.


#15

[quote="SerraSemper, post:11, topic:234213"]
There is a very good post about this kind of situation which I suggest the OP read:

seraphicsinglescummings.blogspot.com/2011/03/will-you-be-my-vdp.html

[/quote]

Thanks! This is somewhat of an eye opener. =)


#16

If you are discerning priesthood why are you meeting with your girlfriend?
You need to decide, an sooner rather than later. If you are discerning you should have already made that break. This is a great question for your spiritual director but no most priests would not hear the confession of a former gf or of family members.


#17

[quote="cboechler, post:14, topic:234213"]
Well, I should have added that I am in high school. But I would like to make a distinction. Dating is not simply a discernment of marriage. It is a way to learn to love. My vocations director is absolutely fine with me dating, so enough advice. Lets get back to the philosophy of a confession with a priest that one knows very personally. I have been to confession to a priest who was very close to my family and it was the best confession of my life.

[/quote]

This is great. But please remember in this that it was your choice to go to this person as confessor. Since it was your choice, you obviously felt sufficiently comfortable. However, this does not make it a common thing.

If your lady friend would not feel comfortable confessing to you then she should not. After all - it's not about you, it's about them, It's about their feeling comfortable enough to bare their sins to another human (and before God).
Basically I can see what you are driving at. The close relationship between two people might provide insights and understanding that could be very helpful. But by the same token, a close relationship and personal history might create barriers.

In the end, it's best to let the faithful choose their own confessors and not worry or feel slighted over their choice. Rather you should simply feel greatful and happy that she is going to confession and staying true to God.

Peace
James


#18

[quote="Hokomai, post:3, topic:234213"]
OP: if you don't realise how creepy your post sounds - well that's creepier still!

[/quote]

Agree.


#19

[quote="cboechler, post:14, topic:234213"]
I have been to confession to a priest who was very close to my family and it was the best confession of my life.

[/quote]

But that doesn't mean that everyone would feel the same way. :shrug:

I tend to NOT go to the pastor of our church. I work for the parish, so it would be awkward to go to confession to my boss. So I try to go to someone else.


#20

[quote="cboechler, post:14, topic:234213"]
Well, I should have added that I am in high school. But I would like to make a distinction. Dating is not simply a discernment of marriage. It is a way to learn to love. My vocations director is absolutely fine with me dating, so enough advice. Lets get back to the philosophy of a confession with a priest that one knows very personally. I have been to confession to a priest who was very close to my family and it was the best confession of my life.

[/quote]

I am a bit more interested in the psychology of this.

Why is this such an issue for you. Do you somehow feel that this is a statement on your relationship with this individual?

I would also like to ask you why/how this question even came up. What was your feeling/motivation in asking it? I assume that you instigated this and not the young woman.

As for dating being how to learn how to love. That is not the only way to learn how to love. Dating is for finding a potential spouse, if you do not wish to get married in the future then you are lying to the person you are dating. You are making them think you are available when you are not.

Do you have a spiritual director? I think these are two issues that you should bring up with them.


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