I’m in a mess and I dont know what to do.Over the past year I have become friendly with a priest who was passing through our town for a few weeks.We hit it off instantly as he is young(my age) and we got on well. We remained in touch electronically, and then we would have the odd phone conversation.I am married and my husband is not catholic, and never met him.Recently however, the relationship has become a bit more involved, and we both admitted we were attracted to one another, and were I not married, he would like to take the relationship further and see what could develop, despite the fact he is a priest. I know that this whole situation is wrong,but the thought of breaking all contact, even as friends, is painful.We both know that realistically, nothing will ever happen.It just highlights the situation that priests are only human, and the issue of celibacy is very hard for young priests especially.For me, I have always been a model wife and so it is a huge shock to me to see how I could have feelings for another man, especially a priest.I am in such a turmoil about the whole situation, and although I feel terrible guilt on the one hand, I don’t want to let go.I am behaving like a stupid teenager.I think about this situation all the time.I am sure many people will be very critical, but I just needed to get this off my chest.
First of all, break all contact with this priest but before you do urge him to go talk to his spiritual director. Then get one yourself if you don’t already have one. Go make a good confession and pray on this one.
Then ask your husband to go with you on a Marriage Encounter. Your marriage is a convenantal relationship…one that you promised to keep until “death do you part” not until someone else comes along, no matter who he is.Even if he is Catholic and your husband is not. This is a very sad excuse for an affair.
Your marriage can be stronger from this whole ordeal, but you have to completely eliminate any temptation…from outside sources. Your marriage is the most important.
And even though you have not been in a sexual encounter, you have already been unfaithful…which is a symptom of what may be not healthy in your own marriage.
There is wonderful website from the US Catholic Bishops regarding marriage, I suggest you explore it.
Pray on it. And do not see this priest any longer. End it now!
Many, many people have found themselves in similar situations, attracted to someone when they had other indisolvable commitments. You are human, and you have lots of company.
The best thing is to cut it off. Yes, it will be painful, but that is the answer. Don’t tell yourself you can “stay friends” because you know “nothing will happen”, stuff happens, even if you never cross a physical boundary, the strength of your feelings for one another will affect your other relationships.
If possible, find a trusting person you can tell and remain accountable to. A friend, or perhaps even another priest. Someone who you commit to being honest with, who will help you through this.
You can and will get through this. It may be very hard and painful.
Sometimes we get “conned” by society into believing that the greatest joy comes from “being with the one we love.” But we can’t and don’t know how a relationship would be, unless we go there. That is the reason for marriage and commitment, so we can decide to “go there” with one, and forsake all others. Otherwise life becomes a chain of relationships that got left behind when we went chasing something new.
The only way to get the most out of the relationship we are in, is to stay, and make it the focus of our attention. Something outside might look better, but we can’t know how it will feel or look in 6 months or 2 years. After marriage, our committment is to make the relationship we have work.
You are not horrible to have honest feelings of love and attraction. That is part of being human. It is also human to have to make choices for ourselves and the one we love.
help your priest friend make a good choice to, by saying goodbye, and praying for his renewed committment to his vows, as you pray for the same in your own life. Make as clean a break as you can. It is a gift you give yourself, your spouse, any children you have or will have, the priest, and the Church. Think of all the good you do, and that will help you through the pain.
Think of all the pain and sorrow a physical relationship with the priest would cause, and that too might help.
Often, when people feel as you do, it is not a case of not loving the spouse, or even the life, but just being attracted to some wonderful new person. Sometimes we think we can even have both, no one needs to know. But that sort of feeling can not be long hidden. It will come to light and all manner of pain and mischeif will follow. Think about that now, before anything happens, and it will help you stay on course.
There are many people who can tell you the horror stories of following through on such feelings.
Best to you
Such sensible advise, and so caringly put.Thank you. I do love my husband and children.I guess it is just some excitement, all be it the wrong type,in a life which has become rather mundane.
Besides the obvious, the very fact that, if you weren’t married, “he would like to take the relationship further and see what could develop, despite the fact he is a priest” sends up huge red flags. You need to break contact and you both need to strengthen your vocations.
Ditto what everyone else has said and this…
Take an honest look at yourself and ask what it is this priest seems to be replacing? What is the big “if only” in your life that would make it better? Would your life be better if only your husband were Catholic? Would your life be better if only there were more excitement. Identify that and work towards that with your husband and family.
Having a crush on someone is normal though as you have learned can be a huge occasion for sin. Finish beating yourself up with the guilt and move on from this situation. Go to confession and give yourself some credit for now having true empathy for how Eve must have felt in the Garden of Eden. The forbidden fruit is powerfully tempting…and ultimately deadly.
I would also add that you should contact this priest’s bishop and let him know what is going on. It seems to me that he has some issues he needs to sort out in his mind before he can be an effective priest.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that many priest out there find themselves in the same situation, it is the “Taking to another level” that needs to be dealt by his bishop.
In His love…
A Catholic DEacon
This advice is so beautifully put and so true.
Also, please, please take this to Confession. You mentioned the need to “get it off your chest.” It won’t be truly off until you receive absolution. And there is that wonderful sacramental grace of confession that helps you with the specific things you confess, so that’s going to give you real strength to go on without this dangerous friendship.
God bless you!
Take an honest look at yourself and ask what it is this priest seems to be replacing? What is the big “if only” in your life that would make it better? Would your life be better if only your husband were Catholic?
Yes, that’s exactly what the problem has been all these years, and when I met the priest, here was someone of my own age who not only did I get on well with, but who I could talk to about my religion and who didn’t criticise me. NOT that I’m making excuses for what developed later.
Betsy, I want to go to confession, but am so scared of what to say. I don’t want to mention his name or anything about him that the priest would know who it was. I don’t want him to get into trouble…
Whatever you say in confession cannot be disclosed to anyone else. The priest that hears your confession cannot tell his bishop, another priest, law enforcement, or anybody else at all.
From the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 983 ß1 The sacramental seal is inviolable. Accordingly, it is absolutely wrong for a confessor in any way to betray the penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion.
i agree with everyone here. you need to break off contact asap. this is not right as you have been told. the bishop needs to know about it.
you should go to confession to a different priest and so it soon.
do not engage the priest anymore. put a stop to it immediately. don’t make excuses, just do it. sounds to me like your not making excuses and with that in mind, drop the contact right away.
it is not right to have feelings for a priest nor is it right for him to have feelings for you. before things get out of hand stop the contact.
your also a married woman. this needs to stop immediately. iam not trying to be harsh, but only telling you it can cause a scandal for yourself, your husband, your family, the priest and if it got out, the congregation as well. so please, don’t let this get any further.
[quote=cheddarsox;2426884Sometimes we get “conned” by society into believing that the greatest joy comes from “being with the one we love.” But we can’t and don’t know how a relationship would be, unless we go there. That is the reason for marriage and commitment, so we can decide to “go there” with one, and forsake all others. Otherwise life becomes a chain of relationships that got left behind when we went chasing something new.
Reminds me of St. Augustine’s quote, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Strengthen your relationship with God as well as your husband. Cut it off completely with the priest. You can’t work on your marriage with another person involved. I think there would be more pain all around if you continued the relationship. Cut it off now and only you and the priest suffer for a short time, continue down this path and not only will you and the priest suffer but your husband, children and the rest of the Church (its called scandal). Your relationship with your husband will never be the same even if you work things out he will **always **have that pain. So much to toss away because of “feeings” which will change if you allow them to.
Start reading spiritual works and lives of Saints. This will refocus your mind on what is important. Everytime you think of the priest say a rosary and get your mind off him. Go to confession. Your confessor will have other suggestions and you will be accountable to him as well.
As someone else already mentioned, the seal of confession is not to be broken, no matter what you say. But you should not mention the priest’s name or any identifying details. You need only say something like what you said in the first post. “I am married with x children. I became friends with a priest, and it began to develop into a romantic attraction. We have emailed and phoned each other, but have not had physical relations, although we have discussed it. This has gone on for x months.” The priest in confession may ask a question to clarify your sinfulness, but he certainly will not ask the name of your friend. Go and have no fear!
You can offer up the pain of separation from this priest for the conversion of your husband. Also, you can offer up any pain that might be caused you by your husband’s ridicule of your faith for the same intention.
And if you’re truly worried, go to a parish other than your usual, and go to confession behind the screen with a priest whom you do not know. I’ve done this in the past when I’ve had particularly embarrassing things to confess.
HE IS IN TROUBLE!!!
Ho many commandments has he already broken and plans to break? He needs help with his soul! He is the weak one and you have an obligation toward him and yourself to clear this mess. A little shame might hurt him in the short time but it could save his soul. Talk to your confessor and ask him if you have to go to the bishop. Listen to your confessor, whose only interest is to save souls and not to make people look bad or feel good.
Go to a different parish and do not mention his name. It’s the sin you want forgiven not the recognition of the person. No more than if you had these feelings for a co-worker. Their name is irrelevant…Please, run from this disasterous occasion of further sin. Pray for this priest as much as you can. He needs prayer and you are in my prayers. Thank God for your husband and children and set your sights on them…God Bless…teachccd:)
Have you been to Confession yet? Praying you get there soon if you haven’t already.
You will need to break off all contact…but you already knew that…
You know what is the right thing to do, I can just feel it in your heart, I can feel it in your post. You are in pain and you feel much guilt. You know what is the right thing to do, you just came here to hear it from others so you would not feel so alone.
Jesus loves you very much. Please take care.