Is it ok for a priest to ask a separated woman of the same age (mid 30's) to go out to dinner or to a movie?


#1

I am Catholic woman, separated for two years, and I have a friend, same age (mid 30’s) who is a Catholic Priest. He often sends me trivial texts throughout the day, and asks me to dinner and movies on a regular basis. Sometimes several times in a single week. I keep declining the movie offers, but have meet for dinner or lunch on occasion. Should I be concerned about this behavior or is this acceptable for a priest? Also is it acceptable for me to join him for dinner or movie? What is the position of the church on this?

Another recent example, Just this week I had some female friends visit from out of town and once he found out where we were going, he ended up tagging along with us to a late dinner (10pm) at a high end restaurant immediately after their arrival. Not much time alone with them to catch up before he was in the picture. The next day, my friends and I traveled to a beach resort about an hour away. He had been texting throughout the day and once he knew which resort we were staying at he asked if it would be ok for him to come there too. It was after this that I really started to get annoyed at his texting and behavior. It seems innocent, as if he just wants to hang out as friends, our conversations when we do talk are never romantic, usually trivial stuff, about work, and sometimes my personal life and situation with my family. I have no romantic feelings or interest in him in any way. Just starting to wonder if he has other motives as it is becoming a bit much at this point. What should I do on my end? I know there are a lot of questions, but I am starting to get a little confused by his actions.


#2

It sounds to me like this priest is lonely. It is not really appropriate that he should be texting you all the time or asking you to accompany him to dinner or a movie all the time. I have gone to lunch alone with a priest and was even asked if I wanted to accompany him to the museum, but I knew he was also going with a group of people. Another thing is that I am married, not single and certainly older than he was. I frequently talk with priests on Facebook but that is not private. I would be concerned.

Does it seem like he has friends? Is he in a rectory alone? A priest’s life can be very lonely and they do need companionship, but not from a separated woman of his own age. I am assuming he is counseling you about the break up of your marriage? It sounds like there might be some sort of meshing going on. Usually this happens with the person who is being counseled attaching themselves to the counselor, but it can happen in the opposite directions. It happened to my sister whose therapist hit on her when she was seeing him with regard to her separation. If you are going to him for counseling perhaps you need to seek someone else. A priest can only do so much in this regard since they do not receive sufficient education in this area.

I would turn down the invitations in this situation, or suggest you go with a group of friends. Since you are separated, it might be a good idea to make it a mixed group of married couples and maybe a few of your single lady friends. I would also cut out the texting. Set up boundaries for yourself and do not cross them. You are in a vulnerable state right now. I’ll pray for you.


#3

No, it is not okay. You are both still bound to your vows. You are still married to your husband and the priest is married to the church.


#4

The fact you are asking if it is OK tells me you have sensed it is not OK. Most priests are very busy and often do not even respond to people's email unless it is necessary. It is not normal for the priest texts you several time a day, nor is the frequent invitation of lunch and dinner. He is probably lonely and wants companion, but what he is doing is dangerous. Whoever plays fire will be burned. The fire needs to be put out immediately.


#5

Father sounds lonely and he is putting himself, and possibly you, in a proximate occasion of sin. Priests are human and need companionship. Father Groeschel advises that a priest, if he wants female company, chose a woman older than himself to whom he is not physically attractied. Father might also join the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy - founded by Fr John Trigilio - and socialise with brother priests to whom he may be able to speak frankly about his desire for female companionship and receive confidential advice. I would second the putting a stop to the texting and any meetings alone.

This man is lucky that he found such a respectable woman; you may help him keep his promise of celibacy. I will keep both of you in my prayers and ask St Jean Vianney to intercede for him.


#6

I too think he is lonely and it appears he has a lot of time on his hands.

He’s a priest married to the Church and you are a separated and, therefore, still married woman. I can understand the movie thing if he were interested in seeing FOR THE GREATER GLORY and you, he and some others all went to the dinner and the show. That, to me, is appropriate. I can’t imagine too many other appropriate movies. :shrug:

He maybe naive. He maybe oblivious to causing scandal for him and you. In this day and age, this is not good. This would be something bishops should be handling with yearly reminders as to the proper conduct a priest must exhibit to protect themselves and their laity.

Priests should be invited to dinner by their married parishoners. It is the charitable thing to do. Also include them in bridge etc. You could encourage your priest friend to establish a club for single, divorced, or widowed men in the parish. This will give him friends to do things with too.


#7

I do believe that this priest needs prayers to be totally absorbed in his priesthood, and that he allow his time to be occupied in his priestly ministry.


#8

I am a firm believer that men and women CAN be friends, and it drives me nuts to hear that they shouldn't. Even if the man is a priest...in fact, especially if the man is a priest..he knows about his vow of celibacy, and people should give him a little credit. People always assume that it will lead to something else. Not so. Most of my best friends are indeed male, and it has led to nothing but great friendship. There is no lust involved, no intimacy of any kind..just friendship.

If you would enjoy his friendship, then go. If you think that you could have feelings for him ...don't go. It would just be more painful for you in the end.

It sounds like he is just lonely and in need of companionship. If he invites you into his bedroom alone, ok ..red flag. If he invites you to lunch or a museum where there are plenty of people around...I think he is innocent. I also think he should not have to constantly worry about his image. Being seen with a female parishioner is just not cause for scandal. He is a big boy, who understands his vows, and he should not have to be babysat, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I was in a closed room at the rectory with my priest for confession. We were in there for about a half hour....and guess what happened in there??? Confession. Thats it.

Please, lets give our priests a little credit...and some room to have a bit of companionship when they are need of it. They need someone to talk to sometimes as well.


#9

[quote="Angelsflight, post:8, topic:296056"]
I am a firm believer that men and women CAN be friends, and it drives me nuts to hear that they shouldn't. Even if the man is a priest...in fact, especially if the man is a priest..he knows about his vow of celibacy, and people should give him a little credit. People always assume that it will lead to something else. Not so. Most of my best friends are indeed male, and it has led to nothing but great friendship. There is no lust involved, no intimacy of any kind..just friendship.

If you would enjoy his friendship, then go. If you think that you could have feelings for him ...don't go. It would just be more painful for you in the end.

It sounds like he is just lonely and in need of companionship. If he invites you into his bedroom alone, ok ..red flag. If he invites you to lunch or a museum where there are plenty of people around...I think he is innocent. I also think he should not have to constantly worry about his image. Being seen with a female parishioner is just not cause for scandal. He is a big boy, who understands his vows, and he should not have to be babysat, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I was in a closed room at the rectory with my priest for confession. We were in there for about a half hour....and guess what happened in there??? Confession. Thats it.

Please, lets give our priests a little credit...and some room to have a bit of companionship when they are need of it. They need someone to talk to sometimes as well.

[/quote]

Spending half hour in the coonfessional is ne thing. That's where the priest should be. Not tagging along at high end restaurants and beach resorts.

For the OP, no, this is not ok. A person who gave his life over o God should be VERY busy. If nothing about his interests, there certainly is something to be said about his idle time!


#10

A priest must always be conscious of the possibility of scandal if he is seen on a regular basis with the same woman out for what could appear to others as a "date". We can say that it's none of anyone's business, but when he put on the collar, how he conducts his life is very much other people's business, because he is a visual representation of the Church to all who see him - Catholic and non-Catholic.

It is not appropriate for him to be hanging around with a bunch of women, and especially one woman on a regular basis.

Yes - life as a priest can be lonely. If that's the case, and he has so much time on his hands that he can run off to dinners and movies multiple times during the week (I have never met such a priest, and I know plenty) - then he really needs to find something else to do with his time, such as assist at another parish, open his confessional more, add more Masses to his schedule, go on a retreat, etc. Something that will enrich his vocation and lead him to holiness.

As for the OP - I would tell Father that you are not comfortable with all the attention, and that you feel it is in the best interest of both of you to not spend so much time together. An occasional meal with friends is one thing, but going out to movies and dinner alone is just not appropriate.

~Liza


#11

[quote="1inICXC, post:9, topic:296056"]
Spending half hour in the coonfessional is ne thing. That's where the priest should be. Not tagging along at high end restaurants and beach resorts.

For the OP, no, this is not ok. A person who gave his life over o God should be VERY busy. If nothing about his interests, there certainly is something to be said about his idle time!

[/quote]

A priest is allowed some recreation time..the church does not require him to do nothing but confessions, mass and prayer 24/7.....i think it is mean spirited do deny him some down time. As long as he does not break his vows...there is no harm in it.

Going to lunch with a female parishioner does not break a vow.

And if we trust a priest for a half hour in a closed room with a member of the opposite sex, why not trust him with someone in public in broad daylight? I dont understand that.


#12

[quote="Angelsflight, post:8, topic:296056"]
I am a firm believer that men and women CAN be friends, and it drives me nuts to hear that they shouldn't. Even if the man is a priest...in fact, especially if the man is a priest..he knows about his vow of celibacy, and people should give him a little credit. People always assume that it will lead to something else. Not so. Most of my best friends are indeed male, and it has led to nothing but great friendship. There is no lust involved, no intimacy of any kind..just friendship.

If you would enjoy his friendship, then go. If you think that you could have feelings for him ...don't go. It would just be more painful for you in the end.

It sounds like he is just lonely and in need of companionship. If he invites you into his bedroom alone, ok ..red flag. If he invites you to lunch or a museum where there are plenty of people around...I think he is innocent. I also think he should not have to constantly worry about his image. Being seen with a female parishioner is just not cause for scandal. He is a big boy, who understands his vows, and he should not have to be babysat, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I was in a closed room at the rectory with my priest for confession. We were in there for about a half hour....and guess what happened in there??? Confession. Thats it.

Please, lets give our priests a little credit...and some room to have a bit of companionship when they are need of it. They need someone to talk to sometimes as well.

[/quote]

There are times, even in a friendship between the same or opposite sexes,that one friend may become too intrusive. The party in question is sending too many texts,and extending too many invitations. I can't imagine arriving at 10 PM uninvited at a dinner where my friend is entertaining her girlfriends. That's a red flag. He just might be socially inept. Bottom line, his behaviour is worrisome to her. It would be to me too.

,


#13

[quote="Anglico, post:1, topic:296056"]
I am Catholic woman, separated for two years, and I have a friend, same age (mid 30's) who is a Catholic Priest. He often sends me trivial texts throughout the day, and asks me to dinner and movies on a regular basis. Sometimes several times in a single week. I keep declining the movie offers, but have meet for dinner or lunch on occasion. Should I be concerned about this behavior or is this acceptable for a priest? Also is it acceptable for me to join him for dinner or movie? What is the position of the church on this?

Another recent example, Just this week I had some female friends visit from out of town and once he found out where we were going, he ended up tagging along with us to a late dinner (10pm) at a high end restaurant immediately after their arrival. Not much time alone with them to catch up before he was in the picture. The next day, my friends and I traveled to a beach resort about an hour away. He had been texting throughout the day and once he knew which resort we were staying at he asked if it would be ok for him to come there too. It was after this that I really started to get annoyed at his texting and behavior. It seems innocent, as if he just wants to hang out as friends, our conversations when we do talk are never romantic, usually trivial stuff, about work, and sometimes my personal life and situation with my family. I have no romantic feelings or interest in him in any way. Just starting to wonder if he has other motives as it is becoming a bit much at this point. What should I do on my end? I know there are a lot of questions, but I am starting to get a little confused by his actions.

[/quote]

I think he is lonely especially if he is alone in the parish (the job of priest is emotionally draining).

[quote="Brooklyn, post:3, topic:296056"]
No, it is not okay. You are both still bound to your vows. You are still married to your husband and the priest is married to the church.

[/quote]

[quote="aicirt, post:6, topic:296056"]
I too think he is lonely and it appears he has a lot of time on his hands.

He's a priest married to the Church and you are a separated and, therefore, still married woman. I can understand the movie thing if he were interested in seeing FOR THE GREATER GLORY and you, he and some others all went to the dinner and the show. That, to me, is appropriate. I can't imagine too many other appropriate movies. :shrug:

He maybe naive. He maybe oblivious to causing scandal for him and you. In this day and age, this is not good. This would be something bishops should be handling with yearly reminders as to the proper conduct a priest must exhibit to protect themselves and their laity.

Priests should be invited to dinner by their married parishoners. It is the charitable thing to do. Also include them in bridge etc. You could encourage your priest friend to establish a club for single, divorced, or widowed men in the parish. This will give him friends to do things with too.

[/quote]

where do people get this idea?

[quote="Dorothy, post:7, topic:296056"]
I do believe that this priest needs prayers to be totally absorbed in his priesthood, and that he allow his time to be occupied in his priestly ministry.

[/quote]

the job of priest is emotionally draining

[quote="1inICXC, post:9, topic:296056"]
Spending half hour in the coonfessional is ne thing. That's where the priest should be. Not tagging along at high end restaurants and beach resorts.

For the OP, no, this is not ok. A person who gave his life over o God should be VERY busy. If nothing about his interests, there certainly is something to be said about his idle time!

[/quote]

He probably is very busy, would you rather the priest engages in substance abuse than have a friend?

[quote="lizaanne, post:10, topic:296056"]
A priest must always be conscious of the possibility of scandal if he is seen on a regular basis with the same woman out for what could appear to others as a "date". We can say that it's none of anyone's business, but when he put on the collar, how he conducts his life is very much other people's business, because he is a visual representation of the Church to all who see him - Catholic and non-Catholic.

It is not appropriate for him to be hanging around with a bunch of women, and especially one woman on a regular basis.

Yes - life as a priest can be lonely. If that's the case, and he has so much time on his hands that he can run off to dinners and movies multiple times during the week (I have never met such a priest, and I know plenty) - then he really needs to find something else to do with his time, such as assist at another parish, open his confessional more, add more Masses to his schedule, go on a retreat, etc. Something that will enrich his vocation and lead him to holiness.

As for the OP - I would tell Father that you are not comfortable with all the attention, and that you feel it is in the best interest of both of you to not spend so much time together. An occasional meal with friends is one thing, but going out to movies and dinner alone is just not appropriate.

~Liza

[/quote]

lets look at scandal

priest is with minor a lot, OMG child molester
priest is with one woman a lot, OMG unfaithful priest
pries is with a group of women a lot, OMG gay
priest is with one man a lot, OMG gay
priest is with a group of men a lot, OMG why isn't he dedicating his life to God.

Haters gonna hate


#14

Perhaps he's just lonely BUT given your description, he definitely sounds like he is interested as more than just friends and perhaps does not want to admit it or realize that he is. And he obviously enjoys your company and may find you attractive. Trouble. I wonder how he finds the time at all!! Most priests I know don't have that luxury of time for constant texts, dining out, movies, etc although they could use the break. ;)

Perhaps you should create some distance, talk to him gently to stop the constant texting and constant invitations to dinner, lunch or movies as it is starting to make you feel uncomfortable but that you enjoy having him as a friend and want to respect his vocation. Put your foot down; if you want to spend time with your girlfriends without his company, then say so. Just because he's a priest does not mean you should feel obligated to him to as you say it, "tag along". Don't feel bad if he's lonely either -all priests have to face how to deal with that in their own way - their confessor and/or fellow priests should talk with him about that.

I have a friend who is a priest (see my thread somewhere on this site about it)- I'm happily married, he's very happy in his vocation, and while we text or email on occasion, our friendship is not at all like your description. He's not constantly asking me to dine with him or go to movies with him or anything like that - and I'm still very conscious about respecting his vocation. Praying for you during your separation! I'd also find another priest to confess to. :)


#15

[quote="aicirt, post:12, topic:296056"]
There are times, even in a friendship between the same or opposite sexes,that one friend may become too intrusive. The party in question is sending too many texts,and extending too many invitations. I can't imagine arriving at 10 PM uninvited at a dinner where my friend is entertaining her girlfriends. That's a red flag. He just might be socially inept. Bottom line, his behaviour is worrisome to her. It would be to me too.

,

[/quote]

If it is worriesome to her, then i agree...dont go. If there is anything to her that raises a red flag...absolutely dont go.

My message was more for the general occasions I guess. I just don't believe that a priest should only interact with men. I think if a female parishioner and a priest who have intellectually stimulating conversations about god or whatever want to go to lunch and discuss things...they shouldn't be stared at and thought the worst of. Thats the point I was trying to make. :)


#16

Good posts - he could also be a bit immature or socially inept. Showing up at a resort where you’re staying, too - I think that’s a big red flag though.


#17

Re: The priest is married to the Church: we get the idea from the cathechism. Christ's bride is His Church. The priests represent Christ on earth. Therefore, their bride is Christ's Church of which the laity is a part.

I'm a married woman. I don't hang with my friend's husband. We don't do dinner and we don't go to the movies alone. Same rules apply to the OP and the priest. She gets it, he doesn't.


#18

Ok...general scenario...

I am a single female....I ask my Priest to lunch to discuss a problem I am having (ok, granted this is not the case with the OP, it is much different and i understand that).

The priest says yes, we go to lunch and talk about my problem.

You are a parishioner at the church. You see us. What are your thoughts?


#19

[quote="teresadeavila, post:16, topic:296056"]
Good posts - he could also be a bit immature or socially inept. Showing up at a resort where you're staying, too - I think that's a big red flag though.

[/quote]

Ok yeah...I missed this in the OP's first post...i think its possibly a red flag too to show up at a resort where you are staying alone


#20

An occasional dinner invite: ok.

Constant texting throughout the day? Not ok.

Constant texting can build an intimacy that is completely innpropriate.

Priests are human and. experience the same temptations we do. Somtimes out of charity we have to be the ones to put the breaks on too much attachment.


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