Should a Priest do this?

The facts:

  • My niece was engaged to a man and he called off the engagement … she is heartbroken and in a vulnerable state now

  • The priest in question assisted in marriage preparation and provided personal counseling to help them sort out their difficulties

  • My niece is 28 years old and is quite attractive

  • The priest and my niece had a longstanding friendship prior to her dating her ex-fiancé

The question:

My niece and the priest had dinner last Saturday night. I have no reason to believe that anything is going on between them romantically, however I would question whether the priest should be going on what is presumably a platonic date given that he was their personal counselor and knows intimate details of her life; that he is a man with a pulse (yes, priests have sex drives); and that she is a quite attractive woman in a vulnerable state.

Your thoughts?

I wouldn’t assume anything. Especially about a priest.

Bolding above mine.

My thoughts are that two friends had dinner together. Unless there is something to indicate otherwise and you indicated there isn’t (again, bolding above mine), I see no reason for you to think more on the matter.

Obviously I’m not catholic, but if they were friends anyhow and it is purely platonic, I see nothing wrong with it? I wouldn’t not see my friends (priest or no priest) just because they had offered advice/counselling/medical help in terms of doctors & nurses I know.

Is it the norm for a priest to meet up/go out to dinner with people? If so, then absolutely nothing wrong.


It must be so very difficult to be a priest these days. Some people are suspicious of everything you do, from who you have dinner with to every word and gesture in the Masses you celebrate. :frowning:

We should pray for our priests every single day.

2 questions:

  1. I wonder if in the seminary they warn priests about getting too close to single/attractive women?

  2. Isn’t the mere appearance of impropriety an issue here?

Yes, priests have a pulse and are men. They also have hobbies, interests and personal friendships. I knew a priest who almost never ate dinner at the rectory with his pastor because so many people invited him to lunch and dinner. This priest was also a ham radio operator, who sometimes helped in emergencies with communication relays. So if the priest in the OP’s has been a long-time friend of the young lady, it should be fine until you know otherwise.

I agree.

A priest can’t even have dinner nowadays without raising an eyebrow. :frowning:

So having dinner is “getting too close?”

If the “mere appearance” was a problem, priests would have to live in a box only to show his face during Mass.

From what you have written he had dinner with a long time friend. There is nothing improper about that.

Maybe he doesn’t think your niece is attractive? :shrug: even if he wasn’t a priest she might not be his type.

Is it inappropriate for a friend to see a friend?
Is it inappropriate for a priest to have dinner with another person?

I honestly don’t think you have anything to worry about!

I agree.

They are two longtime friends going out to dinner. To the OP, Why is this such a problem for you?

  1. I don’t know, but I don’t see how they can avoid the subject

  2. The appearance of impropriety is in your mind . You have no reason to believe anything improper is going on, and should not be assuming things, nor should you be expressing any of this to other people. It really is not your business.

There is quite a power differential here … he was her counselor, he is a priest, she is a vulnerable woman …seems like a ‘friendship’ could be a problem since they are not peers.

To whom I express my concerns is really none of your business.

There is quite a power differential at play here: he is a priest, he was her counselor … she is a vulnerable woman … it seems like a friendship would be difficult because they are not peers.

Maybe she chose him as her counsellor because they were friends?

How is she a vunderable woman? She is 28, ok she’s broken up with her fiancé, but it’s normal to go for friends for help after something like that. You said yourself they were friends before all of this, it’s not as if it’s happened in thin air.

How old is the priest?

I think you are being a tad overprotective, but if you are honestly concerned about this…talk to her parents, what do they say?

He is way outta line.
In danger of giving cause for scandal & gossip ( even if unfounded)
He should be able to separate his professional/personal life.
The guy must be very naïve or else gay knowing that the female is highly vulnerable at this stage & would welcome ‘comforting’.

My opinion is that a priest should not go on dates. Even if it is entirely innocent, it first of all just doesn’t look right. Secondly, I would be willing to bet that a lot times things that begin innocently enough end up not so innocent. If the priest wishes to counsel the young woman he can do so in his office during regular hours, not on a dinner date. I would say the same thing if this was a lay professional that counsels people.


There is nothing wrong with going to dinner with a friend. Honestly, I am more concerned for the priest than the “vulnerable” young lady in this case. It is not unheard of for nosey, gossipy parishioners to make a false accusation of impropriety. It also isn’t unheard of for a woman to make a pass, be rejected, and then cause problems as well. Priests should not need to protect themselves from as many things as they do these days. Every activity is examined. Pray for our priests instead of trying to find guilt in all their actions.

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