What should I do about my priest's girlfriend?

A fellow parishioner has informed me that our priest has a girlfriend and does not believe the vow of celibacy applies to him. (He is a former Episicopalian priest who was married when he became Roman Catholic; he later divorced and received an annulment). There has been ongoing problems between this parishioner and our priest, so I am inclined to dismiss the charge. However, it is very troubling, and I don’t know what to do, if anything. He is close to our family.

If this priest is close to your family, then in justice you owe it to him to let him know that rumors that he has a girlfriend are being passed through the parish. If he denies that he has a girlfriend, you have no further problem. (He certainly will have one and will need to take steps to quash the rumor.) If he confirms he has a girlfriend and justifies this on the basis of his dispensation (which ordinarily is given with the understanding that in the event the marriage ends the priest will remain celibate) then you can thank him for the information and let him know that you’ll be confirming his understanding of the law by contacting your diocese to ask for their analysis of the situation. If he is right about his understanding of the dispensation, then he should have no need to be concerned about you confirming his information.

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