About Me

My photo
Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Springer Spring

Holy Toledo! What a question we got yesterday!

Okay Sister Mary, this is a big one and I will understand if it's too much of a topic to tackle....But I am so conflicted. One of my very best friends is in love with a priest, and he feels the same way about her. ( He is 27 and she's 24) They have kept their relationship very hush hush, and only a few people know about it. The problem is..( besides the obvious!) ....he has no intention of leaving the priesthood, because she said she's not ready to get married as she's beginning grad school. I want to be a good friend to her, but ahahahahahaha how can I possibly support them making the priesthood just a temporary job...and does anything he do as a priest even count??? I just do not know what to do and would love to hear your thoughts....God Bless you!

Too much to tackle!?

Here's the simple Ann Landers answer: Unless you live in a police state where the storm troopers are about to haul you off for being in love with the 'wrong' kind of person, the very idea that you have to keep your relationship 'hush hush' tells you something is very wrong with it.

"Do not hide your love under a bushel.".....who was it that said that? I can't think.....

But this is not a simple situation, because we have soooo much to hide. Obviously both parties realize the deep gravity of the situation but are using the "Jerry Springer Excuse" : "We're in LUV".

how can I possibly support them making the priesthood just a temporary job...

You cannot support your friend because to do so would be scandal.

I think a lot of people don't really understand what we mean by scandal. We tend to treat that word as meaning 'shocking.' The actual meaning is that a person's behaviour may lead others to sin. As in a priest who is dating....is now leading several people to think it's okay......because they're in LUV.

Perhaps we should throw a chair at them.

To think I had to read about this during joyous Easter Week.

and does anything he do as a priest even count?

Yes, it does. Everything he does as a priest still counts. He is a 'priest forever'. The Sacrament of Ordination is an indelible mark on the soul. His priestly powers can never go away. It's not like when Superman goes to his ice castle and dumps his powers to he can marry Lois Lane in Superman II (or is it III?). There is no kryptonite for priests.

This fact only makes the scandal all the worse. It's why members of the clergy are punished in Purgatory worse than anyone else because everything any time they sin (and God knows, everyone sins) the potential for scandal is very high. (Don't think you're off the hook, the next rung up on the Purgatory ladder: parents, for the same reason.)

And then there's the sin of the big lie itself. Lying is a sin, too. Someone help me here, as my head is spinning....either St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas said that dishonesty of any kind is the worst sin, period. It's very interesting reading if you can sort out who said it.....I can't right now as I've removed my head and set it in my lap to avoid further thought on the whole matter.

Anyhow, with what's left of my brain I say to you there is no need to be conflicted. Sad, worried, compassionate, forgiving, loving, yes. But conflicted? Time to throw a chair.


Katherine said...

Bless you, Sister Mary Martha. You have a way of making things so clear.

Unknown said...

"sister" - making fun of love (luv) is sad and worrying. i believe the reason the catholic church first required her priests to be celibate is because back in the early church days when PRIESTS GOT MARRIED the church had to worry about sons inheriting goods that the vatican wanted for itself (like, secret nazi gold or the early church equivalent of secret nazi gold).
i would recommend to this reader that the priest become an episcopalian priest - similar theology, liturgy almost identical - and marry when ready.
sr. mary alternative

PraiseDivineMercy said...

Jen- Nope, we got the whole idea from St. Paul, where he writes that married people are concerned with things of this world, and celibate with those of the the next. There's also Jesus' saying that some are made eunichs for the kingdom of heaven. It's very Biblical.

As for Nazi gold, I suggest not using anti-Catholic propaganda as your info source.

PraiseDivineMercy said...

Jen- Nope, we got the whole idea from St. Paul, where he writes that married people are concerned with things of this world, and celibate with those of the the next. There's also Jesus' saying that some are made eunichs for the kingdom of heaven. It's very Biblical.

As for Nazi gold, I suggest not using anti-Catholic propaganda as your info source.

cattiekit said...

I think maybe our questioner should go a step further?

Tell somebody higher up that this is going on?

It qualifies as a crime and to help conceal a crime makes one a party to it.

To be merely just is to be severe, but there you have it.

It's a *severe* situation. :>{

Anonymous said...

When I first read this I thought I wasn't touching that with a ten foot pole. I headed out to the barn to pitch manure and the longer I worked the madder I got. This is the kind of thing my mother (I'm a convert) likes to use to discredit the Church. (That also explains why I'm coming along rather slowly Sister.) This priest has no intention of leaving the Church, he wants to have his cake and eat it too. She doesn't want to get married and knows he won't leave the Church, this isn't love. It's a game. She needs to move on to grad school and attend mass at a different church and keep busy with her studies. He needs to refresh his commitment and get help to stay away from temptation and keep busy with God's work. Sister Enid, a family friend, would say to keep 'too busy to sin'. This kind of sin hurts the whole Church.

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside...How would one go about asking you a question? I couldn't find an email address link anywhere on the site. Umm..not that I have one...much..maybe. :)

Anonymous said...

Sister Mary Martha-

I need some help. I have this friend that I love very much and I think he has some sort of mental problem along the lines of manic depression or just regular depression or some kind of anger problem. And I think he has a history of it from what he has told me of his past. He gets so down and then he is horribly mean and pushes away everyone that loves him. I stuck around as long as I could because I really love him as a person, like who he is when he isn't angry, and I feel like I am the last person who has put up with all of that stuff and not just left him alone and I hate the idea of abandoning him but it is starting to do real damage to me. I cry all the time and I can't sleep and I am very sad. I asked him to get help but he says that he has tried and that they don't care about him and just try to drug him (the therapists or doctors or whatever). I feel like I've exhausted everything I can do and I feel like I've given all I can give and I can't help him. So I started praying. I've started a novena. I'm going to the cathedral most days at lunch. But I feel like I am unworthy to even ask God for a favor this huge but it is so important to me. I am so worried about my friend and I think God is his last hope. I know God can do all things, but does he heal mental illness? I mean, is this the sort of miracle that can really happen? What if I am doubtful? Does that make my praying worthless? Is there a saint that would be particularly appropriate? I would appreciate any help you can give me. I'm scared and tired and I feel hopeless and I know that is wrong.


CMinor said...

Not that it matters much, but it's "don't hide your light under a bushel."

I'm inclined to agree, though, that when you have to hide your "love" under a bushel it's not a good sign.

Anonymous said...

It's the most hilarious response yet, I think, to switch to being an Episcopalian priest.

Like switching socks out if one has a hole in it! LOL

At first glance, it sounds like j.g. thinks Catholics are stupid - but at second glance, it puts a less than rosy glow on Episcopalians.

Kasia said...


Respectfully, I don't think "Sister" is "making fun of love." The "But we're in LUV" comments seem to me to be more of an indictment of the attitude that "love" (irrespective of whether this really is love) is an excuse for anything. It isn't.

I can't speak to whether this couple is really 'in love' and I don't want to. However, it sounds like they both need some intense spiritual direction, and I would suggest that he might want to focus on whether his vocation to the priesthood is authentic. That would tell him what he needs to do. But I do think they'd be wise to let him discern that without factoring her into the equation, as this is a decision that he has to live with irrespective of whether this relationship works out.

DCMS said...

Sweetie, God is our Daddy. That's what Jesus called Him: Abba. It's not "father," in that stiff, detatched sense. It's "Daddy," the way a toddler would say it.
Think of the best father you've ever known, and imagine how he treats his child when she asks for something.
If she asked for bread, would he give her a rock? So much more does our Heavenly Father love us, and want to give us good things.
Ask God for all things. Even that the Cubs win the Series this time. He CARES, because He loves us SO SO much.
He wants good things for you, but also good things for your friend. Trust Him, and ask BOLDLY.

Feel free to e-mail me (melissacaritas at yahoo dot com)
if you want to talk about this, or if you'd like, send me the novena you're praying and I'll pray with you.

Anonymous said...

dcms you are soooo right. Mandy, God cares about the littlest thing in our lives and this is a big thing. The place to start is prayer. The next place is what could be causing the roller coaster your friend lives on. Past trama? Drugs or alcohol? A lack of proper diet and exercise? Seriously, our physical health greatly effects our mental health. I learned that the hard way. I also learned if we don't take care of ourselves we can't take care of others. Honey I'm going to pray for you and your friend.

Anonymous said...

Sr. Mary Alternative, if you think the Episcopalian Church has similar theology, I think you must be living under a rock.

We don't believe that Jesus is our vehicle to the divine. We don't claim that we have no answers, but we are good at helping you ask questions.

We might have been similar way back when, but now that KJS is in charge of your ship, we are totally incompatible.

Which is, I believe, why that bishop of yours just became Catholic upon his retirement.

Jen said...

Mandy -- though it seems like a good part of your difficulty is in getting your friend to a good counselor, the problem of *finding* a good counselor can seem just as impossible.

If it helps, there is an excellent resource online that lists solid Catholic therapists by state, along with their credentials, areas of expertise, and positions on various aspects of Church teachings. You can find it at: www.catholictherapists.com.

Good luck to you!

Shae said...

As a response to the Catholic Church and the Episcopal church being nearly the same, this is a laugh.

I am neither, but my father was an Episcopal who recently converted to Catholicism. (He had become increasingly irritated with the departure from scripture in the Episcopal church). He was shocked to learn how different the two are. He has now fully embraced sound doctrinal theology.

Since my parents' conversion (my mother also converted), I have been learning a lot about Catholicism, and I have been pleasantly surprised by what I have learned. But for right now, I am happily a Free Methodist.

Also, it is my understanding that the Eastern Catholic Church allows married priests, is this correct?

CMinor said...

Shae, you're right. Eastern rite churches (or some of them, anyway) in communion with Rome have retained the married priesthood. I think the rule is that a married man may become a priest, but a priest may not marry. Celibacy is nonetheless held in special regard and some positions, like that of Bishop, are reserved for celibate priests.

I have to say, though, that the issue of whether married men should be ordained is very different from the issue of whether ordained priests should have license to play fast and loose with their sacred vows.

Anonymous said...

What is the church's teaching on wifely submission? DH and I were both raised in a Pelagian almost-cultic church. We have left it and have been attending a Calvinist presbyterian-type church. I have recently become convinced that the RCC is the church to which Christ made promises of perseverance and I would like to convert. I have stopped taking communion at our church, but just that is causing marriage problems. We are coming out of pietism, and extreme submission has generally been our modus operendi. What does the church teach about a woman in my position? Thank you for your help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks dcms, that helps a lot. I went to the cathedral today and prayed. BOLDLY. It felt good. I'll send you the novena, I really would appreciate your prayers for my friend!

Off the Farm, thank you for your prayers as well. I feel more hopeful knowing I am not the only one praying for my friend.

Jennifer, thanks for the tip. I'm hoping he will have a change of heart and want to at least look into therapy again.

Thank you everyone for the support. It is very scary to be faced with a big problem and feel like the only one who even knows about it. I really appreciate the kind words and the thoughts and prayers more than I can express. Thank you and God bless you all!


Tallulah Morehead said...

To answer Sister's one really important question in this most interesting posting, it was "Superman II".

Of course, Superman isn't under any bond not to marry. Celibacy is not a requirement of the Justice League of America. But giving up his powers lessened the danger of his accidentally killing Lois if he got carried away in the act of lovemaking.

Anyway, it was very temporary. Although we didn't learn until the recent release of the Richard Donner Cut of "Superman II" how his superpowers were restored. It was the final sacrifice of Jor-El. Kal-El was able to re-obtain his superpowers by absorbing the last of Jor-El's life force from the Kryptonian crystals, causing the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude.

Of course this was contradicted in the recent "Superman Returns", where the Fortress still stood, and Jor-El's life force still operative, but that was a sequel to the Richard Lester cut, not the Richard Donner cut. Think of them as Catholic vs Episcopalian dogmas.

But in both mythologies, Jor-El so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son to save mankind from Lex Luthor.

So inspiring.


Tallulah Morehead said...

Actually, while we're all on the topic of Kryptonian Orthodoxy, I should address Sister's remark about Kryptonite, which implied that Kryptonite was involved in depriving Superman of his Superpowers. It was not. We want to understand these matters, so we do not languish in The Phantom Zone before we are reunited in bliss with Jor-El in New Krypton.

As we all learned in DC Comics School, Superman's powers are energized by the yellow sun we orbit. The reason Kryptonians did not have superpowers on Krypton is because the red sun of Krypton cancels them out. The molecule chamber used by Kal-El to shed his powers utilized a concentrated form of the red rays of Krypton's red sun to effect the change. Hence the red glow which accompanied the chamber's work first on Kal-El, and later on General Zod, Non, and Ursa.

It is true that in the original orthodoxy of Superman, there was a substance known as Gold Kryptonite, which had the power to rob Superman of his powers permanently. It was even employed the final original-time-line Superman story, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", when Kal-El, after committing the sin of murder by intentionally killing Mr. Mxyzptlk, voluntarily gave up his powers for his penance, and settled down into marriage with Lois Lane.

However, in the series reboot of 1986, where Johnny Byrne rewrote the Superman mythos in "The Man of Steel" miniseries, henceforth known as the Superman Reformation, all forms of Kryptonite except green were excised. Therefore, while Kryptonite can still kill Superman, it can not rob him of his powers.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous with the mental illness problem: ask your Lord not to "cure" the sick person you love, but to instead to make you strong enough to cope with it.
I know what I am talking about. My daughter is severely ill, mentally, and estranged from the family. I went through the whole stage of weeping, pleading, offering myself to God instead - then I realised, very clearly one day, that the advice on my Columban calendar one year was the wisdom I needed:

"Christ came into this world neither to explain suffering, nor to take it away; but to fill it with His presence".

Everything fell into place for me when I realised that, although, I suppose that, theologically speaking, it opens a can of worms about omnipotence.
My daughter did not recover - probably never will - but I feel able to accept this thing and to live my life every day.One day at a time.

Kasia said...

To the anonymous poster on wifely submission:

I am not qualified to speak in depth on the subject, but my understanding is that it is a MUTUAL subordination - my priest has an article he wrote about it on his home page. E-mail me at clamrampant at yahoo dot com if you'd like me to send you the link.

One of the key things he emphasizes when he's talking about the roles of men and women in relationships, as he also emphasizes when people talk about gender power imbalance in the church, is that authority (whether the authority of the Pope or the authority of a husband) is *not* about power. It is about responsibility.

He would probably be happy to talk with you himself about it, but be warned that he (like most priests) is extraordinarily busy, so if you e-mail him he may not respond immediately, especially as it's such a complex question.

You might also try www.jimmyakin.org and e-mail Jimmy for guidance - he's the director of apologetics for Catholic Answers.

God bless,

Kelly said...

I hope Sr. MM tackles wifely submission. That would be great.

I agree with kasia that our church emphasizes the "submit to one another " verse over "wifes, submit to your husbands." It is my understanding that striving for a mutual agreement is the ideal. If you cannot agree, you should keep in mind that giving to one another in love is virtuous. But in the end, if neither wants to give out of generosity and you can't agree, then the husband is supposed to prayerfully make the final decision.

On the other hand, we are a very large church, and we have a variety of viewpoints held by those who claim the name Catholic. I think that most of the people in the pews would claim that wifely submission is a Baptist view, while Catholics of the more traditional sort would see it as every wife's calling.

A few links I found:

Anonymous said...

Thank You Sister! I love what you and Sharon said and I will keep praying for them. Bless you all! Happy Friday :0