Monday, November 10, 2008

Vocation

"I am Priest. Vocation. Vows. Celibate. ...

But, God calls me to change. I seek freedom. Love. ... "

NO!

Heretic!

Shame!

You can't leave!

"But, God calls me to change, freedom, love ..."

I am your God. I am the Church. I own you Priest. I am your wife and any other is a whore.

Fear me. Fear me damn you. I speak for God. I am your God. I hold your soul and will punish you.

"Goodbye."

You can't live without me. How dare you leave. I am your world. Fear me. Fear me damn you.

You're a failure. You should have never been ordained.


You damn

Sinner,

Sinner,

Sinner,

Sinner,

Sinner



Bad boy.

Bad,

bad

boy ....


"I'm free."

"Goodbye."

Our vocation is seldom a straight path, but a series of unfolding tackings and turnings. A newspaper recently reported that in any given year nearly forty percent of Americans change their careers; not jobs, careers. This mobility and transition is in part the result of shifting economic opportunities, for sure, but many are changing their lives. We live longer today; there is nothing to prevent a person from having several careers, each activating another facet of the polyhedronal self. ...

When we recognize and withdraw the projections that money and power represent, then we are obliged to ask in radical form: "What am I called to do?" This question must be asked periodically, and we must listen humbly to the answer. We may, in our individuation process, be called to incarnate many kinds of energy. Just when we have achieved a measure of stability, we may be undermined from below and called to a new direction. Whatever our social burden, whatever our economic constraint, we must keep asking anew, "What am I called to do?" Then, with planning, the paying of dues and sufficient courage, we must find a way to do it. The sacrifice of the ego, with its need for creature comforts and security, is painful, but not half so much as looking back on our lives and regretting that we failed to answer the call. The 'vocatus' is to become ourselves as fully as we are able; the task is to find out how. We are judged not only by the goodness of our heart, but also by the fullness of our courage. Relinquishing security we have struggled to obtain may be frightening, but not so much as denying that larger person we are called to be. The soul has its needs, which are not served well by paycheck and perks. (James Hollis, "The Middle Passage" pp. 73-74)

To view comments, click on comments below.

55 comments:

Joseph said...

"You can't leave . . ."

That is exactly what I have been told just recently. I am leaving at the end of the month and I feel as if some of my "friends", instead of supporting me, just taunt me as if their voice is the "Voice of God." It is a terrible feeling.

Henry said...

Joseph, it takes great courage to leave admid shaming accusations of damnation. The Church has constructed a world-view that has put itself in the place of God. It is a dictatorship and its loyal subjects are its priests, who unlike most laity that dismiss their control, are imprisoned by vows of obedience and a celibate culture of fear. Congratulations in finding freedom. It is no small accomplishment. Would love to read your story in a post on www.leavingthepriesthood.com.

Lucy said...

I wish to leave a comment for "Conrad" one of the transitioned priests.

He says he did not want to live in sin by being in a marriage not sanctioned by the church.

Conrad, what about all the previous sins, like fornicating with a married woman? You had 3-4 lovers! A fornicating priests commits two sins for the price of one act!

Am I being judgemental? I suppose I am, but one of the spiritual works of mercy is to admonish the sinner. You were a priest and held to a much higher level of expectation to live out the Christian life. I am alone myself for 15 years and yes it is awful at times, but I am called to be celibate unless in a loving marriage. No one ever said it was gonna be easy.

Why do men entertain thoughts of entering the priesthood in the first place if they know upfront they are not to marry or engage in sexual congress of any sort? There is the Permanent Diaconate if you wish to marry.

To receive our Lord in Eucharist while fornicating - what a sacrilege. And Conrad, you feel such a relationship was "sacramental"??? Love isn't always about jumping into bed with someone, it is wanting what's best for that person, for the sake of both your eternal souls.

God help us all - for the devil surely preys on His priests.

Conrad said...

Lucy,

According to all that the Church has consistently told me, you are absolutely right. It’s exactly what I kept telling myself all those years as I was repeatedly going through the sin-guilt-repent cycle. But, as that same Church also told me, “all those previous sins,” were forgiven by a merciful God through the sacrament of Penance, so that, when I was at the crossroads trying to decide which direction to take, they were no longer on the table.

The guilt feelings disappeared for the most part when I finally came to the realization that 1) the only factor that made my relationship “immoral” was the ecclesiastical decree that mandated celibacy for priests and thus prevented me from exercising my inalienable right to marry Beverly and/or Marie, 2) that no positive law of the church could ever constitute grounds for eternal damnation and 3) that it’s OK to follow one’s convictions. As the Church also teaches, the proximate norm of morality is the individual’s conscientiously formed conscience, and mine does not upbraid me in the least for my relationship with Marie. That’s why nobody—no priest, no bishop, not even the Pope himself—is justified in passing judgment on anyone else.

And yes, our relationship is sacramental. As I bask in the warmth of my beloved’s love, it speaks to me constantly of God’s endless love for me, and empowers me to be, likewise, a similar sign of God’s love for her. If that isn’t sacramental—a visible sign of God’s love and grace—then I don’t know what is or what might be. The lustful bed-hopping that you mention in passing constitutes a completely different scenario.

I empathize with you in your difficulties with living a celibate life (been there, done that!) and I deeply admire you for being faithful to your celibate commitment. However, there is a huge difference between your situation and that of the priest, because you are free to marry if you wish to do so. If the Church would restore to its priests that same freedom, which they enjoyed throughout the first fifteen centuries of the Church’s existence, it would certainly help to level the playing field.

Henry said...

Lucy,
From my reading of Conrad’s post (see “Posts from Transitioned Priests” at www.leavingthepriesthood.com), he did not “jump into bed” with anyone. He sought to love someone, which is honorable and holy. Present Church teaching implies that sex defiles a priest, but there is nothing dirty or defiling about sex, especially when celebrated in the midst of a relationship of love. I doubt Christ is offended when a priest whose heart is full of love, and who celebrated that love in sexual union, receives the Eucharist. The “sacrilege” you refer to lies in the Church forcing lonely priests to live out their lives in mandated celibacy.

The real question here is “Why does love disqualify a priest from the priesthood when the scriptures state that God is love?” By requiring priests to force love out of their hearts, mandated celibacy opposes the will of God. Also, controlling a priest’s sexuality is to control him at his deepest level. In this sense, priests are owned men and breaking free from this ownership is an act of physical and spiritual liberation, even if they have yet to leave the priesthood.

Allowing the Church to define for you the parameters of acceptable behavior limits your world-view. The Church’s major concern is self-preservation and not your spiritual enlightenment and maturity. In fact, she would find that a great threat because it would diminish her power.

Lucy said...

Sex outside of marriage is clearly fornication.

Since when does "being in love" make everything okay? what happens if the person tells themself they are in love over an over again and over the course of their livs have 5, 6, 7 "true loves" YOu see what I am getting at?

Sex within marriage isnt't a church law it is God's law.

If I continue to fornicate and go confession so I can receive the Eucharist, does it really count if I know in my heart that I am just going to go out and do it again anyway? (oh its okay because I can just go to confession...I think God knows the bottom of our hearts and our truest intentions) that would be making a mockery of the sacrament of reconciliation...in order to be forgiven, you have to be TRULY sorry and not want to do it again! You say "allowing the Church do define for you the parameter of acceptable behavior limits your world view". Henry, Conrad you guys are speaking MORAL RELATIVSIM. This type of thinking leaves what is moral up to each and every own individual

There has to be a moral compass.

Lucy said...

Let's take the priestly celibacy out of the picture all together and just focus on what else transpired---you had sex outside of marriage and sex outside of marriage for ANYONE, priest or layperson is called fornication and is a sin. This is God's law--certainly not invented by the Catholic Church.

Being in love doesn't make every action "okay" nor does going to confession after each act make you forgiven because you have to fully repent and have no intention of doing it again. God knows the bottom of our hearts and our truest intentions so why waste time making a mockery out of the sacrament of reconciliation.

I could just imagine how you two guys listened to other confessing their sins of fornication and adultery and you sat there absolving them?

We need a moral compass and cannot decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. This is relativsm - and will bring us all down.

Henry said...

Lucy,
You forget one important thing. Most priests would welcome marriage and celebrating their union with their beloved within its confines. But, tell that to the celibate male Bishops and Pope who claim to wield their dictatorial power in the name of Christ. Until you have walked in the foot steps of a priest, you will never really understand.

We became priests because we were called by God. Many of us found out later we were not called to celibacy and left under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The important issue is holding the priesthood hostage to mandated celibacy. You may want to read the information on the website www.leavingthepriesthood.com again.

Conrad said...

Yes, Lucy, by all means, let’s take the law of priestly celibacy out of the picture altogether. It dates back to 1123 AD. However, to be consistent and for the sake of discussion, let’s also take another church law out of the picture—the one requiring that a couple wanting to marry must go through a formal marriage ceremony in the church (enacted in 1565 AD). Where does that leave us? In exactly the same situation that prevailed in the church for more than half of its history!

So, if we take church laws out of the picture, what is left? Persons desiring to enter conjugal life together, honorably do so simply by committing themselves to each other and living together. That used to suffice to bring into existence a marriage fully recognized as valid by the Church. The point here is that all that prevented me from entering into a church-sanctioned marriage was the law of the Church itself. Take away the mandatory celibacy and the problem disappears, doesn’t it?

Rescinding mandatory celibacy and the requirement of form would not, of course, put a stamp of approval on casual sex or on bed-hopping, which I acknowledge to be immoral, but it would indeed validate, in the Church’s eyes—and, I believe, in God’s eyes as well—a loving, committed sexual relationship between a man and a woman. It would, in fact, be truly a marriage, without the trappings of civil and ecclesiastical law.

That’s not moral relativism. It’s simply recognizing that the positive law of the Church does not determine the moral character of an action. A moral compass does indeed still exist. However, it is not found in ecclesiastical regulations per se, but in the natural law that is binding on all of humanity.

Lucy said...

I apologize for the two similar postings as I am having difficult making sure the comments are submitted correctly. Hope it doesn't happen again.

That is very well put Conrad and I am open to your views and opinions (and yours as well Henry)

Forgive me if I am not as well-versed or knowledgable of Church history (I have had no college education) I only speak from my heart and from reading many books throughout my life.

But as for what is moral law - well WHO defines what moral law is then? Is it Almighty God, or is it the the indivdual who tries to interpret scripture on his own.

You are saying that if a man and a woman commit themselves to each other, without any sort of ceremony at all, that at one point in time that ws okay with the church. I suppose then, that even gay couples can do this and feel it is also a moral act becuase in their own eyes they "love each other"

I am interested in hearing your views on gay couples as well. I am not trying to broaden the topic too much away from priestly celibacy; rather I am trying to point to what constitutes "right and wrong" in the eyes of the individual vs. God and the Church. You feel what you did was fine and loving and acceptable in God's eyes. On the other hand, some pretty wacky people out there might also feel THEIR behavior and lifestyle choices are "ok" and perfectly acceptable as long as it doesn't hurt anyone and it is between two consenting adults.

Who decides what is right and wrong? That to me is what moral relativism is - specific to each individuals life and circumstances Where is the line drawn and WHO draws the line?

Conrad and Henry - please just both of you give me YOUR definition of "FORNICATION"

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

Henry said...

Lucy,
The Bishop has to give his priests permission to fornicate. When saying masses, a priest can binate and trinate, but needs permission to fornicate (say four masses in one day). Because the shortage of priests, I expect more bishops are giving their priests permission to fornicate.

Seriously, fornication is what most of us did in the back seats of our cars during high school and college. After I got my drivers license, I remember the lecture my mother gave me prior to my first date. It was the first time I heard her talk about hell. She feared that her authority was not enough to curtain my sexual curiosity, so she felt it necessary to bring God into the picture. It didn’t work very well in 1970 and is even less effective today. Using God and the fear of hell to control children may work for awhile, but normally during adolescence the God of fear is discarded when they realized it was all about attempting to control their behavior. They spend the next few decades of their lives trying to salvage a God they can believe in.

I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of unmarried people fornicate prior to marriage, especially when the average age of first marriages today is around 25, rather than 18 or younger as it was 75 years ago. Today, most couples cohabitate prior to marriage and the church will need to make peace with this. When first ordained, I tried to enforce diocesan policy which required cohabiting couples to move apart or have a small wedding. All it accomplished was the alienation of families from the Church.

Lucy, you seem rather preoccupied with “sins of the flesh”. Why? Do you perceive sex as “dirty”?

Jesus’ major concern was about compassion and the scriptures record little from him about today’s hot topic sexual issues. Just last Sunday on the feast of Christ the King we heard this proclaimed:

The King will say to those on his left, “Depart from me you evil doers. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not invited me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothed me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me… Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:41-45

I see nothing here about sexual behavior, which seems to be your and the Church’s major concern. “Sins of the flesh” are most often about two people attempting to express their love for one another. There are far worse things.

Are you going to also defend the Church’s ban on artificial birth control? When it comes to teachings about sexuality, the Church has lost its credibility.

Regarding homosexuality, I would welcome input from our gay brothers and sisters. I’m in favor of inclusion and feel that among many conservative Christians, gay people are today’s “lepers”. I doubt anyone chooses to be gay. Why would they choose to be an outcast and possibly beaten and killed? I remember a young man coming to confession shortly before I left the priesthood. After he confessed he was gay, he then asked if God would condemn him if he committed suicide. His purpose in going to confession was to get permission to kill himself. He certainly did not choose to be homosexual. It’s time to stop persecuting gay people.

During the abolition movement of the 17th century, those in favor of slave ownership quoted scripture in defense of their position. While acknowledging there are scriptures in favor of slave ownership, the abolitionists argued that the thrust of scripture as a whole points to freeing slaves. I believe the same argument is valid for the issue of homosexuality.

Henry said...

Lucy,
You asked, "Who decides what is right and wrong?" I think the answer to that question is "you". Decisions are made by others for children and not adults. Adults make their own decisions which is a sign of spiritual maturity. I don't think this is relativism. On www.leavingthepriesthood.com website, I stated more of my views about this under the sections: "Defining Truth" and "Relativism vs Pluralism".

Conrad said...

Who defines the moral law? I say that It is God, who has written it into the very nature of the world he created, and who gave us humans the power of reasoning (common sense, if you will) so that we could figure out, by observing the nature of things, which actions are right and which are wrong. The Church can help a person do this and provide much needed guidance in the process of growing to maturity and in the formation of conscience.

However, the Church does not create the natural law. It only interprets it, and not always correctly, I might add. For example, what person gifted with only a modicum of common sense would subscribe to the teaching that, for the unmarried, sexual sins admit no parvity of matter—that ANY transgression of the sexual moral code, however slight it may seem to be (for example, enjoying the sensation of spontaneous sexual arousal), is mortal sin when fully consented to, and can thus invoke the ultimate sanction of eternal damnation`

I understand and appreciate your alarm at “subjective morality,” and, along with you, I condemn it outright. But coming to a conclusion about what is right and wrong by considering the nature of things is not subjective morality. Subjective morality is looking at a poisonous mushroom, declaring that it is non-poisonous, and eating it; objective morality is recognizing it as poisonous and avoiding it. (That’s only an example, which you could probably shoot full of holes, but I think it illustrates the point.)

So, who decides what is right and what is wrong? The individual, basing his (substitute “her” if appropriate) decision on objective truth learned from whatever resources are available to him and not simply on emotions and whims. He may not always be objectively right, but he is morally blameless if he does what he conscientiously believes to be all right.

About fornication. Webster defines it as: consensual sexual intercourse between unmarried persons. (Please muffle the ah-HA!) So who’s to blame for my fornication? I say it’s both of us—both the Church and I. For my part, I could have refrained from the activity, so I’ll have to take responsibility for that. However, equally responsible is the Church, by making it impossible for me to exercise my inalienable right to marry. I’m saying that I would have married Beverly were it not for that bit of positive legislation. I don’t blame the Church for my relationships and my actions, but I do blame her for calling them immoral and maintaining an artificial barrier to prevent me from rendering them OK. That’s also why I could truthfully say in my post in Leaving the Priesthood.com: “It was only after fourteen years into this relationship that I quit feeling guilty about it, reasoning that the ONLY thing that stood in the way of its being recognized as honorable was the church’s law of mandatory celibacy for priests.”

You ask for my views about gay couples. I think what I’ve said above will also help illustrate my views on that subject. First of all, I do not believe that anyone chooses to be gay—be it due to nature or to nurture, a homosexual person has had no choice in the matter, any more than I could have chosen to be heterosexual. I respect a gay person’s freedom of conscience just I expect everyone to respect mine. I believe that most of Scripture that is cited to condemn homosexual relationships is misinterpreted through emotional arguments and the biblical emphasis on the primacy of childbearing. True, conception is impossible in gay relationships, but other fruits of marriage such as mutual support and love can be attained, just as they can in the equally sterile marriages of the elderly. I don’t believe that the Church has listened to enough honest input from the gay community to be able to state definitively that committed sexual relationships between gay persons are immoral. Gays are called upon to look at their situation honestly, taking into account all the factors that might affect the morality of their sexual activity, and make their decisions accordingly.

Lucy said...

Well I guess the bishop won't allow fornication at all since doing it three times is the max and you might get worn out and unable to perform yet another time huh Henry (you're a regular riot Alice!)

No I am not obsessed with sins of the flesh guys, really. I have a very healthy attitude towards sex and as you can see a sense of humor about it too.

I do not condemn homosexuals, I personally feel that many if not most of them did not CHOOSe to be outcast either or keep the secret hidden. I am sure people with a deep orientation to their own sex are very troubled and carry a very heavy cross.

However, I AM finding that many young people today simply choose to EXPERIMENT with this lifestyle and like to be thought of as bisexual. They feel it is ok - that I am against big time, as a daughter of two young adults.

As for my own past sins youa re talking to a divorced woman who has had an abortion, several lovers and fell in love with a priest - the latter part being after a conversion of heart and repentence back to the Catholic CHurch U was raised in- so you can see I have a personal interest in your stories. The priest did not love me back though, I told him my feelings, but he simply ran away and ended all communication with me. IT was very vary painful - the hardest cross I ever had to bear.

So I listen to what the Church tells me as well, that I a sinner for having wanted to steal intimacy from a man who was not free to begin with. I don't want to go to hell for loving him or desiring him either. I still think of him every day and believe in my heart he had feelings as well, but could not handle it when I revealed it to him in a letter.

Conrad said...

Thank you, Lucy, for sharing those intimately personal details. It brought our ongoing discussion down from the theoretical to a deeply personal level and gave rise to warm feelings toward you, and if you were here I’d just like to give you a great big hug.

It would be nice if you wrote up the story about you and the priest you loved, and submitted it for posting on the website. There are probably hundreds of women who have walked in your shoes, and some of them might well respond with sharings of their own, forming a support group in cyberspace! We might even hear from some priests who are or were in HIS shoes.

Henry said...

Lucy,
Thank you for sharing some of the challenging events of your personal life. I too would enjoy reading the story of your relationship with the priest you loved. You can email it to me at henry@leavingthepriesthood.com. We can start a post on www.leavingthepriesthood.com entitled "Women Who Love Priests" or something like that. There are other women considering writing a similar post on the website.

Anonymous said...

Lucy,
I am with you on this issue...completely. As a woman I think that priests are far too willing to have sex with a woman "in the name of love" and leave the marriage and commitment part out of the piticure.
I think, if will pardon me Henry, that you are rationalizing behavior which is not Christian teaching for anyone. Sex outside of marriage is a sin for Christians but one which no one seems willing to address.

The priest I was involved with saw no harm whatsoever to a woman in having sex with her and then moving on when the feelings "passed" or the situation became difficult for him. It takes a lot more than "love" to make a decent and honorable relationship with a woman and I think that priests do not get this at all.

Henry said...

Anonymous,
I know there are priests out there who have casual sex with multiple partners but I believe they are in a small minority and their behavior must be condemned. Like any other organization, the priesthood has its share of assholes and it sounds like you had the unfortunate experience of finding one. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say he found you and maybe even preyed upon you. If you would like to share your story, please email it to me at henry@leavingthepriesthood.com and I will post it on the website under “Women Who Love Priests”. It would be good for priests to read about the experience of women who get hurt in relationships that become sexual when they refuse to leave the priesthood.

Unlike my early years in the priesthood, I do not think sex outside of marriage is necessarily a sin. In the USA, perhaps the majority of people live together prior to marriage and in Canada and parts of Europe, the vast majority do. I refer you to Conrad’s post above about the history of marriage and who determines moral law. Today, the Church says, “You’re not married until I say you’re married”, but the Church is not God. It is a human organization controlled by male celibates whose attitude about sexuality is archaic. Why should people listen to a Church who considers its priests sexual appetite to be an alien force within him which must be opposed with a vengeance? Even masturbation is considered a sin! The Church’s ban on artificial methods of birth control indicates it should not be taken seriously. The majority of Catholics have rightfully lifted themselves out from under this oppression by disregarding much of the Church’s teaching about human sexuality.

Anonymous said...

Henry,
Have you know a fair number of priests who have this casual sex on the side and then pretend to play holy priest at the altar? I have read stories where bishops have found out some of their priests had girlfriends and, although while certainly not condoning such behavior and discouraging it--the bishops preferred the priest carry on in secret with the woman rather than leave the priesthood to marry her! This to them was a lesser sin and scandal! "What they don't know won't hurt them" sort of thinking. But leave the priesthood and marry? Abomination! This is probably more prevalent in the last 10 years or so; as Conrad's and your stories do no reflect such attitudes from your bishops. Either way I think it stinks big time.
Lucy



There is something really really wrong here and very much a sin in my eyes.

Henry said...

Lucy,
No, I do not personally know any priests who have casual sex with multiple women but I am sure they are out there and the damage they do is enormous. Anonymous seems to have been involved with one. But, again, I think they are in the minority. Normally, priests who get sexually involved with women do so within a relationship of mutual love and sex is one aspect of their relationship. Most of these priests are men who feel starved for companionship of depth and begin these relationships in friendship.

Mandatory celibacy is a little like telling a starving man he can have no food, and when he finds some food he is publicly shamed for desiring it and consuming it. Yet, God created the desire for food and food is essential to a healthy body. Likewise, we all have similar needs for intimate loving companionship and it was put in us by God. Yes, it can be sacrificed but what does that do to one’s soul especially if love has been awakened from a long celibate slumber? I think denying this awakened love has negative spiritual consequences for the celibate. The love of God knocked at the door and he refused to open.

Regarding Bishops turning a blind eye to priests involved in sexual relationships with women, I think this did happen in the past but those days are now over because of law suits. Now, bishops are quick to drop the axe on a priest in love and sometimes do so even in violation of canon law. Often, the canonical rights of priests are not respected when a bishop comes in like gang busters when a priest is attempting to work through a relationship. They are booted and normally not reinstated because they are perceived as a financial risk to the diocese. The effect of this has been to drive priestly relationships of love deeper underground.

Anonymous said...

I have heard these same arguments from the priest I was involved with - the rationale being that the church has failed as regards sexual teaching therefore "I can do what I want" or even "we can all do what we want" as regards sex. The church got it wrong on birth control so ergo it has it wrong on everything else about sex. Personally I think this is nonsense and I think that you and Conrad have missed the illogical argument being put forward.

If as you state confession, a man made institution, brings forgiveness from God [working through the church] - then why does the same church in its teaching not bring condemnation from God? God only works through the church to forgive but not condemn?

I understand very well the history of moral thought and ethics. The fact that there is an evolutionarily process in moral development does not necessarily render contemporary teaching invalid or abrogate it. I think that some sexual codes actually benefit women well.

Sex outside of marriage serves men far more than it does women. Male and female sexuality are not equivalent - in spite of such pronouncements in the early to mid twentieth century by progressive women. Women bring a far great emotional dimension to sexual relationships and need to have their emotions catered to in order to feel fulfilled. Rarely is a woman looking for a purely sexual relationship - but men sometimes are. How many porn magazines are aimed at women - how many women seek male prostitutes?

Men having sex with women - the way so many Catholic priests do - for no other reason other than a covert "love" are being abusive - and selfish. A man's relationship with a woman ought to have other components to it - like loyalty, faithfulness and be openly proclaimed so that the woman is in a primary position in the man's life and that those around him respect this. Anything short of this is abuse in my opinion and a priest having sex with a woman under these conditions is abusive to her.

Henry said...

Anonymous,
The Church has no power except that which we give it. I do not perceive the Church having power to either forgive or condemn. The Church can pronounce forgiveness in the confessional or during the penitential rite, but it is doing nothing but proclaim the forgiveness that is already yours. It is a nice part of the liturgy and comforting to hear words of forgiveness, but no one, including the priest, stands between you and God. In this we have both freedom and responsibility.

It appears to me that the priest you were in relationship with was irresponsible and would be irresponsible in any other walk of life. He may even be in the priesthood to prey on women, which is an unspeakable evil. If this is the case, his conscience is malformed and he ought to receive the boot. I want to believe that most priests get sexually involved with people they love and do not have casual sex, but mandated celibacy can attract some very confused people and nothing surprises me anymore. Why the hierarchy insists on maintaining this Church discipline is beyond my understanding. Perhaps there have not been enough law suits. They will not be convinced by reason.

I agree that women have much more at stake when engaging in sex and sex should be surrounded in a relationship of committed love. I think it would be best if priests who find themselves in love would leave the priesthood and get on with their lives in the light and outside of the shaming shadows mandated celibacy. When he refuses to leave, not only is he being abused by celibacy, but now his beloved is too. I fail to understand why a priest would expect the person he loves to do so in shaming shadows. If he really loves her, he should leave and once out and established he will be very thankful he did. If the priest you were in relationship refused to leave, he probably would have failed to look out for your best interests later. Perhaps you should kiss the ground you are walking on and thank God you never married him.

Conrad said...

I agree. It's just as abusive as if a layman had casual sex without the loyalty and faithfulness that the sexual relationship morally calls for. A priest who is living "the third way" can be faithful and loyal to a woman, but is prevented by canon law from making the relationship public. Whose fault is that?

Lucy said...

I agree. That priest she was involved with was a real ass and "user" -shameful. Yet the ones who truly love and want to be committed to a woman are looked down upon as "fallen priests" and failures in the eyes of the church. I just dont get it either guys.

Anonymous said...

Sorry all, but I won’t be fobbed off by the comfortable proposition that the one priest I was involved with was no good and a "bad apple" and the majority are fine and psychologically healthy but hampered by the nasty church teaching on celibacy. Now, where have we heard that argument made before? Oh yes, the Church makes that case all the time. “The few bad apples” syndrome that we heard about the child molesters. Celibacy and the priesthood does far greater damage to the men in the priesthood that many seem willing to accept.

The man I was involved with left the priesthood and still could not get himself emotionally together. I have spent too long talking with other women who have been involved with priests, too long reading testimonies from women, and far too long observing the behavior of men in the priesthood to accept that there is not a psychological profile that fits probably a majority of men in the Catholic priesthood.

Lucy, the guy you were involved with was an emotionally damaged individual who acted like he was a frightened teenage boy. He was not a mature grown up man – that is why he fled. He had a “crush” on you and then ran away – what would be, about 14 year old behavior? Sounds about right to me. This is only one aspect of what their lives do to them. Fleeing situations is typical of many of them. For someone on here to refer to you and him as “holy” because of this result would be hilarious if it were not more accurately a tragic denial of this retarded way of behaving.

By the way, I am having problems posting under an ID. I do not want to open a Google account - I avoid Google if at all possible.

Henry said...

Anonymous,
Perhaps you are correct in saying the majority of priests are dysfunctional when it comes to relationships of love. But, I don't blame it totally on priests.

Imagine for a moment that you are married to a man who regularly abuses you and you fall in love with another person with whom you want to begin a new life. But, if your husband knows you are in love with this other person he will release his wrath upon you. You know he has the ability to publicly shame you and pronounced you a failure to the community. To make matters worse, your husband and many others who know him claim he has divine powers to damn your soul to hell and you’re not so sure he can’t.

Within this environment, how easy would it be for you to love this other man?

This is the scenario priests in love find themselves. Over their shoulder is an institution eager to publicly shame them, shun them from the community and pronounce them a failure and hell bound. It is a little like attempting to love someone in a war zone. It is difficult to be mentally sound in such an environment.

After leaving the priesthood and experiencing the Church’s wrath both explicitly and implicitly, I came to the conclusion I had been partially brainwashed. Years before I left, I counseled a woman who extracted herself (with the help of her family) from the Moonie cult; and I saw parallels in my leaving the priesthood. Even now, I occasionally get an email from some smart-ass young Vocation Director stating I am a failure for leaving and should have never been ordained.

So, in a sense, all priests come from a dysfunctional family and will need to do some inner work before they can properly get on with their lives. I hope the website, www.leavingthepriesthood.com will help them in this regard.

Penny [formerly anonymous] said...

Henry,

I am trying to be munificent here but I find your analogy a little patronizing. I can get what the church dogma on celibacy does to priests – wasn’t that my point? - without you trying to simplify it to what you feel would be my otherwise limited world view. My post indicated what I saw as the result of celibacy on men who cannot grow emotionally. It was not my intention to blame anyone – I was just pointing out the result of this bizarre way of life. My experience has led me to see that emotionally they are not fully grown up men.

The problem for women however, is that they have to deal with these emotionally retarded guys who flee at the first sign of having to admit any involvement in a relationship. Lucy is not by any means alone in her experience – pity the women whose relationships have advanced to sex and pregnancy and then get abandoned by these emotionally immature scaredy-cats. This abandonment is often done with the support of the church in the person of the bishop.

You asked for women who have had experience with involvement with priests to come on here and express opinions and I am trying to give you that. Priests ought to know and learn that there is enormous responsibility that goes along with an emotional relationship with a woman – especially one that goes on for some time. You shouldn't just flirt and flee.
Penny

I am trying to post under "Penny" ID and not anonymous. Here goes...

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conrad said...

Penny,
You write: “I have spent too long talking with other women who have been involved with priests, too long reading testimonies from women, and far too long observing the behavior of men in the priesthood to accept that there is not a psychological profile that fits probably a majority of men in the Catholic priesthood.”

I think you are making a keen observation here with which I agree, and I think I can help explain at least one factor that may have contributed to the problem, especially regarding us guys who were ordained before Vatican II.

Many of us went into the seminary right out of grade school, though I myself entered at age 16. Contact with girls other than family members, was forbidden. That rule held also when we were home for Christmas or the summer.

This, in effect, forced us to keep our distance from females even before we knew what celibacy was all about and deprived us of the psychological benefits of interacting with them during our formative years. Add to that the complete lack of discussion and/or guidance in sexual matters, and you can see why some of our personalities may have gotten somewhat warped, as I’m sure mine was. Hopefully post-Vatican trainees fared better.

Conrad

Henry said...

I agree with the above comment from Conrad. However, I was post-Vatican II trained and entered the seminary during early college. Even so, I found a sort of dualism between flesh and spirit to exist and necessary to live a life of mandated celibacy. I think most priests fear their appetite for intimacy when it is aroused because it may put them at crisis with their vocation. This results in many becoming alienated from their sexuality and ability to give and receive intimate nurturing even if it is not sexual. For the priest, when entering this emotional arena, he sees “DANGER” written all over it. This hinders healthy emotional development for many priests.

Anonymous said...

I have not read these comments before and I am rather shocked at the comment about sex outside of marriage being "God's law". If anyone thinks that "law" is specified in the Ten Commandments, he can think again. The commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery" only pertains to persons who are already in a union. It does not refer to single persons at all. Although, historically, the Jews [Christianity borrowed the Commandments] were concerned about the chastity of their young girls as they had to be virgins at the time of marriage, one was usually married at puberty. Then the couple lived with one set of the parents. This was the case until the 18th Century AD. There was not much of a time to be single and no dating whatsoever. Married women were not to have sex outside of marriage and married men could have sex with as many partners as they could find--but not with the wives of other men. This had to do with the laws of inheritance more than morality because the Jews believed a man had the right to be certain his children belonged to him and not another man. Once again, there was little concern about single people having sex because people were married so young--and the matches were made for them by their parents. Anyone who believes that two single persons who love one another are sinning because they are engaged in sexual activity have been confused by some religious who are confused, themselves. Promiscuity, for obvious reasons, is not healthy for anyone.

Trish said...

Actually, I think you'll find adultery to mean sex outside of marriage regardless of the person being single or married.

And the idea of priests having sex while being priests regardless of what the Church condones or not, is nearly making me want to pull away from the Church rather than go towards it. It's not as if celibacy was a thing they told you about AFTER you joined. You knew about it before. Regardless of whether the church is right in having Priests remain celibate, you vowed to God that you would remain that way. You broke your vow to God.

That's a terrible sin and a heavy burden for anyone to bear. I do not believe, though, that you can be truly forgiven until you accept that you went into Priesthood knowing celibacy was a requirement and vowing to GOD that you would uphold that, and then failing to do so.

No matter how you point at the Church as the cause of your woe, remember there are three other fingers pointing back at you as the cause as well.

Henry said...

Trish, you said "You vowed to God that you would remain that way, (celibate). You broke your vow to God."

Correction, our vow was to the church, not to God. BIG difference. God is not the church. It may bring a sense of security believing the church is God, but that is an illusion.

Trish said...

If you didn't believe that your vow was to God, to be a Priest in His name and act in the person of Christ, then why did you make a vow to a Church...a Church who if it has no authority by God is not a Christian church.

I think you did believe at the time of your vows that the Church was given authority by God, and I think you are saying otherwise now in order to allievate some of your guilt for your sexual indiscretions and inability to maintain the vow you made to God. In all reality if you would only accept that you broke your vow with God, then He would forgive you. Instead you misused a Sacrament of the church by going to Confession knowing that you would continue to practice adultery.

It's not my place to judge where you will go, but I find it sad that you think the only real blame lies within the Church.

Henry said...

No, I never equated God with the church, but must admit that they were closely related in my mind during the time I professed the promise of celibacy to my Bishop. But, to equate God with the church is idolatry. That is the whole point of my “Over the Rainbow” blog. The little man behind the curtain pulling the levers with all the smoke and fire is nothing more than a little man. He is not God. I think spiritual maturity requires we make this separation. To ascribe the status of God to the church or any other human institution or human being may bring a sense of security and safety, but it is also dangerous and leans into the cultic. I hope you can reflect on this in prayer and see that God transcends any human categories, people or institutions. You may think you know God’s will but humility demands you admit it is beyond your human comprehension. It appears your faith is in the church and not in God or Jesus who are divine and by definition, omnipotent, which is to say, beyond human understanding or control.

Rosanne Dingli said...

For all those having trouble leaving, or indeed staying, I have written some of those feelings into my new novel According to Luke, in which the protagonist Jana Hayes, falls in love with a priest. It is getting good reviews on Amazon. Have a look - it tackles faith, loyalty and love, in addition to conflict and confusion, and the reasons that hide behind some motivations for becoming a priest.

Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I loved a man and he loved me, but called to the priesthood he chose it over me. He left seminary and returned to me, left me and returned to seminary. Became a priest and serves within the confines of the vocation. It's been many years, he has recently said he still loves me. Given the choice he would have both me and the priesthood central to his life. He has shared that his lonliness diminishes his vocation, as he is deeply saddened observing families - he wanted one for himself. He is deeply saddened after an evening mass to know that the others are returning home together with their loved ones, and he to a sterile and lonely room. I think he should leave the priesthood but would never ask, nor offer to be there for him if he did because time and again, he chose the priesthood first. It is an archaic, financially motivated and rediculous requirement.

I will not believe my love for this man was not a gift from God. It didn't work out for either of us because of the rules of man. Denying a gift from God is not a good idea - the Church is wrong to expect it.

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic woman, when I fell in love with a Catholic man, who also fell in love with me, I was deeply hurt that his love for me, as he was planning to enter seminary, was considered to "defile" him and to be an "abomination" under our shared faith and God. He has been a priest for many years, I have struggled to move on. I married but the marriage was in many ways a compromise. I put my all into it but have never felt the same with any man other than this priest I have so long loved. I think it is ludicrous that our church teaches that having my love would diminish his life, his vocation, his work. The truth is that the church has the dream situation as an employer - keep your employees impoverished and alone so you can transfer them at will, never worry about them having any kind of personal life or other personal obligations, never having to consider them to be men. The fact that many men are now converting from priesthood in the Anglican church to Catholic priests,bringing their families alone, and that the Eastern Catholic churches have long permitted marriage, even our own faith is not consistent.

My one true love will never leave his vocation. On one hand I'm taught that he doesn't need me, that this is perfectly a natural state for a priest. On the other, he hasn't seen me in decades yet feels just meeting me for coffee would jeopordize his vows and so he is not comfortable doing so, even as a friend.

I don't like being considered the devil's handmaiden for simply loving a man, in large part because of his strong faith. If after decades of being apart and honoring his vows and living separately and trying to move on separately we are still feeling what we do, am I crazy to feel that we are denying a gift from God?

I guess it doesn't matter - he will never leave, the Church, even if it does change, will likely never permit current priests to marry, even if they extend the current allowance for already married men to become ordained beyond the Eastern churches and those converting from Anglicanism.

I am at a loss to understand this unecessary hurt. I am also frustrated that when I've tried to talk to other priests about this, seeking some understanding, they act like I have some sick fetish for priests. I did not fall in love with a priest - I fell in love with a college guy who I did not know was considering the priesthood, then lost him when he made that decision. I have to treat it as I would a man who claims to care for me yet married someone else - he's not available. It's just hard knowing he still loves me, and knowing my church things I'm a horrible temptress - absolutely rediculous. I am a faithful Catholic woman who only wants to share this man with them, and wants to support his relationship with his vocation.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading the posts on this website for quite a long time. My conclusion is it doesn't take a Dr. Freud to analyze that many of the people who write here continue to be brainwashed by the self-serving rhetoric of the Catholic church. One of the biggest entrapment terms is, IMO, "vocation". It means, essentially, a "calling", but the church insists that the one who did the calling to the priesthood was God. Many people would opine that a cardiologist, for example, does an equal service to humanity as a priest--if not more--but the church doesn't say a cardiologist has a "vocation". The catch behind all this is if a man decides to stop being a priest because he is unhappy he betrays God, the one who "called" him. As far as I can tell, only one priest here spoke truly in his post when he stated that he decided he could put up with mandatory celibacy because he wanted to become a priest so badly. He knows and is willing to admit that it was he who was attracted to the priesthood for his own reasons, just as other men are attracted to other jobs or professions for reasons known to them.

How many times have I heard the phrases "married to the church" in the case of priests and "bride of Christ" regarding nuns? More rhetorical nonsense and more entrapment that trickles down to the women here who have loved priests. They all claim love [not just to have had a casual affair with the padre] but some feel quite guilty about their feelings of love as though a priest were not just another man in a uniform. I even get the sense some of the women don't even blame the priests for not choosing them over the priesthood because they *had no business getting involved with a priest in the first place*. Do the women who fall in love with members of the clergy of other faiths twist themselves into knots like this? No. Because, for some reason, the see the ministers and rabbis as men first and not a piece of property owned by a mighty institution that has specified "hands off or both of you will receive eternal punishment". I am not a Protestant but all this seemed like nonsense to a lot of people even hundreds of years ago. That's why there was a Reformation. Unfortunately for those here, your ancestors decided to stick with the church of Rome and so you are stuck with the same medieval guilt-producing rhetoric that has made you so unhappy and frustrated. As to the popes--is there really superior wisdom in old age? I have seen a lot of foolish old men that seem to belie that belief and not a one of them wants to diverge from his daily routine. It's the elderly who find security in sticking to the status quo and that is why every pope elected is up there in years--out of fear that a young one might have some "modern ideas" that could rock the boat. Wake up. This is the 21st Century. We not only have physics but quantum physics. If there was a heaven or a hell *out there* it would have been discovered by now. Heaven and hell is right here on earth and some varieties of hell are caused by faiths [not just the Catholic one] who brainwash people at an early age and give them no peace of mind even as adults.

Anonymous said...

You say:

"I have to treat it as I would a man who claims to care for me yet married someone else - he's not available. It's just hard knowing he still loves me, and knowing my church things I'm a horrible temptress - absolutely rediculous. I am a faithful Catholic woman who only wants to share this man with them, and wants to support his relationship with his vocation."

I think you're in denial. A man can "care for" one woman but, if he marries someone else, he didn't really love her. Nowadays, who could have forced him to marry that other woman? I cannot believe a man who is truly in love with a woman would give her up in order to become a priest, either. Would you have left this man to become a nun, had it been your choice?

Brigette said...

i am currently attracted to my priest and he also admitted that he loves me too....but now whereto from here?

Henry said...

Brigette,
I encourage you to review www.leavingthepriesthood.com and forward it to the priest you love. You both may find helpful information as you look at your future.

Anonymous,
Thank you for your insights about how church leaders have constructed their ecclesiastical system to control priests and convince them they are "married" to the church via their "vocation". It is obvious you are not under the thumb of this cult-like institution. It is possible for doctors or anyone else to view their work as a vocation where they feel called by God to use their gifts to bring healing. The problem with priests considering their work to be a vocation where they have been called by God, is that the church has put itself in the place of God. Priests who long for marital companionship most clearly see the cult-like control the church has over them. The experience of love often opens the priest's eyes to this reality.

Anonymous said...

Henry, I very much agree with you when you write that the church has put itself in place of God. It has "an infallible leader", which is one of the hallmarks of a cult. And, of course, this leader has a direct line to God and knows exact what he wants and requires of people. Right. The sad part is, people actually believe this. I would say this to practicing Catholics: Enjoy the beautiful aspects of your religion. Enjoy the mass, the music, and the smell of the incense. But do not live in fear and guilt. Don't worry about sins as long as you follow the Golden Rule and do not harm others. Most of the "sins" the church tries to shove down your throat were invented by it to control you and to make it more powerful. Only those you have hurt have the power to forgive you. Ask forgiveness of them and not of a man who is not perfect, himself, because he is a human being and capable of wrong-doing, too. Or, lacking the forgiveness of others, if you are sincere in your efforts to become a better person, forgive yourself. In the final analysis, this is the key to healing and emotional wellness.

To you ladies who are suffering due to having been involved with a priest or are currently in that situation--here is a rule of thumb that ought to be engraved in gold and studded with diamonds: "It isn't what a man SAYS to you that counts. It's what he DOES."

Rita said...

I have been involved with a priest since 2008.He says he loves me and I know I love him.He is the only man I have ever really loved.We met when I was doing voluntary work in their parish dispensary in the third world.Unfortunately am currently in europe and he is still in Africa.I meet lots of other men but am not attracted to any of them.I actually used to condemn myself for loving a priest but after going through this blog,I do accept that love is from God.Currently we are not communicating much but we do have times when we are so close and intense with each other.Unfortunately we chose the third option.Am not sure if he would be willing to leave the priesthood but there are times when he has confessed his regrets at not being able to having a family of his own.I would really love to have a life with him but I would not want to appear to be pushing him into a corner.I pray for him a lot and I hope someday something will give.For now its just hoping and praying.............

Anonymous said...

If a priest requests to be laizcized voluntarily because he believes he is being called to the vocation of family life, does his laicization include the dispensation from clerical celibacy? Thus, when he is laicized, will he be free to marry?

Henry said...

Regarding the laicization question. From my friend Conrad: "Yes, indeed. In fact, it is probably the only reason for requesting laicization in the first place (though the forced laicizaions currently occurring in the wake of sexual abuse would have the same effect). When a priest is laicized in either way, the Church removes the priest from the ranks of the clergy and makes him, once again, a layman. Holy Orders constitutes a diriment impediment to marriage, invalidating the marriage so that the church does not regard it as a marriage. The laicization dispenses the priest from this impediment and thus removes the obligation of celibacy imposed upon the priest by church law, so that he is free to marry, provided there is no other impediment. It also strips him of rights and privileges of priesthood, such as a right to financial support and the privilege of being called 'Father.' However, rights that are enforcable under civil law, such as the right to a pension (if such a right exists), are not taken away, but are honored according to the by-laws of the diocesan administration."

Irish Vocation said...

Hey guys,

I am at the moment considering a Vocation. I feel that this doesnt look at the positives of a Vocation. I believe there are

Anonymous said...

To thy known self be true .....those write easy, but are so difficult to live in the heart of a priest...who was born, still is a man, but laws that did not take into consideration they are human...I pray to God almighty for the holy spirit to show light to the Catholic church ..that they most of all don't show compassion and love ..which is the core of their teachings ...especially to the ones closiest to them their priests...Please support the 300 priests and bishops in Austria alone crying for change ..they seek to keep the Catholic church alive ...men have to die for lack of help with aids, some start addictions of alochol, preversed sexual behaviour and the church turns a blind eye on them....their is its love ....

Anonymous said...

I have been seeing a psychiatrist for the past nine months and trying my best to get well. Came upon this blog (hoping to find relief and answer to the purpose of my life). I have loved this priest for 40 over years. Since i know i will never be able to take him away from God, I married a divorcee. It was a very miserable and abusive marriage. Left me broken mentally and spiritually. After more than 20 years, with this priest's help, i returned to church as a practising catholic once more. When i was down with depression, i confessed to him my feelings and he told me that he has known all along how i felt for him. All these years, he has been praying every day for me and he was always there for me in good and bad times. We have became close friends over the years. What kept us pure is mainly with the help of God's love and blessings. Till today and to the day we part from this world, we wish each other heaven. I love him too much to want to hurt him or myself. Most of all, we don't want to sin against God. It's very very painful for me but it will be more painful if i drag him to hell with me. I am definitely no saint or a good catholic, but by learning to offer my sufferings and pain in union with Jesus, i hope to redeem myself and finding a reason for my pain. I don't ever regret loving him. In fact my spiritual life has been enriched because of his faithfulness to his vocation. He make me aim for heaven. Sometimes, it hurts so much and i understand how difficult it is to carry such a cross. What's the point of justifying or judging others for their choices in life? Only God can judge us. Only God will understand our personal hell when we fall in love with someone who can not love us.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why I should have been surprised that the idea of a priest having sex wouldn't exactly shock the French nation but there it was in a televison serial, aired in 1989. And it was really incidental to the plot of "Rennes le Chateau: L'Or du Diable", an account I have been watching on YouTube of a priest who really existed, Béranger Saunière, a man who became pastor of a broken-down church in the south of France in that latter part of the 19th Century. At first the priest was impoverished like his parish, but then he seems to have gotten rich. In the series, he found a great treasure there at Rennes le Chateau, but there have been other speculations. During the episdoes, Béranger Saunière is not only seen as canoodling with his pretty young housekeeper but actually in bed with his half-naked mistress, an opera singer. I couldn't help but think that this would never have flown on American TV in 1989 and not even today. So I have to conclude that perhaps North America is one of the last places where a priest having consentual sex is thought disturbing and unacceptable, the stance of the Vatican not withstanding.

Anonymous said...

Father Joseph,
please stay in the priesthood. Remember that at our ordination we promised God to be celibate in order to better serve him. At our ordination our focus was on Him. Celibacy is a wonderful gift. I know of a brother priest who left for a woman he loved only to divorce her. A priest can't validly enter into Marriage anyway. Please stay.

An anonymous brother priest who is very happy for the gift of celibacy and loves being a Roman Catholic Priest.

Anonymous said...

The church is an institute, it is not god. Religious interpretation by the church needs to grow and evolve with the society and its people. We live in 2015 now, not 1920. Catholic church needs to progress so it can flourish again.
I speak from personal experience. I fell in love with a priest. He has not even been masturbating for 20 years. I ask is that even normal for a human being? Sexuality is suppressed but he can not stop loving. hence both of us are in pain.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous please speak for yourself. You are in pain while the priest who understands the meaning of love and sacrifice for God, obviously shown by the fact that he hasn't masturbated for 20 years, lives on a higher and different level. All I see in your comments are people who have allowed themselves become victims of a sex saturated society. You confuse love and sexual intercourse and seem unable to understand that one can love another without at the same time humping her. Thats really sad. And your gravely mistaken. The Church is not just an institution unless you deny her being the body of Christ and the ever active presence of the Holy Spirit. The Church does not follow the pace set by society which goes contrary to deposit left by Christ - her head. Whether 1966, 1920 or 2015, truth does not stop being truth. There is no such thing as a technologically advanced Jesus Christ. He remains the same yesterday, today and forever. And yes, for the rest of you who question the Church on celibacy: the Church has the power to require celibacy of her ministers and does not need anyones permission and if you feel you do cannot accept it, then don't become a priest. Remember "you did not choose me, no I chose you", priesthood isn't a right but a gift. Remember Jesus rejected some who felt themselves called to follow him. If you cannot be obedient to the Church, then maybe you are not really called, and your desire to become a priest might be confused. You could be an evangelist, a permanent deacon, a catechist but not a priest.

Alpha QuickShip said...

You say you are free. What are you free from now? I don't think you are free at all. You freed yourself from self restraint only to find yourself enslaved to your own passions. If you don't think this is true then try to do without them now. You will see how enslaved you are. Unfortunately you will not be rewarded for giving way to your passions. Heaven is for those who have grown in love of God not the things of this world.

Henry said...

I am free from an ecclesiastical institution controlling my personal life. As one matures their sense of authority moves from outer to inner. Emotionally healthy children no longer need their parents to control their behavior. They have an internal compass to guide them. Certainly not perfect but they can navigate life themselves. You speak of out of control passions ... Perhaps some projection on your part.