I am 32, single and happy with life and my career -- which I thank God for every day. Now, I am in love with a Catholic Priest, we have been in this relationship for the past two years and during that period, our love has just become deeper and deeper. I am also Catholic and I realise that I am making a big mistake and sinning against God and the church. I have since repented and asked God for forgiveness. Now, the bigger problem is that this priest doesn’t want to let me go. He says he loves me too much to let me go but, on the other hand, I really want to move on with my life. I want to forget everything and start afresh. I once told him to decide between serving God or me and he asked for some time to think but I really don’t know what to do in the event that he still wants to continue with me. Please advise me on what I should do?
What the readers say:
Linda, you know that the priest is supposed to live a life of celibacy. It seems you are the one misleading the priest for whatever reasons. Please respect yourself, the man of God and the Christians of your parish. Alternatively, you may leave the Catholic Church and then come for the priest. To me, the priest is just enjoying your flesh but not thinking or wants time to think. You may be shocked to discover that you are not the only woman in his life.
If you are sure you are doing the right thing by leaving him then just go. Don't leave it upon him to decide which way is better for you when your conscience is so clear on this. A priest is not an angel, he is flesh and blood like you and has human weaknesses just like you. He needs prayer and counselling, just as well. Tell him you have confessed your sins and you are not going back on it.
A man of God cannot have his cake and eat it, advise him to resign, marry you and serve God from the family setup. But if that is not possible end the relationship immediately. He is wasting your time and you can imagine the scandal it will get you into and the consequent dent to your integrity.
Please leave the man of God alone and move on with your life. To ask the priest to decide between you and God is a blasphemy. You made the right decision to repent. Stand by your decision, and the priest will respect you.
It is never too late for one to change the course of their life. I’m glad you have realised that this relationship may not lead to marriage as long as your boyfriend remains true to his calling. The decision is now his. We hope he will be sincere with himself and choose to live an honest life as far as his calling is concerned. This will mean that he either has to let you go or continue with this relationship and fall out with the church in the area of his calling.
None of the choices will be easy on anyone of you but a decision has to be made for there to be progress. If he sticks to his calling, you have to do all you can to move on. Otherwise, giving in to his demands is enabling him to live a double life and wasting your time. You too have to be committed to your resolve. If by chance he decides to pursue this relationship, a lot will be demanded from you. You will need to give him unreserved support and unending reassurance. This is because to the majority of people he will be viewed as a failure. Ignorantly people will call it a fall from glory yet it is the true sense of living in the light.
This is not a decision to make hurriedly, so give him time. Where possible discuss through the consequences of each option. Honestly analyse the cost to pay for each alternative.
It is a tricky position to be in but do not allow yourselves to be captives. Truthfulness will help you out of this seemingly intricate maze. I wish you all the best.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology
Linda at 32 you ought to somewhat know what you want out of this life and at least have an idea about how to get there. You have dated this priest for two years and according to you, you are happy and very much in love with each other. This to me sounds like a fairy tale that a naive teenager would want to hear. You may be in love with each other but where is this going? You want out and have told him as much but he allegedly “loves you too much to let you go” despite you repenting your sins (I hope not to him).
This is the truth of the matter in that your situation. He may love you as he says he does but this is only because it is convenient for him to keep saying that so that he can keep getting something he really likes and of course has no plans of ever committing to you. Yes, you asked him to choose between serving God and being with you and his choice was and still is crystal clear. Do not think even for one moment that a priest can leave their “calling” just because of a woman. Yes, yes, yes, there are some who do but these form a very small minority and many of them are compelled to leave especially when they are caught up in big scandals. Their lives are often too good to be true and they can enjoy the pleasures of this world as they please even in active service (as he is evidently doing). Further, the longer you can stay without bearing children the more convenient the situation remains for him.
Where does this leave you? I know it is probably in your plans to have a husband and children someday (actually sooner rather than later) but this is not in his plans. You need to decide whether to keep hanging on to false hopes or to take deliberate steps towards where you want to be 5, 10 or 15 years to come. He will still want to be where things are at present in 15 years so you may be working on different parameters. In making your decision kindly note that he could also be killing time until he finds a younger, more beautiful girl for himself. Remember things are perfect as they are for him but if they are not as perfect for you, walk away girl and find a life on your own.
Simon Anyona is a relationships counsellor
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