Last week I read an article in the New York Times that described the limbo-like state of priests who had taken a vow of celibacy, but were either secularized and married or were having affairs with women while still fulfilling the job of parish priest.
The article, translated from the Italian, centered around an interview with a couple, a woman and a priest. The article was suppose to paint a picture of the suffering caused by priests, men who are suppose to be celibate, but who have fallen in love, have girl friends (lovers) but who are afraid to leave the priesthood. This ambiguous state causes the kind of suffering which might be relieved by a change in Church law which will to allow priests to marry.
The priest in the article felt that he could not leave the priesthood because he could not get a decent job with his education in theology. He could not see himself working with his hands. He said that he was too use to being a priest (what ever that means). He likes being a priest. He thinks that he does it well (what ever that means). In fact, in his own translated words, “Since I am with her, I am a better priest, because I am calm, relaxed. The only problem is having to sneak around.”
Perhaps the Church should allow priests to marry. However, this article may not have been written tongue in cheek, but this man and his woman do not elicit any sympathy from me, nor, I believe from most mature adults. If you live long enough, everyone has at one time or another been in love with a person that he/she could not have. Does that person suffer? Of course! The above couple seems to be in lust, not love. The quote above from the priest leads one to think some rather crude remarks – the kind that my generation will not put on the inter-net. My advice to the woman in question is: get out while you can! He is a little boy in priest’s clothes.