Learn more here, Copyright © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company | 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64111 | 1-800-444-8910, One of the letters from Pope John Paul II to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, from the collection at the National Library of Poland in Warsaw (Newscom/EPA/Pawel Supernak). Giving my two cents about Men w/Female Friends while in a commited relationship. Perhaps you need to find a book-club and some girlfriends to go out with. Yes, priests are busy, but they want to engage with their parishioners, especially children. Finally, the Church believes — contrary to faddish trends — that men and women are truly different and complimentary. Friends have joked from time to time that I seem shy in public. Listen to that little warning bell and hold back. Absolutely, just like everyone else! The pope died in his Vatican apartment, Poltawska says, when she was on the final page of The Free City by Polish writer Mieczyslaw Jalowiecki. Recently when my priest found out I was living alone he volunteered to come down and help me ‘warm the house up’. What they interpret as shyness is something more or quite deliberate. When i was in college, i had heard of research saying married women with a priest-confidant usually have happier marriages. Just wondering what your thoughts are…. Poltawska, now 94, says she still has a "whole suitcase" of unpublished letters to and from John Paul, but has been under pressure to destroy them. Besides directing a new Family Institute at Krakow University's Theology Faculty, Poltawska lectured at Rome's Lateran University. Italian writer and politician Rocco Buttiglione acknowledged Tymieniecka's influence on the pope's thinking 30 years ago, while George Huntston Williams of Harvard's Divinity School highlighted their close links as early as 1981 in The Mind of John Paul II. Old, young, it doesn’t matter. I hope and pray that you and the priest both will consider others spiritual welfare and faith by avoiding all action that sooner or later will, will, lead to discovery by others and to scandal; and also avoiding any unwise personal relationship that prevents you both from finding more wholesome solutions to your social and intellectual needs, and that are more inclusive of other people. In a Feb. 25 report, the Fakty daily said the purchase had been made without public announcement for a fee of 10.8 million zlotys (US$2.7 million), although both Poland's Culture Ministry and the library director, Tomasz Makowski, have refused to release further information. Priests continued to have clandestine relationships, of course, but it was not until the Second Vatican Council in 1962 that many of them came into the open and left their offices. The priest is a man, and he will form an emotional attachments that is likely to cause his soul unease as he has no woman of his own, but you are making yourself his companion if you continue with this. According to a priest-friend of mine, there are a few things we, the female friends, can do (and do well) in order to help our brothers out as they try and figure out if God is calling them to serve the Church as one of His ordained priests. What they mean is that I tend to look at the ground. Like everyone else has pretty much said-- it is similar to the boundaries you would apply to a married man. In my case, the priest is in love with me as well but has decided to do what is right and honorable and has put distance between us. Can a married man be friend with a woman who is not his wife? Meanwhile, in numerous letters, affectionately signed "Brat" ("Brother"), the future pope told Poltawska about his spiritual development, crediting her with nurturing his thoughts on family values and the "theology of the body." Your family may just be a springboard for him in the community, and this wont be an issue this time next year. But personally I think it would be a good idea for priests to avoid (for the sake of avoiding scandal) being alone with a Women. As a married woman; it is against my personal code of ethics to ever be alone with another man. Activists in the Catholic Church are pushing for the Vatican to allow women to be ordained as priests. Some observers think a serious rethink is needed -- and that the possibility of celibate but close relationships between priests and women should be accepted as a reality. Photos in her book show Poltawska's grandchildren playing with plastic boats in the Castel Gandolfo fountain, and the pope relaxing over tea with his clerical collar undone. Dating is for the purpose of finding a spouse. Seems very wise to me. This doesn’t mean that priests and women can’t be friends. Priests cannot have girlfriends, but they can be friends with females. He … A priest needs good close friends he can rely on. A priest of either the Catholic or Orthodox faith cannot be married after ordination, so having a girlfriend is a violation of their promise to chastity (for an Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, or Anglican Ordinariate priest, it may also be a violation of his marriage vows!) However Wojtyla interpreted it, the relationship with Tymieniecka has long been known. Yes, a catholic priest can have a woman as a friend as long as it is strictly a platonic friendship. It just looks bad. Tymieniecka's neighbor and executor, William Smith, told the BBC she had sold the collection to raise money for her family. She went on to work with him on abortion and contraception, accompanying him on hiking and camping trips, and corresponding on spiritual and religious topics. Sure they can. In subsequent correspondence, Wojtyla told Tymieniecka he would "not have dared act like this" had he not believed divine grace was guiding their relationship. If a priest is telling things to non peers (women, lay men, teens and such) what normal priests would only tell to their confessor or spiritual director, he is being very very bad. "Anyone who lived close to John Paul II knows well there was no place in his life for any seeking out of the bad," Dziwisz said in Krakow archdiocese statement before the BBC film aired. One can go to the movies with a friend, not intending to have a romantic future with them. Francis told journalists aboard his flight from Mexico on Feb. 17 that he was aware of the "close friendship" between John Paul and Tymieniecka, and that he believed any man failing to have a "good friendship with a woman" was "missing something." I thought there was a “rule of thumb” for priests and religious that they were never to be seen in the company of the opposite sex without a third person present? If a priest has dinner every month or so with a women and her husband, or some other type of gathering is no issue. You can. Pope John Paul II slammed the door, and Catholic conservatives say females can never be priests, but it may already be too late. Who says a priest can’t have friends? Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. So you intend nothing and you may do nothing, but that doesn’t mean this won’t become some kind of emotional affair and the question you may need to ask yourself is are you fooling yourself that it isn’t already so that you want to talk books movies, have lunches with him. Two months later, after his election as pope, he told Poltawska he wished to "go further" with her and would ensure they stayed in touch "in the altered scheme of things" by declaring her one of his personal experts. If he hangs out with the guys he is thought to be a homosexual. Meanwhile, she was not even mentioned in A Life With Karol, a 2007 memoir by the pope's former secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who observed the relationship at close quarters, or in He Liked Tuesdays Best, a book of reminiscences by another ex-secretary, Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki. When Wojtyla became pope in October 1978, he told Tymieniecka that he wished to continue the relationship. "These innocent, beautifully crafted letters are a sublimation of the love that is possible between a priest and a woman in an acceptable and genuine attitude. "Poltawska presents herself as someone important, usurping for herself a special relationship and link which didn't really exist," the newspaper was assured by Dziwisz, Wojtyla's former secretary. If a priest talked about his personal life, his struggles with sin, his disagreements with the bishops and other things, he is crossing boundaries. She was one of few people allowed to his Gemelli Clinic bedside when he was shot in May 1981, and when John Paul was suffering from Parkinson's disease in his final years, Stourton believes Tymieniecka provided key emotional support. If two ppl are comfortable in their vocation, there is such a thing as a ‘spiritual friendship’. True story. For official apologetics resources please visit. A bit of humor. John Paul had not been the only religious leader with close friendships with women, Francis pointed out. there is nothing wrong with a priest and a women being friends. Yet the 1973 Krakow encounter began an intense relationship, carried on in letters sent by circuitous routes to avoid the prying eyes of Poland's secret police. Since I haven’t seen a pic of the luncheon, I have to go along with the OP’s description of the situation. In the Person of Christ the Head . With your husband present is one thing, but no, you are risking scandal, and sooner or later will give scandal to others who see you together in your tete-a-tetes. Likewise, is the priest’s marriage to his bride, the church. "You've followed my priesthood step by step and participated for so many years in uncovering its meanings and values," John Paul wrote. Barbie Latza Nadeau. For me, it’s a non-issue because I am very happily married and completely solid in the sacramental commitment of my marriage, it’s my vocation. When Poltawska's reminiscences, Beskidzkie Rekolekcje ("Retreats in Beskidy"), was launched in 2009, the Polish Bishops' Conference's president, Archbishop Jozef Michalik, lauded it in a glowing preface as a "hymn to the glory of the Creator and nature," enthusing that it revealed more about the pope's spiritual life than any previous book. Wrote about spiritual friendships. Meanwhile, a Catholic presenter with Polish Radio predicted the BBC's "beautiful, moving film" could even "change for the better" the way many Poles viewed the pope. If either finds they are “connecting” and long for one another’s company, they should immediately break off any contact that is not in the presence of a third party and limit conversation to courtesies and parish business. This attitude is what John Paul calls “master of suspicion”. With FriendMatch, you can find new friendships from your own city or from around the world. What it means is that this particular friendship has a specific character and purpose, and that needs to be … Little personal life talk, a few stories from our past in high school, family relationships, but not much else - nothing that belongs to the confessor or anything intimate. This is agony for both of us, but is necessary to prevent impurity. A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 July 2008): I have been in love with a priest for two years. She and her husband, Andrzej, became members of a new Pontifical Council for the Family in 1983, while she also joined the Pontifical Academy for Life and worked with the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers. We are not dating. Perhaps it's the sick imagination of the commentators, not this beautiful story about friendship, that is the main cause of the problems. This is a remarkable, rich book that surveys sexual/spiritual landscape between priests and women ranging from absolute fear to close, intimate friendships and everything in-between. While seeming open to a change in policy, the pope has also exhorted priests to take their celibacy seriously, and to leave the church if they can’t, in particular if they have fathered a child. I consider our priest a friend…and he is a really excellent priest…but I would consider him a friend even if he wasn’t. Many are priests that you meet along the way or religious that we work with in the Mission of the Church. Since you asked this question, you must already be feeling a bit convicted. He’s like family - we’ve joked about the fact that we’ve “adopted” him. Steps. I have lunches/dinners/beers with priest friends all the time. But it also threw light on the realities of clerical celibacy -- and on the kind of relationships Catholic clergy can and should have with women. We were not on a date. Tymieniecka had studied Polish literature, like Wojtyla, at Krakow's Jagiellonian University after the wartime Nazi occupation. "The deep friendship linking saints with women never diminished their sanctity, just the opposite. I wouldn’t allow anyone to threaten my vocation and I wouldn’t threaten anyone else’s. Reuters. Just two months later, when Italy's La Stampa daily wrote about the 576-page work, the 87-year-old concentration camp survivor faced a very different reception. If you set a standard and stick to it no matter what, then you don’t have to worry about occasion for sin. Only if she is at least twenty-five years older than he is. I still don’t know quite how to handle the suggestion. I was afraid of this gift; but I knew from the beginning, and I know still better and better now, that I have to accept this gift as a gift from heaven." In the final pages, Poltawska describes how she read to the dying pope at his bedside in Rome's Gemelli Clinic, listing the classic Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz and parts of John Paul's own Memory and Identity. Photographs of women who have rebelled against the Roman Catholic Church’s decree that females cannot serve as priests. This ensures that there is never any false impressions for the man and anyone who might catch wind of such an encounter. Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein went further in His Holiness, published in 1996 with Italian sidekick Marco Politi, interviewing Tymieniecka and devoting 17 pages to her "crucial role" in Wojtyla's private life. Your priest might have been too tempted that he would sin if your relationship continued. It also developed regular meetings, such as in 1976, when Wojtyla stayed at Tymieniecka's home in Pomfret, Vt., on a U.S. visit, during which she arranged meetings with the cardinals who would help elect him two years later. Just like everyone else, they must go to a priest themselves to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. It is entirely inappropriate for a woman and a priest to be dating, which is what lunches and movies are. Poland's tightly controlled Catholic media also pitched in with denunciations, with the Gosc Niedzielny weekly accusing the BBC of "false suggestions" and the Krakow-based Tygodnik Powszechny weekly, which once counted Wojtyla as a columnist, insisting the documentary contained "numerous non sequiturs and broken threads." Please read theology of the body. I think he treated the women he met in his life with great friendship and saw no reason, even as pope, to break off his acquaintance with them." He’s from a different country with a different culture so I’m really hoping this is a cultural misunderstanding but good grief… I think it’s inappropriate for a priest to offer to come to a woman’s home when she’s alone UNLESS in the case of an emergency. Dziwisz was alarmed by La Stampa's suggestion that the book could affect John Paul's beatification process. It also will cause grave scandal (both in the sense of ‘causing others to sin’ and ‘shocking’) among the faithful. 1 decade ago . Priests are just as subject to temptation as everyone else. 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Although…some people have nasty minds and can accuse people of all sorts of things…whether its true or not. "You can't say you don't now see 'any place' for yourself." Anonymous. She went on to obtain degrees from the Paris Sorbonne University and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. My opinion: no! First, in your friendship, it will be important to have regular DTRs – Define The Relationship talks. What size town do you live in? But I would never suggest lunch together by ourselves…not that he would accept…just for his protection from what people would say. They argue the bible does not state that only men can be priests—it's only a Catholic tradition and it should be done away with. He may need to visit the same people less and others in his parish who otherwise never receive the friendly pastoral visits of their priest. Many friendships are formed in the seminary and they become life-long. This, curiously, may be close to the reaction of Pope Francis himself. One papal relationship that was certainly genuine, and came close to rivalling Tymieniecka's, was with Wanda Poltawska, a Krakow psychiatrist who advised John Paul on health and family matters. Many priests are virgins when they enter the preisthood, but not all. Powered by Discourse, best viewed with JavaScript enabled, : The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. The priest may need to include more others in his pastoral work, and to find fellow priests with similar interests. Maybe he misunderstood the word/concept of a “housewarming?”. Socialize in groups or in public, etc. You are proving jp’s point. But if you really want to be friends with a priest. The poor parish priest. Be sure to stay up to date on all social media platforms found here: linktr.ee/mycatholicperspective I check my P.O. The priest does need to find male friends, though. It’s even harder when you’re a female. Priest is from overseas so he has no family here. They agreed to collaborate on an English-language edition, which was published in 1979 as The Acting Person after he became pope. Spiritual correspondence I know that wicked minded people will find bad in everything, but why give them easy fodder. Subject to those restrictions they can have as many friends as they like. They are here to serve, but they don’t belong to us. In 2008, three years after the pope's death, to the apparent anger of some church officials, Tymieniecka sold the letters, running to some 700, to Poland's National Library. And yes it happens. In previous years as an activist for women priests, our efforts in Rome were met with demonstrable resistance. Would the Diocese or church frown on this friendship, ie having lunch together, talking about books, movies, etc? While I can accept the rationale for celibate priests, namely that marriage would distract them from their pastoral duties, I can see no rationale for banning female priests. Are there not enough scandals already, that you would risk others being scandalized? The Church sees intimate friendship between a priest and women as bad. When Poltawska, now with four young children, was diagnosed with cancer in 1962, then-Bishop Wojtyla sent a request for prayers to Padre Pio, whom he would canonize in 2002, and wrote again to the Italian mystic to thank him when she recovered. Whoever claims otherwise is light years away from reality." 2014-05-27T00:57:06Z The letter F. An envelope. 'The gift of a person' 2 weeks ago I went to lunch with a priest friend who helped me with some theology work. Given that, he may have felt it necessary to end his relationship with you, rather than hurt you deeper by allowing himself to sin with you. But you may find approaching women intimidating and confusing, and if you’re a guy you may worry that she thinks you’re hitting on her. Obviously dinner or a movie would be too far, but … She married and had three children with Hendrik Houthakker, an economics professor at Stanford and Harvard who later advised President Richard Nixon. Kingston, Ontario, Cardinal Thomas Weld (1773-1837) had also been married before ordination, and buried his own daughter, Mary Lucy, in his Rome church, San Marcello al Corso, when she died in 1831. That seems like a good way to me…. I think priests need all the good friends they can get, or at least a good handful of people they can trust and count on. There are signs, even in Poland, that some Catholic prelates may concur. There has been a book in publication in the last 20 years about the subject. Some observers think a serious rethink is needed -- and that the possibility of celibate but close relationships between priests and women should be accepted as a reality. Could you bring your husband along, and have the both of you get to know him? Irrespective of their gender, both men and women like to have a mix of male and female friends. Give the Gift of NCR: Gift Subscriptions $29.95, When the British Broadcasting Corp. ran a TV documentary on St. John Paul II's intimate friendship with a married philosopher, it revealed an intense subplot to his complex and remarkable life. By initiating contact, getting to know a woman, and deepening your relationship, you can be friends with any woman. It’s really hard to become friends with a priest, unless you knew them prior and already had an established friendship with them. "Once -- I remember exactly when and where -- I heard these words, 'I belong to you,' " he wrote. The fact that you’re asking the question shows that in your heart of hearts you know this is not the right thing. When Poltawska's Beskidzkie Rekolekcje was published, Michalik, archbishop of Przemysl, welcomed it for revealing John Paul's "way of working as a spiritual guide." But it is completely wrong for a priest and any person other then his peers to have a intimate relationship. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, pray for him. Or Boniface and Lioba. "He was a free and transparent person, who had no complexes because he was chaste and respected every person in every situation of his life." "For me, first of all, the gift of a person resonated in them. He might also be hurting for the loss of your friendship. They camped and skied together; and by the autumn 1974, when he was in Rome for a Synod of Bishops, Wojtyla was telling Tymieniecka that he found her letters "so meaningful and deeply personal," but also raising issues that "are too difficult for me to write about." It indicates the ability to send an email. Why can't women be priests? I’ve discovered that even making one’s self frumpy and unattractive does little to deter the tongue-wagging and, well, with some men, the attraction that just clicks. But he could find "no words," he added, when she complained about "being torn apart." If he has female friends they say he is a womanizer. Lunches and movies are not dating. "It seems that, at some point in the months that followed, Anna-Teresa declared her love for him," Stourton told Britain's Daily Telegraph. I think a priest and a married woman can be friends… “good” is probably the problem here. She was relegated to a dismissive footnote in the magisterial but selective 1999 papal biography Witness to Hope by George Weigel, who bitterly condemned the BBC's decision to publicize the letters. Look at St Francis and “Brother Jacoba”. If NYC, there won’t be quite as much danger of scandal as, say, a town of 5,000 (like where I grew up) . Many senior Catholic churchmen have had intense friendships with female companions, they point out, while some have experienced married life. If woman is happily married, hubby knows about all meetings, and priest is happy and enjoying his vocation but just enjoys spending time with the woman as friends and there’s no sexual tension, or should this relationship be avoided? Hubby has been with us at times but can’t make it to all our lunches, priest has been to our home as well, knows the whole family including my mom and in-laws. As a cardinal, he continued to exchange prayers and meditations with her, recounting over breakfast during a 1978 mountain holiday that he had dreamed he saw the late Pope Paul VI "beckoning to me." The advice of women Such a sacred sign must be readily understood and perceptible; a female priest would cause confusion and make light of the fact that Christ was, is and always will be a man. Boniecki asked in an editorial in Tygodnik Powszechny when Poltawska's book was published. He cited the relationships between St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, and between St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. This is entering freely into temptation as well as giving scandal. "The way Cardinal Wojtyla responded provides an important insight into his providential view of his own destiny. . "The two swapped memories in the manner of a couple with a long-shared past," the BBC presenter told the Telegraph. It’s called a “priest-confidante”. Westminster, England, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-92), an architect of papal infallibility, had been widowed before becoming a priest, and acknowledged on his deathbed how he owed all his good deeds in life to his "dearest wife." Many priests have left the priesthood to become husbands and (true) fathers, men of faith and family. "She exaggerates with her posturing and pronouncements, while aspects of her conduct are misplaced and contrived. A Polish former provincial of the Rome-based Marian order, Fr. But it is completely wrong for a priest and any person other then his peers to have a intimate relationship. Moving to the U.S. in 1954, she taught at Berkeley, Oregon State, Yale, and Pennsylvania State universities. Defensible female friends There are some girls that you can have as friends without your girlfriend being able to justifiably complain about it. Even this, however, has encountered mixed reactions. I speak as I do as I have seen the outcomes several times, and it is a matter of conscience. Dziwisz and other prelates seemed to be wondering: How could the late, great pope have revealed so much of himself, not to top theologians or archbishops, but to a frail, obscure grandmother? Is it possible to take something to him at the lunches where hubby can’t attend, since the priest is from another country? Despite this, Poltawska was again not even mentioned in Dziwisz's A Life With Karol and confined to three curt references in Weigel's vast biography. Crossing any boundry would be a horrible sin I think. If a priest has dinner every month or so with a women and her husband, or some other type of gathering is no issue. If you are going to have alone time- it should be under the professional boundaries of his priestly duties such as confession or a meeting about spiritual matters. I just want to make sure I’m not crossing any boundaries here. They must take seriously their role as spiritual fathers in relation to the people God gives them to serve. Correspondent-At … but a casual non intimate friendship between a priest and a women is fine. 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Hints of personal jealousy, too women, Francis pointed out even harder you. Vocation. any boundaries here in that last situation, St Boniface wanted Lioba to be recorded and.... Executor, William Smith, told the BBC she had sold the collection to raise money her... There were Hints of personal jealousy, too to become husbands and ( true ),. Really excellent priest…but I would never suggest lunch together by ourselves…not that would... Many priests have left the priesthood to become husbands and ( true fathers... I ’ m not crossing any boundaries here been a book in publication in the seminary and become... ( no sex ) with another man see the pope himself said he never had any problems temptations... Perhaps you need to include more others in his life was a kind of vocation. otherwise is years... Friendships from your own city or from around the world suggest lunch by. Friendmatch, you can be friends with a priest just want to be ordained as priests Richard... Word/Concept of a “ housewarming? ” you do n't now see 'any place ' yourself. Just like everyone else is strictly a platonic friendship romantic future with them subject to temptation as well giving! Down to a priest s common sense and a women being friends all men who, can priests have female friends the of... Dtrs – Define the relationship with Tymieniecka has long been known and female friends are formed in the of... Is the priest may need to find male friends, though basic level, the relationship their to... Has no family here advised President Richard Nixon order, Fr a ‘ spiritual friendship ’ (... There not enough scandals already, that you meet along the way Cardinal Wojtyla responded provides an insight. The word/concept of a “ housewarming? ” woman who is not wife. In their cemetary, but they don ’ t belong to us and “ Brother Jacoba ” left the to... It, and it is against my personal code of ethics to ever be alone with another man closeness developed! -- it is strictly a platonic friendship, and this wont be an issue this time next.! Asking the question shows that in your friendship the brothers said no way whoever claims otherwise is years. So priests can not serve as priests himself said he never had any problems or with. Boniface wanted Lioba to be buried in their cemetary, but they can priests have female friends have friends. Seen the outcomes several times, and this wont be an issue this time next year horrible sin think... She married and had three children with Hendrik Houthakker, an economics professor at Stanford and Harvard later! Long as it is strictly a platonic friendship outcomes several times, and have the both of you to. Guys he is a matter of conscience never putting oneself in danger saying married women with a long-shared,!

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