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Maximillian
07-04-2011, 04:32 PM
So I don't normally post personal info here, but I'm in France studying far away from home and even if I was home I don't know who I'd talk to about it. Anyways, I'm a member of a Catholic religious order and, have been for the past seven years. I am not a priest...yet, but that is on the horizon. Anyway, last weekend I was in Ireland and I met someone and we hung out for 36 hours or so and I think I might have fallen in crush (not love). Nothing happened, nothing was said, we were just hanging out due to circumstance. Anyway, I just e-mailed said person an hour or so ago and said that I had been thinking about them alot. Now I feel that I've just screwed everything up.

Blah. I just needed to write that more than anything, but any advice would be helpful. I know it's a weird situation, but I have been seriously considering leaving my order and this doesn't help matters, but now I feel like I've done something seriously wrong. Thoughts? Anyone...please...

millipied
07-04-2011, 04:35 PM
Is the person woman or man? Important distinction.

Vagabond
07-04-2011, 04:37 PM
I'm not a Catholic, but I don't think you've done anything wrong. However, this should make you think long and hard about what you really feel and what you really want to do with your life.

I do think there is something peculiar about a church that tells its priests in some countries that they cannot marry and allows those in other countries (Syria, Ukraine....) to marry. But then again, it's not my call to make.

rfisher
07-04-2011, 04:39 PM
Wow. I think you have to make this decision yourself. If you've been considering leaving the order prior to this, you really need to ask yourself what your calling is. I wouldn't rush in to anything with someone you've only known a weekend. If you haven't made your final vows, you haven't crossed any lines. Step back from the situation. See how you feel in a month. You haven't done anything seriously wrong, IMO. You're just conflicted and need to take things slowly so you won't do something you would really regret. Good luck. Is there someone in your order you trust and could talk about this with them? Someone who has probably experienced something similar.

Cheylana
07-04-2011, 04:43 PM
Agree with the above comments.

I do think there is something peculiar about a church that tells its priests in some countries that they cannot marry and allows those in other countries (Syria, Ukraine....) to marry. But then again, it's not my call to make.
I think 2,000 years of wars (Catholics vs. Protestants, etc.) have shown that "the church" is not a monolith :lol:

BigB08822
07-04-2011, 04:49 PM
Is the person woman or man? Important distinction.

I disagree, it doesn't matter one way or the other. The problem isn't the sex of the person but the fact that they have feelings for someone and are thinking of going into the Priesthood.

Maximillian, I think this is a decision only you can make. If you have been thinking of leaving, maybe this is a sign for you? Do you want to dedicate your whole life to God and the Church or do you want to still be able to do that but also share life with someone else, have children? You have to decide what is most important.

pilgrimsoul
07-04-2011, 05:16 PM
You haven't done anything wrong. It's never wrong to be honest with yourself about what you feel - even when those feelings are in conflict with the path you're on. Regardless of whether you choose to continue with your order or not, this experience gives you a glimpse of the sacrifice you're contemplating & a chance to be absolutely certain about the choice you ultimately make.

numbers123
07-04-2011, 05:16 PM
As rfisher stated, you need to think about this and your commitment. However, if someone is in a committed relationship it does not mean that you are not attracted to another person, the key is whether or not you actually act upon those feelings.

You are considering taking steps to totally commit yourself to God. I personally don't think that God expects you to be perfect. God recognizes that we are all human with human feelings. And frankly whatever your struggle, decision is at the end of the reflection time, this experience will make you a better priest/monk whatever the direction is that you will be taking. You will be able to work with those people who have either experienced the temptations or acted upon those feelings.

Please let us (or if you are not comfortable with telling the whole world, PM me) with what you journey took you too.

soxxy
07-04-2011, 05:18 PM
Now I feel that I've just screwed everything up.

I'm not clear exactly who or exactly what situation you might be referring to here, but maybe it's a good starting point for you to figure out how to best proceed. Maybe in the long (or even short) run it will prove a good thing to have happened.


Is the person woman or man? Important distinction.

Why?

Wiery
07-04-2011, 05:22 PM
Not stupid or wrong at all...you are human, and have feelings. Only a truly sheltered person would not face situations like these, and how can you serve the people of your community without understanding some of the emotions they feel? It's probably time to examine your life and what you want from it. You may decide to stay in the order, maybe you won't. Either decision is a fine and good one, as long as you are happy and productive. Good luck to you!

Fergus
07-04-2011, 05:30 PM
Much as you don't like to give personal info, I don't usually like to give advice, but I just want to pitch in my $.02, if it helps :) :

There is never anything "wrong" about an emotional response to a relationship, no matter who it is with. It's what makes us human. You felt a connection with this person (and it really doesn't matter if it's man or woman) that probably allowed you to feel happy, relaxed, glad to share in someone's company. What could be wrong with that? :) This happiness of the time together sounds like it was mutual. That makes it even better!

Spinner
07-04-2011, 05:31 PM
I think it's rather unfortunate that people think they should feel guilty for honest feelings. Our emotions are what set us singularly apart in the universe. I hope whatever you choose, you can be happy with that decision long term.

Maximillian
07-04-2011, 05:43 PM
This has been really helpful, I didn't know what to expect when I posted, but I felt veeeeerrry gulity after I hit send on the email. Which basically said, "do you know a good place to stay in Dublin? Btw, I've been thinking about you a lot...that's all." I guess the guilt is very "stereotypically" Catholic of me. That being said, my order is not stereotypically Catholic and most of the people around me have been wonderful and supportive. My decision to leave or stay is entirely one of two goods, which is why it is so difficult. That being said, walking around Europe alone for six weeks I can't help but notice all of the couples and think how nice it would be to have that in my life. It's becoming a bit pressing for me as I just turned 37 and feel that I am no longer a youngun anymore and if I am going to pursue a relationship, I best get to it. It would be simple if I didn't have a book deal in the works which I suspect will go completely out the window if I leave the order. Also starting over at 37 is terrifying for me.

Now I'm rambling, but I am so impressed with the insight and support that has been offered.

barbk
07-04-2011, 05:49 PM
There's a very good reason why it takes years before you make final vows. You give up a lot -- and there's nothing wrong with deciding somewhere along the way that you need to take some time and really think this through.

And really, 37 is far from old. I know a number of people who married for the first time in their 40s. Deciding to continue on a path you're not too sure about just because you're 37 seems unwise -- as does predicating an important decision like this on a book deal.

I realize that this is not easy. But better to figure this out now than three or four years from now when a decision to get out is substantially more complex.

Wishing you all the best, whatever path you choose.

Aceon6
07-04-2011, 06:04 PM
As a Catholic who's discussed this very issue with several priests... what you're experiencing is normal. In Catholicism, they would call this a "test" meaning it's a call to your conscience to decide about what you really want. As you decide, remember that the expression of the vocation can take many forms. You may want to talk the through with your preceptor.