If your first reaction to this topic is “Sacrilege! A priest shouldn’t be attracted to another woman”, you may need to pause and take a deep breath first because there will be some shocking revelations in this article.
Priests spend a lifetime talking about love professionally.
They speak endlessly about the love of God towards us and our duty to love God.
Not only that but how do our love obligations extend to our neighbors?
Even though Priests spend a lifetime talking about love, there are some levels of love that the vows of priesthood don’t give them the liberty to express or experience.
However, the dynamics of love work in mysterious and complicated ways.
Can a priest be attracted to a woman?
The simple answer to that question is yes.
Priests are humans just like the rest of us, and they experience every emotion that we experience as well.
Now that the answer to that has been provided, it is important that we consider the nature of the attraction a priest may have for a woman.
Can A Priest Be Attracted To A Woman? – 4 Possible Scenarios And Consequences
1. He may be attracted to a woman as a friend
If you believe that the vows of celibacy that priests take prevent them from having friendships with women, you should pay attention to this.
A priest’s friendship with a woman doesn’t violate his vows of celibacy.
Hence, it is a normal and healthy form of attraction.
A priest can have platonic relationships with women based on mutual respect and trust.
However, he needs to be careful with this form of relationship.
Setting clear boundaries will do much good to keep scandals and temptations away.
2. He may be attracted to her as his spiritual daughter
Well, I must clarify something first.
By “spiritual daughter” here, I don’t mean the kind that is practiced in many churches where a “spiritual daughter” may soon become the “spiritual partner” in a moment because she has married the pastor.
I remember some months ago, a Nigerian minister married a lady whom he usually referred to as his “spiritual daughter,” and people were so shocked by the sudden shift in the relationship.
This type of “spiritual daughter” attraction I refer to is the true kind that broaches no allowance for any other form of relationship.
The relationship usually involves the priest playing the role of a mentor, a father, or a big brother to the woman in question.
This form of attraction is platonic and violates none of the vows of celibacy.
3. He may be attracted to her as a potential spouse
This form of attraction is even more complex than the first.
Priests are humans, and regardless of how much you may revere them, some of them actually wish they could enjoy the bliss of marriage with a woman.
Like Nigerians jokingly say, “Body no be firewood” (meaning the body isn’t firewood, it feels things).
They may have started their priesthood all happy and proud of their calling and sacrifice, but the restrictions may begin to chafe with time.
Men become priests for a lot of reasons.
Some do so because they want to serve selflessly, others because they are from an upbringing that values priesthood, while others may have chosen it as a way to escape past trauma.
This reminds me of how I wanted to become a priest as a kid because I felt that serving God and the people so selflessly must be the highest form of service ever.
The point is, for some of them, it gets to a point where they meet a woman who makes them question their decision.
A priest who feels called to marriage may have to choose between leaving the priesthood or remaining faithful to his vow of celibacy.
The Catholic Church does not allow priests to marry, except in rare cases where they receive a dispensation from the Pope.
A priest who decides to renounce his vows of celibacy must go through a very rigorous process before he is declared to be released from his obligations to the church.
He still needs to get permission from the Vatican before being allowed to marry in the Church.
To stay a priest, such a priest must renounce his romantic feelings and redirect his love to God and his people.
He must also seek spiritual support and accountability from his superiors and peers.
You still want to know why I didn’t follow through on my ambition of being a priest, right?
I discovered the beauty of women early in life, which convinced me that I couldn’t spend an entire lifetime without the companionship of a woman I love.
So… Yeah, women made me avoid the priesthood and become a writer.
For this, I will always be grateful to them.
4. He is involved with her sexually
A priest who is sexually attracted to a woman may be doing so to the detriment of his vows.
However, this is also not an uncommon form of attraction to find among priests.
Apart from their duties at the altar, priests are also involved in various activities that bring them in contact with many women.
Volunteer work, social events, charity events…the list is endless.
All these bring priests in contact with women who are purposeful, intelligent, confident, and attractive.
This is a heady combination for any man, and priests are no different, even though they wear cassocks.
There was a time when I used to minister in church.
My ministry in the church brought me in contact with various ladies, and because of my position, they were always ready to be vulnerable with me.
Spending hours listening to them and counseling them on matters deeper than I could understand, I may have fallen in love with at least five beautiful ladies.
The only difference was that, unlike priests, I could woo them if I wanted, but I didn’t.
Doing that felt like a violation of their trust.
I don’t say this to take the moral high ground.
It is actually easy to be moral when you have other choices open to you.
I feel the pain of priests who are attracted to a lady sexually.
It is such a normal feeling for the rest of us, but it tears them apart.
That said, any priest who engages in sexual activities commits adultery, fornication, and sacrilege.
He is also abusing his power and authority as a spiritual leader and causing harm to the woman, the Church, and himself.
The consequences of being caught in this are very grave.
He may face legal consequences if the woman is a minor or a vulnerable adult.
He may also face canonical penalties, such as suspension, removal, or excommunication.
A priest who struggles with sexual temptation needs to repent and seek forgiveness from God and the Church.
He should also seek professional help and counseling to address the root causes of his problem and to heal from any wounds or traumas that may have contributed to it.
To wrap this up perfectly, I leave you with a quote from the first Apostle in the bible to be celibate.
“Now to the unmarried and the widows, I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).
The verse above clearly shows that even the Apostle anticipated that unmarried men, including priests, may find it difficult to control their attraction to the other sex.
My next article will address how priests control their urges, and whether you are a priest or not, you will find it helpful.