Could you bring your husband along, and have the both of you get to know him? The then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla met Polish-born Professor Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka at his see of Krakow, Poland, in summer 1973, after she'd written to congratulate him on his philosophical tract Osoba i Czyn ("Person and Act"). And it is dating behavior when it is between and man and a woman, even if it doesn’t carry the name, if you’re doing this one on one. But it seems clear she wished the long friendship to be recorded and known. Be sure to stay up to date on all social media platforms found here: linktr.ee/mycatholicperspective I check my P.O. Pope John Paul II slammed the door, and Catholic conservatives say females can never be priests, but it may already be too late. Born in Lublin, Poltawska studied medicine after surviving the war, and got to know Wojtyla in 1950s Krakow after he heard her confession. Activists in the Catholic Church are pushing for the Vatican to allow women to be ordained as priests. 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." Anonymous. 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. 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. 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. 'The gift of a person' 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. In subsequent correspondence, Wojtyla told Tymieniecka he would "not have dared act like this" had he not believed divine grace was guiding their relationship. Many senior Catholic churchmen have had intense friendships with female companions, they point out, while some have experienced married life. 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. One can go to the movies with a friend, not intending to have a romantic future with them. "Once -- I remember exactly when and where -- I heard these words, 'I belong to you,' " he wrote. 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. Yes, a catholic priest can have a woman as a friend as long as it is strictly a platonic friendship. "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. 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. Priests cannot have girlfriends, but they can be friends with females. Tymieniecka had studied Polish literature, like Wojtyla, at Krakow's Jagiellonian University after the wartime Nazi occupation. 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. Perhaps you need to find a book-club and some girlfriends to go out with. Reuters. 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. She married and had three children with Hendrik Houthakker, an economics professor at Stanford and Harvard who later advised President Richard Nixon. Socialize in groups or in public, etc. 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. Friends have joked from time to time that I seem shy in public. Crossing any boundry would be a horrible sin I think. Boniecki asked in an editorial in Tygodnik Powszechny when Poltawska's book was published. 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. Just like everyone else, they must go to a priest themselves to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. Recently when my priest found out I was living alone he volunteered to come down and help me ‘warm the house up’. It’s really hard to become friends with a priest, unless you knew them prior and already had an established friendship with them. 3 0. 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. Just wondering what your thoughts are…. If a priest has dinner every month or so with a women and her husband, or some other type of gathering is no issue. John Paul had not been the only religious leader with close friendships with women, Francis pointed out. It's reprehensible and improper to put private documents into circulation." Campaigners have gathered in Rome to call for the lifting of a ban on female priests that would “save the Catholic Church” where it is failing to ordain enough men. If he has female friends they say he is a womanizer. but a casual non intimate friendship between a priest and a women is fine. If a priest has dinner every month or so with a women and her husband, or some other type of gathering is no issue. The poor parish priest. Sure they can. What they interpret as shyness is something more or quite deliberate. They must take seriously their role as spiritual fathers in relation to the people God gives them to serve. Besides directing a new Family Institute at Krakow University's Theology Faculty, Poltawska lectured at Rome's Lateran University. Even this, however, has encountered mixed reactions. 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. Many friendships are formed in the seminary and they become life-long. I still don’t know quite how to handle the suggestion. But if you really want to be friends with a priest. Whoever claims otherwise is light years away from reality." Speaking to journalists on Feb. 17, Pope Francis said he himself valued the advice of women since they often "look at things in a different way," adding that the church has not understood "the good a woman can do for the life of a priest and the church." "The official lives of saints have been censored by the church for centuries, and all signs of their human reflexes falsified," Malgorzata Glabisz-Pniewska told NCR. But it is completely wrong for a priest and any person other then his peers to have a intimate relationship. Please read theology of the body. I still don’t know quite how to handle the suggestion. 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. 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." ", Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. 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. 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. We were not on a date. 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." Many priests have left the priesthood to become husbands and (true) fathers, men of faith and family. 1 decade ago . If two ppl are comfortable in their vocation, there is such a thing as a ‘spiritual friendship’. It is entirely inappropriate for a woman and a priest to be dating, which is what lunches and movies are. Priest is from overseas so he has no family here. There has been a book in publication in the last 20 years about the subject. "The way Cardinal Wojtyla responded provides an important insight into his providential view of his own destiny. there is nothing wrong with a priest and a women being friends. The advice of women St Aelred of Riveleux (sp?) 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. Moving to the U.S. in 1954, she taught at Berkeley, Oregon State, Yale, and Pennsylvania State universities. 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. What size town do you live in? You will be as responsible as the priest for those who are disillusioned by seeing you one on one in intimate conversations with each other. Dziwisz was alarmed by La Stampa's suggestion that the book could affect John Paul's beatification process. He … "She exaggerates with her posturing and pronouncements, while aspects of her conduct are misplaced and contrived. Recently when my priest found out I was living alone he volunteered to come down and help me ‘warm the house up’. 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Listen to that little warning bell and hold back. This is agony for both of us, but is necessary to prevent impurity. "You've followed my priesthood step by step and participated for so many years in uncovering its meanings and values," John Paul wrote. "After his final trip to Poland in 2002, he wrote to her of 'our mutual homeland, so many places where we met, where we had conversations so important to us, where we experienced the beauty of God's presence.' And yes it happens. If a priest talked about his personal life, his struggles with sin, his disagreements with the bishops and other things, he is crossing boundaries. 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. If she does, it will deprive the church of rich insights into the human sensitivities of a saint, provided more recently by the BBC's investigations into the much-neglected Tymieniecka. For official apologetics resources please visit. Perhaps it's the sick imagination of the commentators, not this beautiful story about friendship, that is the main cause of the problems. 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. "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. 2 weeks ago I went to lunch with a priest friend who helped me with some theology work. 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. 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. She went on to obtain degrees from the Paris Sorbonne University and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. The mid-February report, "The Secret Letters of Pope John Paul II," made by Catholic presenter Edward Stourton, touched off debates on the wisdom and propriety of the pope's conduct. Unfortunately, priests don’t have a secret superpower that allows them to forgive their own sins. 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. 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. It’s in our culture to welcome people we really click with and treat them as family. 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? 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. Like everyone else has pretty much said-- it is similar to the boundaries you would apply to a married man. My opinion: no! Many are priests that you meet along the way or religious that we work with in the Mission of the Church. With FriendMatch, you can find new friendships from your own city or from around the world. 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. 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. Priests are just as subject to temptation as everyone else. He believed her presence in his life was a God-given gift, and that the relationship was a kind of vocation." Your priest might have been too tempted that he would sin if your relationship continued. "What is this supposed to be undermining -- the fact that a priest, bishop, cardinal and pope didn't extinguish in himself the capacity for friendship and love?" A priest needs good close friends he can rely on. At the most basic level, the answer to the question is simple: The New Testament priesthood is the priesthood of Christ himself. As a married woman; it is against my personal code of ethics to ever be alone with another man. 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." So priests can use birth control or are they talking about pedophilia? But he could find "no words," he added, when she complained about "being torn apart." I have lunches/dinners/beers with priest friends all the time. A Polish former provincial of the Rome-based Marian order, Fr. 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. This, curiously, may be close to the reaction of Pope Francis himself. 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. "Only someone unaware of their authentic relationship could have odd thoughts about this," Michalik commented at the book's launch. 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? The priest may need to include more others in his pastoral work, and to find fellow priests with similar interests. As long as hubby knows about it, and can answer the questions from the curious, there shouldn’t be a problem. Throughout the period, she wrote descriptions for the pope, now "closed up in the Vatican," of the hills and valleys of southern Poland, and took family members on holiday each May to his summer residence. Priests can’t absolve their own sins. You are proving jp’s point. 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." If you set a standard and stick to it no matter what, then you don’t have to worry about occasion for sin. Or it’s common sense and a lifetime of experience. 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. Look at St Francis and “Brother Jacoba”. I’m kind of old school in that I still hold priests to a higher standard generally and personally have a great reverence for them. Adam Boniecki, agrees it was "quite possible" Tymieniecka was in love with the pope, telling Agence France-Presse that she was "most likely not alone." Only if she is at least twenty-five years older than he is. Yet there were hints of personal jealousy, too. Since my daughter is stubborn — just like me — and pushes me repeatedly to visit with our priests, she has developed a friendship with both of them that is a great blessing to her and to my husband and me. 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." He might also be hurting for the loss of your friendship. Why can't women be priests? 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. Can a priest and woman be good friends? "But the pope himself said he never had any problems or temptations with regard to celibacy. Lunches and movies are not dating. Old, young, it doesn’t matter. Defensible female friends There are some girls that you can have as friends without your girlfriend being able to justifiably complain about it. Dating is for the purpose of finding a spouse. Priests and nuns who left their vows to get married, however, had an incredibly high divorce rate. Who says a priest can’t have friends? 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