Being there myself, I can see that most women and priests are living their love in secrecy and stay in silence because they fear.
Others had their relationships ended out of fear and even though they are no longer seeing each other, still live in fear and will not talk about it despite their relationship being something of the past.
Why do they fear? For the same reasons I did: what will people say, the guilt of being in love with a priest, being rejected by our community, being pressured and intimidated by the clergy, etc. All those thoughts, like little demons, keep us subjected to a law that was created by simple men who want to control the mass. That’s all. Simple human beings like us. They kept this law alive for centuries until today by a couple of men and indeed; they are outnumbered by the people who are in love.
If the number of lovers is higher than the number of bishops who holds the law of mandatory celibacy, why is it then we can’t overthrow this law? Because, we think they have the power, and why? We let them have it. They have been ruling people’s lives with the scepter of fear for generations and everybody obeys. We accept with blind eyes because we think that they are next to God, closer than we could ever be anyways, right? And if a priest was to condemn you to hell, you believe you will certainly go- so you obey, in silence, out of fear.
If you happened to be in love, God Himself created this love and allowed it to be in your heart for a reason, a purpose, so why do we let those fellow human beings have control over a normal emotion? We are not living in those centuries anymore where we would be tortured for having dared thinking out of the box. Remember that today, civil laws as well as Human Rights laws are at our disposal if we have been unjustly treated. We have to stop fearing and use them. If we don’t do it because we think we are alone, then, we need to find the communities or groups of people who are experiencing the same problem to then join them to grow our numbers. Then, we can do something together to change the course of our situation.
Why fear others for having something so sacred that God gave to you? Love is God. Hatred from people for that Love is not of God, so why abide by it? Fear of judgment? Persecution? Pressure? Rejection? Intimidation? Fear of people who by the minute the law is changed will agree to it?
Because of the fear that over power our lives, the law will never change. The people judge and persecute and intimidate because we fear. We are the ones who give them power with our fear. We are responsible because we allow these people to have this kind of behavior that I would call flat out- bullying, they take over our lives and well-being.
The problem is not what people will do or say and it’s not the stubbornness of the bishops who keep the law of celibacy alive, the problem is once again; the fear. The problem is within. We must go within us and look at our fear face-to-face, then ask ourselves, why do I let myself be intimidated? Why do I let this fear take control over my life? You need to take action over that fear by replacing it with new convictions. One of those actions is to give yourself that validation to the fact that you deserve to be respected.
Respect never comes to you freely, you must impose it if you want to have it. Second, you have to believe that you have the legitimate right to do whatever you please with your life and that, it's no one else’s business. Third, your beliefs, values, principles, feelings and your thoughts have as much value as anybody else’s. You need to stand up for yourself and know that you have a place under the sun as anybody else in this world. Fourth, be firm and confident with these new convictions. Fifth, practice, practice, practice until you are strong and unshakable.
If someone says something or does something to intimidate you, will it kill you? No. Impose respect, reclaim your right to privacy with what concerns you and walk away with your chin up. You don’t need approval from no one for what you want in your life. What people can say behind your back doesn’t matter, you know who you are and God knows who you are, be content with that, you can’t please everybody. Put some oil on your feathers- be indifferent to criticism; if they are not constructive they have no value. Remember that a lot of times you are judged by people who do worse than you in secret.
The other key point is that we have been conditioned with false beliefs by the religion.
We have been conditioned to believe in the law of celibacy according to the Church’s teachings, and by our parents who have been conditioned themselves in the same way by their parents and their parents before them and so on right up to the day that the law was created and enforced. Thus, you yourself have the belief implanted in you that you are not allowed to love a priest, or that a priest is not allowed to love a woman. You are imposing that law upon yourself because of the conditioning. You need to rewind the way you think about religion to then see the fault in this law because this law will disappear anyway and you may well be supported by the same people who defied you in the first place.
Learn how to love yourself enough to see what you are experiencing is valid; if you don’t do it, how can you expect others to do the same? If you allow yourself to stand up and be firm about your feelings and your own believes there will be no choice for people to start changing their attitude.
So, ‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
A piece of advice for the priest. As long as this law will be in force, the priest involved romantically must realize that he will have to sacrifice one for the other, even though he should have the right to have both. But he must know that he will always be a priest no matter what. Also, he needs to know that he has the right to love as any other human being no matter what. The priest must take responsibility and choose what is the most important and right thing to do for his well-being and the well-being of his lover. If his love for his woman is strong and real, then he should leave the church. The way the situation is at this point, you can’t get the best of both worlds so don’t be selfish. If his love was not strong and real, they should make amendments to the woman for breaking her heart as they shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place because they didn’t love her enough to make the right choice. If it's out of fear that they decide to stay in the clergy then before breaking the woman’s heart over such a decision, they should seek professional counseling outside the walls of the Church so that they can have fair advice.
For the sake of the women, if you are not willing to sacrifice your place in the clergy for the love of a woman then- DO NOT GET INVOLVED.