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Grant Thompson wrote:

Hi, guys —

Our parish priest had a sexual affair with a married lady parishioner last year. The lady reported the affair to the bishop. The bishop told her to forgive the priest as it was the year of mercy.

The lady parishioner has since moved to another parish and no action has been taken against the priest. Yes, we can forgive; but I am afraid it can happen again. It is also hard for me to even talk to this priest.

Please advise and thank-you.

Praise The Lord!


  { How do you suggest I handle this sexual affair issue with my parish priest and the bishop? }

Eric replied:


If the bishop is not handling the situation correctly, and I don't think he is, there is not much you can do except pray for the priest, the bishop, and the woman involved.

You could write to the papal nuncio over the issue, but I doubt that will go anywhere. If you really can't deal with the priest, I suppose you could change parishes, but I would spend some time in prayer for him first, and, yes, forgive him, even if that seems like a cop-out.

This benefits you, because Jesus said if we do not forgive others their sins, He will not forgive us our sins.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord; I will repay
(Romans 10:19, Hebrews 10:30, Deuteronomy 32:35)

The priest will receive the appropriate punishment from God for his sins (as we must remember we all will). There is no need to be anxious that justice be done; if it is not done in this life, it will be done in the next life, whether it is Purgatory or Hell.

Your main concern is to worry about yourself, your own sins, and the dangers of unforgiveness on your own soul. Let me be clear: What he did was grievously wrong, and merits Hell if he does not repent of it, but again that is for the Lord to judge and deal with. If you need to protect your family, do so in an appropriate fashion.


Bob replied:


As far as I can see you have two options:

  1. find a new parish, or
  2. stick this one out

Your conscience will have to be your guide on this. Maybe you could summon the courage to talk to the offending priest and tell him how this breach of trust has made it difficult for you to worship there — then gauge his reaction.

  • If he is taking steps to behave differently then maybe give him a second chance
  • if not, take the walk.

We are all sinners and he may be a potentially good priest in the wake of this — if he is humbled by his own frailty, humanity, and inclination to sin. Some people emerge better, others not.

Pray for him and try to discern where the issue goes over time.


Bob Kirby

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