Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Shrouded In Shame

Recently, I responded to an article on your blog. I was concerned about the lack of voice given to women who are married to priest, and how they are never mentioned by the church. It seems that the only concerns of the church have been priests and their celibacy.

Since I am married to a priest, I have been wanting to hear from other wives. I don't know where all the women are, and why they don't speak out more often or more loudly, but I think it may have something to do with the shame imposed on them by the church and even by many priest?

I have a blog dedicated to art and healing, and while writing about a collage I made of Sarah, the wife of Abraham, I made an interesting discovery. I found Hagar to be more of a heroin and Sarah less so as I wrote. My blog is http://myvvart.blogspot.com/ and the post is It Is About Hagar And Her Child. I have come to see Hagar as a symbol of women married to priest. If you would like to see how I came to that conclusion take a look.

Marcella Paliekara

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as a priest that was married before being ordained and coming to US, where I lasted 11 years in pastoral service before having argument with the new bishop and leaving the Church ( now 5 years ago)I have witnessed discrimination, abuse and unrealistic expectation from bishops, fellow clergy and parishioners inflicted on my wife and our children ( I belonged to some of fringe catholic churches that on paper do allowe married clergy) In the beginning I had unrealistic expectations from my wife myself, but with the time moving 13 times in 11 years from parish to parish, most times getting less than week notice, in order to replace some pastor who dropped dead, was eliminated because of scandals or sickness, I started seeing the outlandishness of the situation and had no doubts or regrets for abandoning the active priesthood when the time arrived finding a non church related job and not putting a foot in the church again, God knows my "livers and kidneys" I am gratefully for every minute of my ministerial experience.
my wife had no working visa.
I was expected to make a living on $750 a month ( $ 400 salary "self employed" + $200 food allowance & $150 car allowance) and forbidden ( I still have letters from chancery) to engage in any additional occupations ...yes I also could keep $10 per mass donation a day even when traveling over the weekend over 300 miles to visit and give services at 3 other churches without priests, and when for asked bishop if he has any donations that he could share since I sometimes got only 2 or 3 requests a week since parishes were tiny and up to 80% of members were elderly living of Social security check, he would send me list of intentions which after it was dated and filed out he would send me a check, eventually that added to $5 a day for each


oddly enough my two 'celibate' neighbors were regulars at our state casinos ( they had no additional parishes or missions assigned so they had the time I guess) and were assigned directly from seminary to relatedly larger and wealthier parishes and even could afford plasma tv in mid 90-ies when those were about $30000 each in there privet entertainment centers.

Jealousy? No I don't have tv at all, by choice, there's thousands better ways to spend time... like talking with my children, going for walk with my wife, helping neighbors..

..sadness? yes, resources could have being spent on actual programs...ther'are always poor to be with you."...
I know this will come across as " sour grapes" but I am sharing it with you because my wife was systemically scorned and ostracized in one of the parishes for not attending christening party for politically important persons grandson, nobody ever asked why....we moved in week before, she was 9 month pregnant, our 18 month son was just vaccinated and recovering as result when she was completely dressed he vomited on her, the smell triggered her morning sickness and as result her waters broke....that is when I walked in rectory and stayed cleaning up, after officiating the christening...no support no help just us alone...that was the point when I remembered words of an older pastor when I was in seminary; "...just because you are pastor and take care of everybody else God is not coming down and replacing you to be husband to your wife and father to your children, it is your first job." ....and till this day I am gratefully for being given that advice....May Lord be with you, it is a lonely job you have, try not to become bitter or disappointed I met widows of clergyman who have had health destroyed and become bitter and impossible to live around, don't let them get to you, after all they did crucify Jesus...why do we expect them to by any kinder to their pastors or pastor's wifes...:)