Let's define catholic campus ministry first...
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And this ministry serves young adults from 18 to 22 years old who are at their sexual peak...and most of whom are away from the guiding influence of home values...making decisions entirely on their own...for the first time. So...
However...if catholic campus ministers are themselves not sufficiently mature socially and psychosexually opportunities can occur easily for boundary violations with this young and sexy population .
According to a famous Aristotle quote words, such as ministry and spiritual direction must be properly defined if ministers are to know whether they are doing ministry or something else.
Undefined terms like spiritual direction have no commonly understood meaning in catholic campus ministry and mean whatever the participants want it to mean.
We have defined ministry on our homepage. And here we will define what the ministry of spiritual direction is so we can judge the scenario in the example below for its ministerial soundness.
In the following example of Catholic campus ministry spiritual direction is not defined. And so without a definition to give the minister's activity a correct meaning, the misnamed spiritual direction in the example takes place in the wrong context and location. And that is how Catholic campus ministry can become romantic and erotic.
He had no specific training to work with young adults...it was just an age group that he liked.
Nor did he have training as a spiritual director.
In order to seem "relevant" to the young men who came to see him...he gave them keys to his apartment.
The students could come and go at leisure whether or not the priest was at home.
He did spiritual direction in his apartment...in the living room.
The students began to talk about what they were getting for spiritual direction from the campus minister.
The minister was removed from his assignment and sent for an evaluation and residential treatment.
The interview went as follows. (The examiner's questions are in bold type)...
do you do spiritual direction?
In the living room.
Where do you sit?
On the sofa.
Where does the student sit?
On the sofa.
Such counseling is usually done face to face. But this setup creates a picture of two people doing spiritual direction while facing North. So the examiner inquired further.
Is this couch a two seater or a three seater?
You cannot assume anything with a person who has boundary deficits...such as context and location 'blindness.' Most people would not inquire about the size of the sofa the spiritual director used in his Catholic campus 'ministry'. Being a "love seat" inspires some interesting questions
How do you interact with each other?
We are each leaning against the arm of the sofa.
Where are your legs then?
Up on the sofa.
Do you each have one leg between the legs of the other?
This information adds an active sexual element to the proceedings. And so, further questions along this line get asked
What do you wear during these sessions?
Usually running shorts.
Taking nothing for granted the examiner seeks to complete the picture.
Do you have anything to drink during these sessions?
Wine during the evening sessions.
And as the reader can see...if these sessions took place in an office...set aside for Catholic campus ministry...it would be hard to redefine the session into a romantic quasi sexual event.
And by choosing a highly personal romanticized setting for spiritual direction with young adults...both director and student could think...that because of the 'informality' of the college life-style...they were doing spiritual direction...when they were actually engaged in something erotic.
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