What Causes Infidelity
By Ministers?

As with almost all boundary problems...infidelity...or adultery...on the part of ministers is related to the way the people involved think about ministry.

And as a first step...you need to define things before you can think about them...reason about them...or explain them to others. 

And on this site we use an Aristotle quote still respected today in science…philosophy…law…and art

On our homepage we’ve used Aristotle’s rule to define both ministry and boundaries and here we’ll define infidelity.

Then we’ll give an example and apply all three definitions to evaluate the minister’s actions.



an unjustified breach...

of one’s solemnly given word.

Here’s the example….

Why Fr. Vince counseled adultery

Father Vince was a hugely popular priest with the bishop...the other priests in the diocese...and the laity. Everyone thought of him as the golden boy of the diocese. He was ordained 15 years and was clearly headed for higher rank in the church.

Father Vince offered spiritual direction to a woman who came to him because...she said...she was unhappily married.

"In what way?" Father Vince asked her.

"I don't love my husband...you know...that way anymore". That is she did not feel romantic or sexual about her husband anymore.

The priest and the wife began to see each other regularly for spiritual direction.

When they were seen in public at parties...sometimes in outdoor hot tubs sipping wine...the woman's husband objected.

The priest told him not to worry...that his wife was 'spiritually talented' and had gone places she had never gone before.

Indeed she had...she went into marriage infidelity...spiritual adultery to her marriage contract...and conceived a child with the priest.

The woman's family was devastated. And when the story hit the local papers and television stations...the woman and the priest calmly faced a press conference and declared…

God wants this for us!

Father vince counseled adultery because it was God's will! Hmmmm...

However, God's will in such matters has been clear for millenia...

"If you love me you will keep my Commandments."

John 14:15

You can see immediately that by defining ministry as... religious activity that bring both minister and people closer to God ...adultery can never be a ministerial action...

Because God says twice in the Ten Commandments that it is sinful and therefore...adultery cannot be a ministry action that brings minister and people closer to God.

If adultery were a religious action…God's word would contradict itself and ...there is no truth in contradictions...they are always false.

Thought viruses were the problem

However… Father Vince was one of those ministers who have two fatal thought viruses

The first thought virus is that Fr. Vince believed…everything is ministry. This thought virus gave him license to intervene in any aspect of a parishioner's life ...even when he had no qualifications for doing so.

Although qualifications were not necessary in Father Vince's thinking because...

He could rely on the second thought virus which convinced him that any skill he needed to minister to others was mystically infused with the laying on of hands at ordination.

However...he never noticed that four years of theology was not infused ...two years of philosophy was not infused...and knowledge of the Scriptures was not infused.

And knowledge of the spiritual needs of people in a marriage contract was not infused either.

Nonetheless...he felt divinely licensed to be a spiritual director to people of his choosing.

There are many boundary problems in this example...on the priest's part and also on the woman's part.

  1. He had no business doing spiritual direction with anyone...untrained as he was.
  2. She had no business seeking help with marital problems with someone unqualified on all counts to give it. Especially since...
  3. Their theology was sorely uninformed. They were not each a blessing from God to the other. God does not bestow blessings on people that cause them to violate his Commandments by infidelity and adultery...or to injure other people...such as the woman's family.

In this case the woman's family was broken apart by her infidelity and adultery... and the woman's children learned some painful lessons about their mother.

And the priest's diocese was rocked with scandal by his unjustified breach of his ordination covenant.

Had the priest understood ministry as...religious actions that bring himself and the people closer to God...he could not have made infidelity to his ordination covenant...and adultery with the woman... into an expression of God's will.

When things are properly and adequately defined...they become an immediate standard against which to judge any ministry action…and a safeguard for ministry against thought viruses...and the devastation that can come from them.

In the example the lack of definition leads to the contradiction...adultery is ministry and ministry is adultery.

One cannot be in their right mind and believe such a contradiction.

Make sure your ministry is safe and spiritually sound.

From infidelity in ministry you can go to spiritual boundaries.

Or you can...

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