Father Vince offered spiritual direction to a married woman with four children.
This raises three questions immediately...
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But first the story and the questions will answer themselves...
Susan...aged 34...went to meet Father Vince who had just been assigned to her parish as its pastor.
She was married ten years and had three children...five...seven and nine years old.
She knew him by reputation. Ordained 15 years...he was referred to as the "golden boy" of the diocese because he was tall dark and handsome and popular with the bishop...the priests and the laity.
Susan told Father Vince that she was not happy in her marriage...that she didn't love her husband "that way" any more.
Father Vince made regular twice weekly appointments for her.
Susan's early enthusiasm for these appointments...and then her complete silence about them...aroused her husband's suspicions that the relationship had become something else.
He went to see Father Vince and said he did not think the relationship with his wife was appropriate. He questioned whether Father Vince understood the needs of married people.
Father Vince waxed eloquent about how "spiritually talented" Susan was. But he was not able to define Susan's "talent" for the husband.
Eventually...to the embarrassment of Susan's husband and children...word got around that Father Vince and Susan were 'dating'.
They appeared at some parties together...one of which was a hot tub party.
When Susan's husband complained again...Father Vince assured him that nothing was wrong because they were very public about their friendship.
But their relationship didn't take place entirely in public.
Eventually they conceived a child.
Father Vince and Susan told the press..."God wants this for us."
Although a priest should know that two of the Ten Commandments prohibit adultery.
Father Vince lost his ministry.
A family was destroyed. All because spiritual direction was not defined to differentiate it from adultery.
Supervise you own ministry activity and actions in ministry.
You can go from the spiritual direction page and return to sexual boundaries.
Or you can...go to what is spirituality.
Or you can...