The Mystique of the Roman Collar

“My life was a mystery even as I lived it.” – Melissa Gilbert


There’s a certain mystique about a priest’s uniform; black slacks, black shirt, and Roman collar that evokes different responses from different people—sometimes reverence, other times disdain. Being perceived as a pillar of the community can be a heady experience for a new priest, and one’s ego needs to be checked continually. The collar can also be an aphrodisiac for certain women, single or married, who are attracted to and flirt with the “unattainable” priest. Excerpt from A Saint and a Sinner

change these words: Developing an attraction to a priest is not uncommon; it’s just taboo to admit it. We often come to admire and feel close to people we work alongside and respect, especially those who mentor or care for us in some way. Similar things can happen between students and professors, patients and doctors, and clients and therapists. 

A priest is a spiritual father, and his life of sacrifice, faith, and servant leadership makes him a beautiful human being. If he also happens to be warm, charismatic, handsome, smart, and compassionate, well… that can be a recipe for a church full of women (and some men) with secret crushes. Who isn’t drawn to a person like that?

If this is just an innocent crush, one you can laugh about and tell your husband and girlfriends about, you’re probably fine going on the retreat. Crushes are a normal part of life and tend to dissipate, especially the more you expose them to the light and keep appropriate boundaries in the relationship. 

If, on the other hand, this is more of a full-blown attraction where you think about your pastor a lot, harbor fantasies about him, desire his personal attention, go out of the way to see him, etc., then you need to treat it very seriously.

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