Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

Priestly Loneliness and Disquietude: A structural problem?
Loneliness is not in itself an evil. It shows, in fact, the truth of the human being as a creature in need of the Absolute. The suffering this involves, if accepted as the truth about oneself and not as a curse, can allow one to experience solid and deep relationships. First and foremost there is the relationship with the Lord, because one has come to recognize that without Him life becomes unbearable and meaningless.

There is indeed a dimension of loneliness in every state of life, as married people know, a radical emptiness, which nothing and no one can fill. This impossibility, if not accepted, can lead to illusory investments in the other, unrealizable claims and relationship failure. It is significant that the crisis of celibacy and the crisis of marriage appeared at the same time.

Loneliness makes one uncomfortable when it finds a person distant from his or her deepest self, lacking meaningful relationships, losing oneself in the to-do list, the gossip of the moment, the illicit pursuit of pleasure, hoping that this will fill the emptiness that torments. All this also applies to those who, like the priest, are called to a life of celibacy. Loneliness has multiple aspects, which can make it either desired or feared, hence the importance of understanding how and when it can become toxic rather than being a means of truth.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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