The priest is unburdening his soul to his unseen visitor, beginning the process of admitting his
Believe it or not, I know women – and not just because I’m chaplain in a girl’s school, with all the teachers and mothers. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by women. Everywhere I go there are women. I need only stand outside the church for a few minutes and some woman’ll come up to me. For advice. To gossip. To offer help if they think I’m lost. Men don’t do that. Men keep their distance.
Then there are the women who ask, “Are you happy being a priest, Father?” It’s usually the young ones, but not always. You know what they mean even if they’re too shy to say it. Some come straight out with it: “Are you never tempted, Father?”
Most of the time it’s curiosity, but sometimes it’s . . . an invitation. You can see it in their eyes, wide open, searching. Their body language, so subtle you’d hardly notice it. Chest a little forward. Their mouth almost offering a kiss. What they really want to know is are they so feminine they have the power to seduce even a man of the cloth?
What do I tell them? We’re all tempted, I say, but prayer can save us all from sin.
And yet, you know something, Michael?
Most of the time it was me, not them, that wanted to sin, that was desperate to sin. I would want every woman I saw, teenager, grandmother, all the ages in between. I would long for warm skin and flowing hair, light perfumes and earthier scents. My eyes would be lured by breasts and rumps, high heels and make-up, all the symbols of femininity.
For ten or more years, Michael, night after night, I made love to women. My hand rested on firm ripe bosoms; my mouth kissed soft red lips. I unzipped skirts and watched them fall, flicked open bra clasps with agile fingers. Again and again in that bed upstairs, I satiated my lust with every woman who crossed my path and took my fancy.
Foreman, Martin. Angel, Arbery Publications, 2012, pp 9-13.