“Here I am this small-town girl, and at the time I didn’t feel that I was very attractive,” she said, “and yet he’s putting his vows on the side and he wants to be with me, in the most intimate, loving way. It was quite an honor.”
“It’s such a powerful thing because you think — and this is the illness of it, too — you are led to believe and you let yourself believe, that you are a chosen one. That you are so special,” she said, adding of the priest, “It’s not that they’re putting God aside, it’s that they’re bringing you up to their level.” (Source)
When Ms. Bond became pregnant the first time, she said that Father Willenborg wanted to her to have an abortion. She refused, but the baby was lost to a miscarriage. She became pregnant again, and this time carried the baby to term. She entered into a legal agreement with the Franciscans that they would pay her about $85,000 in child support over the first 18 years of the boys life.
Still, Father Willenborg and Ms. Bond continued their relationship with little consequence to the priest.
An unexpected turn of events brought their idyll to an end. A young woman showed up at Ms. Bond’s house in a rage. She told Ms. Bond that she had been in a sexual relationship with Father Willenborg for years, since she was in high school. (Reached by phone last week, the woman confirmed the relationship, and said it had caused her a lifetime of pain. She asked to remain anonymous.) Immediately, the Franciscans sent Father Willenborg to a treatment center in New Mexico run by a religious order, for priests with sexual disorders and substance addictions.
Ms. Bond says that after that, they had sex together only once more: immediately after he returned from seven months at the center. She still has the receipt from the hotel room. (Source)
In a court deposition years later, Father Willenborg said that he was never disciplined and never counselled to leave religious life. Ms. Bond got help from a group that was originally founded to help priests and their lovers discern whether the men should leave Orders an marry or break off the relationships.
“We were naïve,” Mrs. Finnegan said. “We quickly discovered that many of these priests were playboys. They weren’t looking for any discernment, they were simply staying and playing. It was the women who needed the support. Unfortunately, many women accept the kind of abuse from a priest that they would never accept if they were dating another man.”
She said that in 25 years, Good Tidings had been contacted by nearly 2,000 women who said they were involved with priests, many who had signed child support and confidentiality agreements like Ms. Bond’s. There are similar support groups in at least seven countries.
A landmark study in 1990 by the scholar A. W. Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine, found that 20 percent of Catholic priests were involved in continuing sexual relationships with women, and an additional 8 percent to 10 percent had occasional heterosexual relationships. (Source)
That's right, 20% of Roman Catholic Priests were involved in continuing sexual relationships with women. That's not just occasional boundary slipping--that's ongoing relationships.
The situation with Ms. Bond and Father Willenborg became more complex. She wanted help from the Franciscans to pay for her son's college education. They resisted, but after a paternity test confirmed the priest was the boy's father they eventually settled at paying half the cost. But then son, Nathan, was diagnosed with cancer. The church has been reluctant to help with the medical costs.
This sort of situation does make a case for ending mandatory celibacy for Roman Priests. My guess is that there will probably be Married priests before we see women priests. Indeed, there are already a few married RC Priests. It might also help with vocation crisis in the RC Church.