Lord, I never wanted to be separated from You.


We can list different kinds of fears or phobias from A to Z. From 'acarophobia' (fear of skin infestations by mites and ticks) to 'zoophobia' (fear of animals). But have you ever heard of the fear of priests or sacred objects? Yes, there is. It is called Hierophobia, an exaggerated or irrational fear of sacred objects or priests. In other words, the fear of priests and priests' stuff! 

What causes Hierophobia?

This fear can be caused by an indiscretion or immorality or sin committed by an individual that he/she feels is so big that the priest may call down God’s wrath on him/her. They may feel their actions can never be forgiven and that by confessing anything to a priest would only invite a judgment far more terrible than they might imagine. However, there are other causes which may be difficult to pinpoint.


In Philippine literature, we heard of the fearsome Padre Damaso and Padre Salvi whom the fearless Jose Rizal claimed to be mirrors of the society in the 19th century. In more recent times, there are sexually disordered priests who caused trauma and fear to their victims. Inspite of this, the Church managed to survive these challenges through the centuries and tries to correct what is wrong.

God loves us. His love is far greater than the gravest sin that we have committed. We only need to admit our shortcoming and repent. We need to approach a priest for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Do not fear a priest because of our hideous sins. He may reprimand and scold us but that is for us to feel the gravity of our wrong actions. 

"In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is at once both judge and healer, and that he is constituted by God as a minister of both divine justice and divine mercy, so that he may contribute to the honor of God and the salvation of souls." (CIC 978 §1)

Unfortunately, for hierophobics, they need not just confession but also psychiatric help.

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