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  #1  
Old Mar 4, '13, 8:41 am
123Strontium 123Strontium is offline
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Default I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

So obviously the internet is a great place to ask about faith issues, especially when they are controversial and you're too scared to ask an actual person who would be in an educated position to know. But sometimes I just want to ask a person who knows their stuff 'in person', in order to get a fuller and more personal answer.

However, my question is: why are catholic priests so unapproachable, am I generalizing?

The catholic faith in general is set up to do the thinking for us, so the theology ground work is already done, we as laity just accept the doctrine as gospel truth and act out our lives to it. Sometimes the rules based way of teaching the religion is problematic because it infantilizes people into not being critical thinkers and not being able to derive why they believe and act the way they are taught to. Rules v's Values based teaching ought to be distinguished here.

A past incident I had regarding asking catholic figures questions etc, or mentioning stuff outside the church, but still relating to Christianity was this:
Relating to a Nun on a social media website and she blocked me from commenting on facebook. The reason she blocked me was because she asked rhetorically I suppose, 'what can the catholic church do to teach the Gospels more effectively to young people'? and I said why don't we have good communicators like Tim Keller, who is part of the Presbyterian church and I linked an itunes page to his podcasts. Right, the thing is : I am doctrinally Catholic, I don't believe in sola fida, so i know where my position is regarding his speeches, however that doesn't stop me from identifying effective communication. Anyways, I got blocked, while she still allows Muslims to write awkward questions on her wall, it's not fair that she blocks me: a genuine and knowing catholic. Sorry, text is too long.
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  #2  
Old Mar 4, '13, 9:51 am
Disciple_I_Hope Disciple_I_Hope is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

123Strontium, your post struck a chord with me. What exactly that chord is, even after thinking about it for awhile, I don't know. I'll just start writing and see where it takes me. The Spirit moving?

Where to start....?

In a previous life, I was an engineer and a decent rhetorician. Please don't be offended by what I'm about to say. Your original premise "priest(s) are unapproachable is questions about Catholicism" doesn't seem to match your example. You relate one incident with a single nun. Is there something more? Is this an isolated experience or something that has happened to you more than once?

I've been Catholic all of my 65 years and have learned that priests and nuns are human beings and can be anywhere on the "doctrinal correctness" continuum, just like the general faithful. Let me expand my statement even to bishops. There was a time in the not too distant past when I would have taken an isolated statement or action by someone of the "religious life" to reflect the attitude of the whole Church and used that to feed my actions of rebelling against Catholicism.

You may have "struck a chord" with this individual that didn't fit into her general view of our faith. From the outside, her actions appear inconsistent with respecting another's view. Some of the most popular evangelists and biblical scholars in this country were former non-Catholic ministers. Jeff Cavins and Scott Hahn are two.

I was also intrigued by your statement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Strontium
The catholic faith in general is set up to do the thinking for us, so the theology ground work is already done, we as laity just accept the doctrine as gospel truth and act out our lives to it. Sometimes the rules based way of teaching the religion is problematic because it infantilizes people into not being critical thinkers and not being able to derive why they believe and act the way they are taught to.
This sounds like a pre-Vatican II statement. In those days the Church was something to be defended and existed in a feudal structure. That Council changed the Church's concept of itself to one of "journeying to eternal reward," and therefore, not perfect. I got taught to defend my faith, not live it. Hopefully, that is changing.

If your formation is not such that you can identify "doctrinal correctness," then my recommendation is to read, read, read--mainly scripture and the many wonderful commentaries that exist. Vatican II ecumenism acknowledges the elements of truth in all Christian doctrine. To exlude experts is probably not acknowledging "all" the truth.

Catholicism, in Sacred Scripture, the liturgy and all its tradition, is a dynamic institution made up of you and me and not just priests and nuns.

I really don't know if I've said anything. But there you have it.

God bless you.
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  #3  
Old Mar 4, '13, 11:41 am
anruari's Avatar
anruari anruari is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

The question of the link between Faith and reason is indeed an interesting one.
The official teaching of our church in fact is that Reason is essential for a meaningfull faith.

http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/
http://www.catholic.com/quickquestio...n-incompatible
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/ne...homas_aquinas/

Both of our 2 last Popes have taken great pains to illustrate this point.
We are required and responsible for the education of our own conscience.

That is not to say that the poor in spirit: those with a blind faith are unable to receive their salvation, but more that a faith based on and utilizing reason is a fuller, richer faith.

taht does not mean we should take our own path, ignoring the trail blazed ahead for us by the Saints and validated by the Magisterium - on the contrary, the Church, in the authority of the Magisterium has pointed to many great thinkers who have gone before us and recognised the Divine revelation of their Sainthood. In doing so she lifts the works and writings of those Saints to an especially prominent position and encourages us to read them - even when not everything they may have said is considered orthodox!

Approachability of Priests and the Clergy:

I feel for you deeply here. I myself have been hurt by approaching one priest with a thorny issue, looking for honest debate and hoping to be educated. He cast me aside and told me if I couldn't blindly accept the teaching in question I wasn't a catholic and not to approach him for Holy Communion.

I would point out that in my experience that was an extremely rare and unfortunate event. My normal experience is for Priests to be very aware of their duty as Pastors of Souls, and as Teachers. Sometimes they need to set an appointment to sit down with you and address your issues but they have a duty and responsibility to do so. To fail to do this is a total dereliction of their duty. If one priest doesn't have time he must find you another priest, deacon or suitably qualified person who can help you.


That said. Sometimes it's easier to seek and approach a priest who has especially made himself available, or to seek another person with the responsibility to teach. A Deacon, or a Brother or Sister in a teaching or missionary order.

There are regular catholic missionary events in every Diocese. At hose events you will find many people who will be very happy to sit down with you. address your most immediate concerns and direct you to a suitable Spiritual Director to help you in the longer term.

If you want specific questions answered, then go to your Parish priest and explicitly say you have a range of issue and would like some Spiritual Direction. Can he provide it or recommend a suitable person.

This approach makes it clear that you are serious, but willing to be handed on to someone with a particular gift in this area. If your locality has Permanent Deacons, or a Monastery or and active Opus Dei movement or Neocatecumen movement he may direct you to one of these organisations, depending on his relationship with them and the nature of the issues you have.

In the mean time, if you have specific questions I will be happy to try to answer them. Just send me the question on a P.M. or post it publicly and PM me with a link to that post. I promise I'll get back to you.
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AnRuaRi

Committed Catholic.
Married Man.
Dad to 2 beautiful miracles.
Discerning a possible call to the Diaconate.
Sometimes I post from my phone. It's hard to spell-check those entries - sorry.
Please pray for me.
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  #4  
Old Mar 4, '13, 6:14 pm
Aggies08 Aggies08 is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Well, the nun may be friends with some she is bringing into the Catholic faith, and didn't want a non-catholic source to be linked on her Facebook wall.
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  #5  
Old Mar 4, '13, 6:39 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Hmm, your post title is about priests being unapproachable in person, and yet your example is getting blocked from a religious sister's facebook page and citing that as "unfair".

Well, as to Facebook, life's not fair.

As to priests being unapproachable. Some are, some aren't. They are people, and therefore come with all the basic personalities common to all people. Make the effort get to know them, take a priest to dinner. And, maybe it is not that they are "unapproachable" but rather that they have limited time.

Perhaps you should look in to taking a university course. A theolgian teaching your class has more time for your questions than the average parish pastor.
__________________
Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #6  
Old Mar 5, '13, 5:16 am
123Strontium 123Strontium is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disciple_I_Hope View Post
123Strontium, your post struck a chord with me. What exactly that chord is, even after thinking about it for awhile, I don't know. I'll just start writing and see where it takes me. The Spirit moving?

Where to start....?

In a previous life, I was an engineer and a decent rhetorician. Please don't be offended by what I'm about to say. Your original premise "priest(s) are unapproachable is questions about Catholicism" doesn't seem to match your example. You relate one incident with a single nun. Is there something more? Is this an isolated experience or something that has happened to you more than once?

I've been Catholic all of my 65 years and have learned that priests and nuns are human beings and can be anywhere on the "doctrinal correctness" continuum, just like the general faithful. Let me expand my statement even to bishops. There was a time in the not too distant past when I would have taken an isolated statement or action by someone of the "religious life" to reflect the attitude of the whole Church and used that to feed my actions of rebelling against Catholicism.

You may have "struck a chord" with this individual that didn't fit into her general view of our faith. From the outside, her actions appear inconsistent with respecting another's view. Some of the most popular evangelists and biblical scholars in this country were former non-Catholic ministers. Jeff Cavins and Scott Hahn are two.

I was also intrigued by your statement:This sounds like a pre-Vatican II statement. In those days the Church was something to be defended and existed in a feudal structure. That Council changed the Church's concept of itself to one of "journeying to eternal reward," and therefore, not perfect. I got taught to defend my faith, not live it. Hopefully, that is changing.

If your formation is not such that you can identify "doctrinal correctness," then my recommendation is to read, read, read--mainly scripture and the many wonderful commentaries that exist. Vatican II ecumenism acknowledges the elements of truth in all Christian doctrine. To exlude experts is probably not acknowledging "all" the truth.

Catholicism, in Sacred Scripture, the liturgy and all its tradition, is a dynamic institution made up of you and me and not just priests and nuns.

I really don't know if I've said anything. But there you have it.

God bless you.
Thank you, you are right, read read read is a current pursuit of mine and of course reflection of the bigger picture to make sense of the coherence or incoherence.
God Bless to you too.
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  #7  
Old Mar 5, '13, 5:19 am
123Strontium 123Strontium is offline
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Join Date: December 31, 2012
Posts: 151
Religion: Cradle Catholic
Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
Originally Posted by anruari View Post
The question of the link between Faith and reason is indeed an interesting one.
The official teaching of our church in fact is that Reason is essential for a meaningfull faith.

http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/
http://www.catholic.com/quickquestio...n-incompatible
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/ne...homas_aquinas/

Both of our 2 last Popes have taken great pains to illustrate this point.
We are required and responsible for the education of our own conscience.

That is not to say that the poor in spirit: those with a blind faith are unable to receive their salvation, but more that a faith based on and utilizing reason is a fuller, richer faith.

taht does not mean we should take our own path, ignoring the trail blazed ahead for us by the Saints and validated by the Magisterium - on the contrary, the Church, in the authority of the Magisterium has pointed to many great thinkers who have gone before us and recognised the Divine revelation of their Sainthood. In doing so she lifts the works and writings of those Saints to an especially prominent position and encourages us to read them - even when not everything they may have said is considered orthodox!

Approachability of Priests and the Clergy:

I feel for you deeply here. I myself have been hurt by approaching one priest with a thorny issue, looking for honest debate and hoping to be educated. He cast me aside and told me if I couldn't blindly accept the teaching in question I wasn't a catholic and not to approach him for Holy Communion.

I would point out that in my experience that was an extremely rare and unfortunate event. My normal experience is for Priests to be very aware of their duty as Pastors of Souls, and as Teachers. Sometimes they need to set an appointment to sit down with you and address your issues but they have a duty and responsibility to do so. To fail to do this is a total dereliction of their duty. If one priest doesn't have time he must find you another priest, deacon or suitably qualified person who can help you.


That said. Sometimes it's easier to seek and approach a priest who has especially made himself available, or to seek another person with the responsibility to teach. A Deacon, or a Brother or Sister in a teaching or missionary order.

There are regular catholic missionary events in every Diocese. At hose events you will find many people who will be very happy to sit down with you. address your most immediate concerns and direct you to a suitable Spiritual Director to help you in the longer term.

If you want specific questions answered, then go to your Parish priest and explicitly say you have a range of issue and would like some Spiritual Direction. Can he provide it or recommend a suitable person.

This approach makes it clear that you are serious, but willing to be handed on to someone with a particular gift in this area. If your locality has Permanent Deacons, or a Monastery or and active Opus Dei movement or Neocatecumen movement he may direct you to one of these organisations, depending on his relationship with them and the nature of the issues you have.

In the mean time, if you have specific questions I will be happy to try to answer them. Just send me the question on a P.M. or post it publicly and PM me with a link to that post. I promise I'll get back to you.
Thank you for the links, I shall ask about for somebody equipped to answer my questions, which I'm going to have to gather up into some organized fashion before I present it to this person, who I hope is friendly and who doesn't have a dismissive demeanour. God Bless you.
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  #8  
Old Mar 5, '13, 5:24 am
123Strontium 123Strontium is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ke View Post
Hmm, your post title is about priests being unapproachable in person, and yet your example is getting blocked from a religious sister's facebook page and citing that as "unfair".

Well, as to Facebook, life's not fair.

As to priests being unapproachable. Some are, some aren't. They are people, and therefore come with all the basic personalities common to all people. Make the effort get to know them, take a priest to dinner. And, maybe it is not that they are "unapproachable" but rather that they have limited time.

Perhaps you should look in to taking a university course. A theolgian teaching your class has more time for your questions than the average parish pastor.

It's only not fair because she allows muslims to write all sorts of questions with their provocative 'taking the mikey' air about them, but has blocked me and I am catholic wanting to communicate with the nuns.


I agree with you regarding a course of some kind, but I'm not sure we have them where I am based.

Plus 'life's not fair' is not really a response to something like this. Because her treatment of me is unfair and unjustified in comparison to the other commenters. I've tried to communicate with her but she is not replying, so who is unreasonable there?
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  #9  
Old Mar 5, '13, 5:28 am
123Strontium 123Strontium is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggies08 View Post
Well, the nun may be friends with some she is bringing into the Catholic faith, and didn't want a non-catholic source to be linked on her Facebook wall.
I understand this but....
People ought to be free to pick and choose what denomination they want to reside with, shouldn't catholics be informed about the other denominations in order to contextualize their own religion, therefore being a 'knowing' catholic instead of just a cultural one that just accepts everything like sheep because they were raised catholic? I don't think people should be so patronized.
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  #10  
Old Mar 5, '13, 4:59 pm
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anruari anruari is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Strontium View Post
I understand this but....
People ought to be free to pick and choose what denomination they want to reside with, shouldn't catholics be informed about the other denominations in order to contextualize their own religion, therefore being a 'knowing' catholic instead of just a cultural one that just accepts everything like sheep because they were raised catholic? I don't think people should be so patronized.
Unfortunately that falls into the tap of assuming that all faiths, or at least all Christian faiths are equal. This is a former of moral and cultural Relitivism. It is Unfortunately not true.
The Catholic Faith is the fullness of Truth. While other denominations have a image of and do indeed worship the same good as us, they are members of groups who have rejected part of that truth and fallen into Heresy. Few of the individuals involved today are morally culpable for this. They genuinely don't know any better. But the founders of the Protestant reformation are answering to God for their Sin which has driven millions away from the true Church which He founded
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AnRuaRi

Committed Catholic.
Married Man.
Dad to 2 beautiful miracles.
Discerning a possible call to the Diaconate.
Sometimes I post from my phone. It's hard to spell-check those entries - sorry.
Please pray for me.
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  #11  
Old Mar 5, '13, 5:19 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Strontium View Post
It's only not fair because she allows muslims to write all sorts of questions with their provocative 'taking the mikey' air about them, but has blocked me and I am catholic wanting to communicate with the nuns.
so what? it's her page and she can do whatever she wants with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Strontium View Post
I agree with you regarding a course of some kind, but I'm not sure we have them where I am based.
Catholic Distance University

Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Strontium View Post
Plus 'life's not fair' is not really a response to something like this.
Sure it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 123Strontium View Post
Because her treatment of me is unfair and unjustified in comparison to the other commenters. I've tried to communicate with her but she is not replying, so who is unreasonable there?
Again, SO WHAT?

You are not in 8th grade. It's a nun on Facebook for heaven's sake. Move On. Get over it.
__________________
Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #12  
Old Mar 6, '13, 7:44 pm
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Aloysium Aloysium is offline
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Default Re: I feel like my Priest(s) is not approachable with regards to questions I have about Catholicism

Quote:
I said why don't we have good communicators like Tim Keller, who is part of the Presbyterian church and I linked an itunes page to his podcasts.
my guess would be was that she misinterpreted your comment and the intention of your link
she could have perceived it as an insult and an attempt to undermine her efforts

the sort of communication in which we are now engaged, is terrible in communicating nuances
there is no contact, no body language, not even the tone contained in speech

that would be my guess, because she doesn't know you

this makes your problem more difficult it seems

if you can't get direct contact with your priest, can't get it through Facebook, where do you go?

here i suppose . . . oh hi, btw
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