A fear of priests


#1

As I prepare to attend Mass for the first time, I am feeling a sense of dread simply because of one thing: Priests. Men. I fear them because of all those stories of priests sexually abusing children, etc… It is incredibly unfair of me to be afraid of all of them because of what just a few did. But I’ve always been kind of untrustworthy of men because of news stories and things in my past, so this just kind of adds to that. I’ve never really had a father figure either.

I just don’t know how to convince myself that this is such a foolish and irrational fear.

Are there any good Bible quotes that have to do with this? Any words of advice you have? By the way, it is not such a severe fear that it is a phobia, and it never really interferes with my life (Well, besides now.)


#2

There is only one thing you can do to correct this irrational fear: exercise your will. You know very well that the number of priests who are abusive is very, very small compared to the number of good, loving, and wonderful priests who are the lifeblood of the Church.

Spend time with your priest and get to know him well. Attend any social events you can in the parish so as to correct your phobia.


#3

Are you afraid of teachers? Are you afraid of any and all parental figures?

These two groups commit offenses of this type at a much, much, much higher rate than Catholic Priests do.


#4

Then you need to fear the general population of men, too, as they commit these acts at a greater rate than priests do.

We are all sinners. The only way that we get Jesus bodily on earth is through the hands of His priests.

Pray for them. I will pray for you.


#5

You can do it…exercise that free will…attend Mass…try to attend a social function and do a ‘meet and greet’…You can do it


#6

Maybe this quote: 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.”

So do your best to not give in to that fear! :slight_smile:


#7

First off, welcome! So excited that you will be attending a Christmas mass. I’m praying that there is someone there for you to help you to feel welcome and that you have a positive experience. God bless you in this. Now regarding your question.

I’ve known a priest who was dismissed for the very reason you are speaking. After reflecting on the experience for quite some time, I guess what I found in my own heart is that I was struggling with getting over my personal judgments of his actions. While they can’t be dismissed, Jesus is a person of tremendous mercy, and in our heart of hearts shouldn’t we desire mercy for priests who have succumbed to these temptations?

We cannot enter the Kingdom of God that Jesus promises without being deeply and sincerely repentant of what we have done wrong. I don’t know if anyone can come to faith without first realizing within our hearts a deep longing to be a better person, a desire to rid ourselves of the things getting in the way of being the best version of ourselves. We all have things that we struggle with; and some more than others.

When we are deeply repentant (I mean really deeply), we recognize so clearly how badly our sins have harmed us that we desperately desire God’s mercy for others. These men, these priests, are like angels that have fallen from heaven. They desperately need our prayers and God’s mercy. Just as the responsibility of priesthood is quite a lofty one, so the falls they take are quite farther than the rest of us. As Jesus promises, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown Mercy.”

Also maybe some of these images will help:


#8

You should guard your heart with priests as you do with other men. I would suggest using a screen in the confessional.


#9

Well stated:thumbsup:


#10

Congratulations! How exciting! Your first mass! :thumbsup::):bounce::yup::clapping:

Anyway, you don’t have anything to worry about. You’re not a child. How would a priest be able to abuse you? This is Christmas mass you are talking about. Any Catholic church is at their maximum capacity at Christmas. Sometimes, I think attendance…doubles…or triples! They usually take out special chairs. Some people have to stand, especially the latecomers! What I’m saying is I doubt you’ll be alone!

Priests are so busy. When I even go to confession, there’s a line. Even to talk alone with one seems hard. Everybody else wants to talk to him! They are often spread really thin! Some people have a hard time even getting an appointment with one!

Ever since those incidents with the priests, the Catholic Church, and all its clergy, have been held to a much higher standard than anybody else. If a minister does the same thing, he often gets a name, not associated with his church, necessarily. With priests, it goes back on the parish, on all Catholics.

The priests, and Church, has been held under a magnifying glass, under very intense scrutiny, much more than any other faith I know.

I remember I once volunteered in the US at a Catholic school, and that school, due to all this, absolutely bent over backwards to make sure nothing went wrong. We had a manual we had to read, and I was just a VOLUNTEER! I have volunteered in other places and never had anything close as strict as with that one Catholic school.

I’m just saying I think you’d have more reason to fear at a public school than a church, in all honesty!

Priests are people. People, from time to time, make mistakes. The media LOVES to get ahold of just one story of a priest doing wrong so that he can make them all out to be the villain, seemingly as a way to get at the Church, itself, really do it some major damage! It has reached a point it doesn’t seem fair!

I have known such WONDERFUL priests.

Keep in mind we’ve always had evil with us, even in the early Church. Look at with Christ! He picked Judas! Yet, we had the other 11, including Peter! So, for one Judas, you’re going to throw out all the rest? Does that seem fair to you?

The probability of this is VERY small.

We talk about the unfairness of discrimination on the basis of skin color, race, etc. We say you can’t generalize everybody by one. This is like a kind of discrimination…against all priests, due to the actions of a very few.

What I hope is that you will one day meet a priest, have a positive experience, and be able to put all this behind you.

I’ll close with a prayer.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blest is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. :angel1:


#11

Sounds like the Devil is working on you. I would recommend reading Titus 1:5-9, talks
more about bishops, but applies to priests as well. Priests and Bishops are supposed
to be (and more often than not, ARE) moral men by obligation. Are we to discount All
Twelve Apostles, including he who replaced Iscariot (Matthias),on account of Iscariot’s
betrayal of Christ? Of Course Not.

In my reversion to the Faith, my first act (in mass) was going to have to be Confession
and Reconciliation. I too was scared,more because I was imagining like on the movies
when the priest was normally that harsh old man type, but interestingly I ended up get-
ting a rather young yet smart priest (my to-be-priest little brother’s words), and he was
very kind to me. He made my reconversion process very easy and gentle.

[RIGHT](NOTE: In Titus 1:6, where it talks about
‘husband of one wife,’ Paul wanted to ex-
–out divorced men, polygamists, etc).
[/RIGHT]


#12

Thank you all for your prayers and wise words of advice. It truly brings me great comfort and joy to see people on these Forums caring about people that they don’t know and always praying for them :angel1:


#13

The media - they’ll have you staying indoors the rest of your life - afraid to cross the road, go on holidays, abseiling, fly in a plane, shop at a late night food store, talk to a priest, and travel to many many countries in the world (New Zealand, Philippines, Egypt) - cause disasters have pretty much happened everywhere!

Our children (& us) are suffering from vit D deficiency cause we’re afraid of skin cancer, & our kids don’t play on the footpath anymore or walk home from school & are no longer as fit as the previous generations due to stranger danger. Hell, we kill babies who might be born imperfect!

Its true, we should be cautious and avoid known dangers, and vit D deficiency is not as bad as getting skin cancer. But don’t take it to extremes; most priests are not paedophiles. Otherwise, we could be looking forward to a future of virtual holidays…


#14

God came to us as a man. Be not afraid! You are welcome in His Church!


#15

I feel sorry for you. But most priests are not pedophiles. A priest is not someone you need to be afraid of. He is another Jesus. Priests are easy to make friends with. They’re very nice. :slight_smile:

Good luck at your first Mass. :thumbsup:


closed #16

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