Authority of Pastors over Laymen

How much are Laymen subject to ordained priests? Is it only inside of the home Parish, only through sacraments? What if one was to disagree with the Pastor or speak sharply in opposition is that stepping out of authority? What is the Churches teaching on this please?

It is perfectly acceptable to respectfully disagree with a priest.

That depends on the subject matter, though, doesn’t it?

I mean, if my pastor asserts that the Baltimore Ravens rock, then I can reasonably disagree with his prudential judgment (since, clearly, he’s wrong :rofl:). On the other hand, if he asserts that Christ is the Son of God… then can I reasonably “respectfully disagree” with him?


This is the key. But when it comes to something Spiritual or about the church I defer to Father because he went to school for a LONG time to learn what he knows and He has a WHOLE LOT more experience with spiritual issues.

The priest isn’t there to “boss” you around.
If you really don’t understand something, have him explain it.
Priests are very aware that people can struggle with various issues. It’s also their job to inform.

Besides, we should be courteous with everybody, not just the priest :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I have no issues disagreeing with a Priest.

For instance, our KofC Council has historically rang the bell for the Salvation Army on a Saturday at 4 locations in our town. We provided manpower to help their fundraising.

This year, one of our Brother Knights asked our Priest if this was acceptable. Our Priest looked over the internet and found a website with two sources saying that the Salvation Army had ties to Planned Parenthood with no other information provided. Just take their word for it. Due to this and the fact they were another church, the Priest said we should not ring the bells for them. This was discussed at one of the meetings I had to miss. Due to the arguments at the meeting it was tabled until the next month.

I learned about this, and did some of my own research. Without knowing the website our Priest used, I happened to come across the same website with the two sources. I printed the page. I also did further research and tried to find the actual information from the two sources. One of the sources wanted you to purchase the info. That same source happened to have lost their 501 C 3 status in 2017, which was for failure to file their tax returns for the previous 3 years, but was still soliciting donations as a 501 C 3. Completely illegal. The other source, I pulled down their tax return from the IRS and found that they did very little good, but paid a ton in salaries and such to their directors. I think they actually used 15% of their millions in revenue for education. This same organization gives Catholic Relief Services a C rating for charities.

At the next meeting I had this information available for our council. After some discussion we took a vote by ballot. We are ringing the bells for the Salvation Army. Our Priest based his decision on faulty information he got off the internet. The Salvation Army clearly has a pro life stance, believing that life begins at conception. They also do a lot of good helping out less fortunate in many communities.

Whether another group is of a different religion or not, if they are doing the work that Christ told us to do by feeding the poor, and helping your neighbor, I can’t see how me standing and ringing a bell for a couple of hours is going against what the Church teaches or what Christ himself tasked us to do.

Begin with the Catechism on authority

Scripture details how we settle disagreements with others.

First you go and talk to them and try to settle things.

If that does not work, you go with a coupla other people (for a priest, I would go to the Vicar of Clergy or Bishop’s office)


Priests are stretched very thin these days. I doubt they have much time to learn the faith after their training.

That is why I’m asking about authority. Surley we are subject to Penance. But as far as common advice given in Homilies I would have to say Nay. Especially when one slips up and teaches something untrue.

Heresy is only Heresy if one has been corrected and still chooses to teach the same but that don’t change the fact once in awhile we hear false teachings. Also the discernment of what goes on in Parish School is questionable. Or the priests views and tolerance of Feminism and Co-dependency. The mistreatment of other inside ministries by the leaders. The list can go on to something that is not easily tackled unless literally harassing the priest daily. Nobody likes a critical eye but being passive is useless also.

I personally recommend just going to activities outside the Parish if it is like this type of stuff is your Parish community. The Church will provide nonmatter what condition the pastor is in.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit