I asked a specific question in Ask an Apologist, but I’d like to discuss it in more general terms here in the realm of Moral Theology.
So here is the scenario: A Priest asks/tells you to do some specific function to be done during the celebration of Mass…he wants you to participate in a specific way (music ministry, EMHC, Lector, greeter, Usher…whatever). For any number of reasons you tell him “no, I can’t do it” or even just “I don’t want to do that”.
1 - Is this “disobedience”
2 - If it is, is it disobedience to an authority * or just “disobedience” to a regular person who also happens to be a Priest [and therefore no different than telling ‘Joe-Schmoe’ “no, I won’t do this”]?*
That’s what I’m thinking. I don’t see how it could be considered “disobedient” in the first place. To me it’s more of a boundary issue and letting the Priest know what you are, and are not willing to perform aside from your normal participation in the Mass. And I’ve never met a Priest that wasn’t willing to accept a person’s “no” to the point where he’d think that person was “disobeying” him.
If it were something that a priest could demand, then there might be a question of ‘disobedience;’ as it’s the case that this isn’t a demand, and moreover, that he can’t demand this, then it isn’t a question of ‘disobedience.’
t’s not disobedience but it could be (in certain situations) uncharitable. I used to hate serving mass but whenever I was in the congregation and the priest saw me he would run up to me and say: “there’s no-one to serve, will you serve?” I would think of every excuse I could but then one day he got really upset. “All these young men and none will serve!” he said. I realised that priests can really struggle in some parishes to get parishioners to take an active role in the parish causing additional stress to their already stressful lives. In this respect, I think it can be “uncharitable” to refuse to take an active role and leave it for someone else to do.(Not that I’m saying this applies to you! just adding to the discussion)
I think you make a really good point. If a person has the capacity to serve, then he ought to serve where/when he can. Something else to consider is HOW a person serves the Church. Just to throw myself in the mix here, I’d say that I actively serve in my role as husband/parent by bring my kids to Mass and teaching them about it. (That’s not to say I don’t, or would not, do anything else…just sayin’ there are many ways to serve.)
In the specific case I had sent to AAA forum, that person is in a postition where he CAN’T serve in the manner requested. Between health issues and a family to raise, he’s simply not in a position to do it. But I can still see where it would be uncharitable to not give a solid asnwer (yes or no) so that the Priest can find someone else, or make other arrangements.
Of course, another twist here is whether a particulr service is actually NEEDED. I once attended Mass at a parish where the Priest was so caught up with wanting EVERYONE to have an active role, that at one particulr daily Mass, there were more EMHC’s than there were people left in the pews for Communion. That same Priest, once he found out I play an instrument, volunteered me to play at an already-well-intrumented “Life Teen” Mass…indefinetly. We ended finding a different parish. :rolleyes: