Don't Know What to Do Re: My Parish Priest

I have a problem with my parish priest. I have always respected him and he is well respected as a faithful-to-the magisterium priest who doesn’t mince words. But lately I have had some misgivings about him. Occasionally I call him for moral guidance. Often he gives me hurried advice and dismisses me rather quickly (like less than 1 minute or even 30 seconds) and quite often he does not even return my phone call if I leave a message with the parish secretary. I know he is very busy but I only call like once or twice a month on average. And several weeks ago he said something to me that I thought was very mean but I may have misinterpreted what he said, or I overreacted, or perhaps he misspoke (See my thread “Vocation Struggle” if you care to learn more about that). I really strongly get the feeling that I am a bother to him and not a precious soul in need.

EDIT: I should be fair and say that he is different in confession. I feel more cared for by him there.

I want to know what if anything to do about this. Should I keep silent? Am I being too sensitive? Should I take my concerns directly to him? Should I discuss this with other parishioners? Should I talk to the bishop? (the last two I am fairly sure I should NOT do but I want to make sure.) I am worried that Satan is working on me to do damage to one of the Lord’s shepherds and I do not want that. Please advise. Thank you.

I think you are being a little too sensitive. Make an appointment and talk with him instead of calling him on the phone and expecting for him to pour out the wisdom of Job off the top of his head!:rolleyes:

If this priest is anything like the good priests that I know, he’s probably a lot busier than you might imagine. It sounds like when he’s free (e.g., in confession, and in earlier conversations), he gives you the time that you want… but that he can’t just come at your beck and call when you spring a question on him. Think of him as the father of a very large family, and yourself as but one of his children.

Pray for him, perhaps pray the Litany of Humility (so that unintended slights don’t harm your sanctity), and rest assured that even if “the harvest is great, and the laborers are few,” God always has time for your concerns, no matter how small.

I do not think this is something of grave enough matter to go to the bishop and certainly you should not cause your priest scandal by gossiping about him to other parishioners.

I would give the priest the benefit of the doubt. Priests are often very busy and overworked and ringing him out of the blue you most likely catch him when he’s busy. Make an appointment and it will be much easier, or if you have moral questions then try researching the Catechism and Church documents to see if you can find your answers there without having to go to your priest.

I’m going to put it plainly.

Parish priests are extremely busy, their time is not their own, they have thousands of details to attend to, and everybody thinks they own them. Calling once or twice a month is far too much.

If you are in need of spiritual direction find a spiritual director.

Good luck.:thumbsup:

I would find a good spiritual director, whether or not it’s this priest, and limit my questions to that time - making an appointment for confession, that is. If you need to go to confession other times (during the appointed hours at church), I would just keep it basic - whatever is needed to make a good and valid confession.

Like the others said, most parish priests are horribly busy, and phone calls can often come at very inconvenient times, unknown to the one making the call.

Please don’t go to your bishop and especially do not take it to other parishioners. The Word of God himself (Which is Jesus Christ) says that if you have a problem with another, then you take it to that person first.

If you do speak with your priest, then do so with charity, humility...   remember that you don't know how you would be if you had the same pressures to deal with.   It may be that he was trying to solve your situation as quick as he could so that he could deal with another's.   A priest has to assess what problems need his attention most, just like a doctor cannot decide to look into a 65 year old's sneezing problem when there is a car accident trauma victim that needs his immediate attention.   You just don't know.   

I think you may be sensitive here, but none the less, you feel it and it concerns you. It has become an issue for you to deal with, so it needs to be dealt with. I would advise to start with searching yourself first.

If it were me, I would pray over it for a while (especially before I would speak to the priest one to one).   Think about this:  Is this issue worth eternity?   Can you sacrifice this whatever-the-problem-is?    Do you feel that you are being vindictive even in a small way?  (I need to be honest, but if you are considering going to the Bishop or other parishioners over this, then I think you are not letting God in this situation to mend it, but rather wanting to get what you want to get- short version:  you are miffed at the way you were treated and you want support in getting what you think you deserve from him.) 

I also would pray a few rosaries for the sake of this priest, asking God that if he is doing wrong, that the Holy Spirit will give him the grace to see what he has done and change accordingly.. ask the same for yourself as well.  

Ask yourself, what would Jesus want of me in this situation.   What is your fear here-what really are you afraid of loosing in this situation, and what sort of satisfaction are you longing for?  How can the problem be remidied?   Can the remedy start within yourself in any way?

Perhaps your priest could use a hand with some of his duties that he himself doesn’t have to do but someone else like you could do? If he is seeing you in a wrong light, he might see you differently then, and might not be so quick to dismiss you. Do it only for the sake of Christ Jesus though… not for any spirit that might say in your heart smitefully “See I told you so”.

Be patient. It could be that with this situation occurring, God wants you to pray about the situation and think it over, and be blessed with a gem of wisdom.

May God bless you abundantly.

In your “vocation struggle” thread you mention having schizophrenia. Is it under control? By that, I mean manageable? Then you mention marriage. Have you found someone you want to marry? Does she want to get married? Does your priest know about her?

Perhaps you should speak to a Catholic psychologist as well.

And, on a separate note. And I mean this with no disrespect intended, but what does a parish priest do all day? The answer might help put all of this in perspective for everyone, especially those who have limited contact with their priest.


Let’s do the math here:

*]One priest works, for argument’s sake, 12 hours a day, six days a week. That’s 72 hours or 4,320 minutes per week.
*]His parish has 2,000 families. Let’s also assume only the adults seek him out for guidance. That’s 4,000 people he’s guiding.
*]Each parishioner needs to see him once a month. If he gives each parishioner one minute of his time, he’s providing individual guidance more than 93% of his working time.
*]In the remaining seven percent of the time, which is a little more than five hours, he’s hearing confessions, saying Mass, administering Last Rites, writing his homilies, organizing and saying wedding and funeral Masses, doing administrative work by the boatload, going to the various and sundry meetings he’s needed in, and doing God knows what all else is required of a priest in 2012.

Does this seem reasonable to you? If it doesn’t, you should not be complaining.

Before my husband and I married we met with our parish priest three times. Once to get the ball rolling, so to speak, and to reserve the date and pay for the use of the church. The second time we went over the results of our pre-marital questionnaire, and the third time we completed the pre-marital investigation and gave him our preferences for Mass readings and the bessing. Each time we met with him for no more than 20 minutes. Two of those three meetings were on Saturday nights because that was the only time available to the poor guy.

If you’re not getting what you need from your priest, find a spiritual director, someone who can carve out regular blocks of time for you.


Now, I feel guilty. . . :blush:
I’ve always known they were quite busy and had little free time, but after looking at the way you broke down their time- wow!

My priest is very generous and patient with his time.

I need to do something nice for him or find a thank you gift!

I didn’t intend to make anyone feel guilty, my friend. What I’ve seen of today’s priests they’re someone of the busiest, most in demand, people I’ve encountered. And many of them are stretched beyond thin. What I continually find amazing is how calm and un-hurried they appear. If I did what they do day in and day out I’d be frazzled in under a week. :frighten:


My advice: make an appointment with the priest and talk to him, face to face. You can do it.

God bless you.

Thank you, I am very grateful for all the wisdom. I am a rather oversensitive and self-focused person. And my parish priest is very Christlike during confession, and it is true that I can only imagine how busy he is. Like I said I think the Devil has been trying to inflate my ego. I have been praying for humility and will continue to do so. I have been trying to find a spiritual director and hopefully I will find one soon. As far as my mental health issues, they are relatively stable aside from some depression.

I will definitely not go to the bishop, and God help me if I gossip with anyone about him (I only put it in those words because gossip is so easy to do, but I am pretty sure I will be able to persevere in that). And I will most definitely remember him in my prayers.

Hi Job. I have a similar situation. My spiritual director is not nurturing or even kind sometimes. But the advice I receive is absolutely spot-on. I contrast this with a former Catholic friend who was the opposite. She was very friendly and kind and nurturing, but ultimately proved to be a destructive force in my life.

I recognize and accept this lesson that God is trying to give me.

I understand how you feel. Lean on God.

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