How do I talk to my Priest?


#1

I'm dealing with some family issues. Mainly, severe anger and resentment towards my husband. I finally gained the courage to reach out and talk to my priest, but I keep canceling the meetings. I'm sure he's about to give up on me. I just don't want to ruin the appearance of a "happy little young family". Not even to my priest. Besides that, I don't think I could get the words out. I have wrote a letter, or mainly just rambling thoughts in my head on what is wrong. Do you think I can just say "here, read this..." :)


#2

I wouldn’t do the letter. Have you considered simply using a confessional wth a curtain?


#3

I’m a new catholic - 2 years. And you know, I’ve looked around the church and I honestly don’t know where it is. It’s not like in the movies… I still wouldn’t know what to do or say. I know him and he knows me and I should probably just talk to him. Nah, I’ll probably just blow it off and say “Nevermind, I’m okay” the next time I see him. Geez.


#4

While your priest has probably finally gotten his office cleaned out with all of the blocks of time you've opened up for him in his schedule, it is time to make an appointment and keep it. He is not going to be surprised to find your little family has its issues. You may even be surprised to find out that you are not so far from happiness as you think.

Priests know what psychologists know, that the definition of a dysfunctional family is this: A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it. Even the Holy Family found a way to inadvertently let their 12-year-old loose in a major city!

Parish priests also do not give up the chance to have a wife and family of their own in order to ride herd on a bunch of people who only need them to show up on Saturdays for confession, Sundays for Mass, a burial here, a wedding Mass there, and to sit on umpteen committees. If they only wanted to pray and do quiet work, they'd be in a monastery, not a parish. While the aptitude differs from one to another, I don't know any priests who don't want to be there to be a discrete someone who can help you make your marriage and family life better.

Yes, writing is a good way to sort out your feelings. Even if your priest never reads it, it will help you sort out what you want to say. I would go so far as to suggest that you pray, write awhile, then read what you've written, and then pray again, every day between now and when you get a chance to talk to your pastor. Be careful, though, to put these writings in a journal or other place that is clearly private, so that no one not meant to read it will read it.

Do talk to someone who is knowledgeable, discrete, and caring. I'd start with your pastor. If he is not as helpful as you would like, the chances are good that he can suggest a counselor you might want to try, instead. (And no, do not worry that this is an insult to him. He wants you to find the person(s) who will be of help.)


#5

[quote="lebe, post:3, topic:226865"]
I'm a new catholic - 2 years. And you know, I've looked around the church and I honestly don't know where it is. It's not like in the movies... I still wouldn't know what to do or say. I know him and he knows me and I should probably just talk to him. Nah, I'll probably just blow it off and say "Nevermind, I'm okay" the next time I see him. Geez.

[/quote]

Do you know the old joke about the man who needed a jack? He was driving on this remote road, you see, and his car got a flat tire. This is when he discovered he was miles from anywhere with no phone (and no cell phone coverage), and had only a spare, but no jack! He berated himself: "How could I be so foolish! Now what?!" Then he remembered having passed a solitary farmhouse. Thinking the farmer might be home and have a jack he could borrow, he began to walk that way.

On his way, he began to worry that the farmer would not be willing to help him. Then what would he do? And why should this farmer help a total stranger? He might be afraid of him, he might have had too much experience with stupid city people who are too foolish to carry a jack, for crying out loud. "Why do people have to be like that? All I need is a jack. It was an honest mistake. That is so petty..." And so his thinking went, getting more and more pessimistic and more and more upset by the step.

Finally, he reached the farmer's front porch. He knocked on the door, and the farmer immediately came to see who might be there. Before he could say a word, though, the motorist was already storming off! "FINE!" yelled the man with the flat. "BE THAT WAY! Don't help me, then! You can KEEP your d@#ned jack!"

Don't get so stirred up that you can't ask for help. Maybe your pastor isn't the right person for you, but do talk to someone. Maybe there is no one who can "fix it" for you, but even Our Lord had his Simon of Cyrene to take a little of the load off, his Veronica to wipe his brow. Our Lord's example shows that we are meant to accept help when we are in an hour of need.

This is really not a situation for the confessional. Even if you were going to confession (and this is almost surely more than that), if you have a lot to say and need some serious advice, it is courteous to those who sit in line for scheduled confession times to save lengthy conversations with your pastor for private appointments, if it can be arranged at all. If not, they can just cool their jets, but if you can get a private time and have more than 5 minutes of talking to do, do everyone a favor and make an appointment.

Some people are too socially involved or work too closely with their own pastor to feel comfortable talking to him. That is fine. Go to another parish and make an appointment talk to the pastor there. They are all fine with that. You can also look up a retired priest, if you know one, and ask if he'd be willing to talk to you. Most of them retire to because they don't have the energy for the daily grind, not because they have tired of helping people. Or find some discrete person with pastoral experience other than a priest. Whatever. Find someone and talk. You need that.


#6

This website for Catholic marriage counseling might be of help to you:

retrouvaille.org/

P.S. Have you and your husband considered monthly reconciliation to deal with both of your emotions, etc?

catholicparents.org/oxcart/Examination%20of%20Conscience.pdf


#7

[quote="lebe, post:3, topic:226865"]
I'm a new catholic - 2 years. And you know, I've looked around the church and I honestly don't know where it is. It's not like in the movies... I still wouldn't know what to do or say. I know him and he knows me and I should probably just talk to him. Nah, I'll probably just blow it off and say "Nevermind, I'm okay" the next time I see him. Geez.

[/quote]

Welcome to the Catholic Church! You can call your parish office and ask where the confessional is. Sometimes they are located in weird places. You could also try another parish if you aren't comfortable using your own priest for whatever reason.

I don't know any details of your family issues, but resentment and anger (even if justifiable) against your husband are something that I would bring to the Confessional. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the gifts that Jesus left for us in His Church to bring us His grace and healing. Maybe you want more specific counseling to your situation, (and it's fine if you do) but if you are a new Catholic and haven't been to the Sacrament of Reconciliation since you came into the Church two years ago, it's time to find the location of that Confessional!


#8

[quote="lebe, post:3, topic:226865"]
I'm a new catholic - 2 years. And you know, I've looked around the church and I honestly don't know where it is. It's not like in the movies... I still wouldn't know what to do or say. I know him and he knows me and I should probably just talk to him. Nah, I'll probably just blow it off and say "Nevermind, I'm okay" the next time I see him. Geez.

[/quote]

Welcome home to the Church! "Be not afraid".....to talk to the priest. He is ready and willing to hear you....that is one of the reasons why he became a priest. Do not be concerned about being seen as a dysfunctional family.........I believe that only the Holy Family was truly functional! :) We are all fallen people and have many stories and sharings to give about what happens in our families.

Please avail yourself of the wonderful blessings of the confessional! It is a Sacrament to us from the Lord, and inasmuch as we are open, we receive.

I will say a prayer for you right now....

Dorothy


#9

Hang in there. I actually had the opposite issue. I had reached a point, like you, where I really felt a need to talk. I approached my Pastor through e-mail and asked him to call me so we could set up a date. After exchanging several e-mails, chatting after mass, and me cancelling 2-3 times because my husband had to work, and I didn't have alternative child care, I started to think that God was telling me not to open this door. What I realized is that it wasn't God putting up the road blocks, but Satan. It took 6mths, but we eventually got to sit down together and I have been seeing him1x a month for 7mths now.

It is truly the hardest thing I ever had to do. It is very hard to open up and confide in someone else. Coming to mass and knowing that he knew all my "secrets" was also very hard, but I truly look forward to our monthly chats.

All I can say to you is, hang in there. If I hadn't started these conversations with my Pastor I would most likely be seperated from my husband and drinking heavily by now.

Know that God is guiding you to you Pastor for help and intercession in your struggles. Trust in him and know that things will be better once you start talking about them.


#10

Thank you Maureen1125. That’s exactly what I needed. I hadn’t really looked at it that way. I feel like I’m “chickening” out. It’s not even that - I’ve - been canceling. Things have just been coming up so I can’t make it and have to cancel. I too have small children, and don’t really want to tell my husband “hey, I need to go talk to the priest about you, can you stay home and I’ll be right back.”

I was pushed to a point that made me realize, hey I need to talk to someone. That particular day I had signs all over pointing me to my priest. VERY weird!!! Either I get them all the time and ignore them, or I just finally saw them. 3 months ago during one of my deepest points, I swear I saw a shadow of Mary in my son’s room. It was really the bottle of lotion and hand sanitizer, but in the dark I couldn’t stop staring at it. It’s the ONLY thing that got me through those long nights.

I too have noticed that a drink or 2 helps. It’s the first thing I grab when I get home. Not that I’m against having a drink, but when you yourself notice that’s the first thing that you grab when you get home just to make it through the evening, geez…here I go.

I just don’t want to go crying to the priest because “boo boo, I’m doing all the work and my husband isn’t helping out”. I’ve just gotten pushed to the point where I’m completely resentful and taking my anger out on my children. That’s what made me stop and think I HAVE to fix this.

As far as confession. I went during RCIA because it was required. Even then, I had NO idea what to confess…and what I did confess wasn’t a sin supposedly. Geez, so I told him something I didn’t even have to!! ****. I do admit, it took a weight off my chest. So, confession, I don’t know how, when, what. My husband is catholic and he doesn’t go to confession. I don’t want to become all “churchy” on him and start being a true convert. But I suppose my faith is mine, no one can take that away from me and I shouldn’t care what others think including my husband. I don’t know what’s happening to me, but within the last 6 months, I’m teaching religious elementary classes, I’m on a committee, volunteered for the youth group and I’m listening to a christian radio station. It makes me feel good inside and calms my nerves. Do I hide it like an alcoholic would hide drinking, yes I do (well the radio station part, can’t really hide all the volunteering).

Hmmm, I’m working on it…


#11

Hmm, the stars weren't a curse word but that does look bad. Sorry.


#12

This is all very normal in marriage and I can guarantee that he’s heard it all before. He is there to help you. He wants to help you. He has been setting up meetings for you with a lot of patience. He wants you to come and see him and I bet he has been praying for you to see him too.

As for taking anger out on the children…many many mothers have been there too. All very normal…what is very important however, is to not let this anger become a habit. Your children are children…they bug; yell; throw; interrupt…that’s what they do…they are not the best listeners…that’s for sure :wink:


#13

[quote="lebe, post:10, topic:226865"]
I too have small children, and don't really want to tell my husband "hey, I need to go talk to the priest about you, can you stay home and I'll be right back." ...

[/quote]

Why not? Shouldn't your husband be the first one to know that you need to talk to someone? Shouldn't he know that this resentment has been building? He should be there to support you, why keep him in the dark? And I wouldn't view it as talking to the priest about your husband, you'll be talking to your priest about both of you.

The next logical step to this will be joint counseling or perhaps retrovaille. He is a part of this too and needs to be aware of it. Otherwise you'll be telling him afterwards, I think it would be better to tell him up front.

Just my .02 as a guy.


#14

[quote="lebe, post:10, topic:226865"]
Thank you Maureen1125. That's exactly what I needed. I hadn't really looked at it that way. I feel like I'm "chickening" out. It's not even that - I've - been canceling. Things have just been coming up so I can't make it and have to cancel. I too have small children, and don't really want to tell my husband "hey, I need to go talk to the priest about you, can you stay home and I'll be right back."

I was pushed to a point that made me realize, hey I need to talk to someone. That particular day I had signs all over pointing me to my priest. VERY weird!!! Either I get them all the time and ignore them, or I just finally saw them. 3 months ago during one of my deepest points, I swear I saw a shadow of Mary in my son's room. It was really the bottle of lotion and hand sanitizer, but in the dark I couldn't stop staring at it. It's the ONLY thing that got me through those long nights.

I too have noticed that a drink or 2 helps. It's the first thing I grab when I get home. Not that I'm against having a drink, but when you yourself notice that's the first thing that you grab when you get home just to make it through the evening, geez...here I go.

I just don't want to go crying to the priest because "boo boo, I'm doing all the work and my husband isn't helping out". I've just gotten pushed to the point where I'm completely resentful and taking my anger out on my children. That's what made me stop and think I HAVE to fix this.

As far as confession. I went during RCIA because it was required. Even then, I had NO idea what to confess...and what I did confess wasn't a sin supposedly. Geez, so I told him something I didn't even have to!! ****. I do admit, it took a weight off my chest. So, confession, I don't know how, when, what. My husband is catholic and he doesn't go to confession. I don't want to become all "churchy" on him and start being a true convert. But I suppose my faith is mine, no one can take that away from me and I shouldn't care what others think including my husband. I don't know what's happening to me, but within the last 6 months, I'm teaching religious elementary classes, I'm on a committee, volunteered for the youth group and I'm listening to a christian radio station. It makes me feel good inside and calms my nerves. Do I hide it like an alcoholic would hide drinking, yes I do (well the radio station part, can't really hide all the volunteering).

Hmmm, I'm working on it...

[/quote]

You're not going to talk to your pastor about your husband. You're going to talk about you. That may include talking about how you interact with your husband, of course. Still, you can only change you, not your husband, and Father can't change your husband, either!

Keep trying. Apologize to your pastor when you see him for having to cancel your previous appointments, explain the problems you've been having trying to get a time to talk to him, and let him know that you do want to see him. As Maureen1125 pointed out, you aren't alone.

Talk to your pastor about the benefits of going to confession every month or so and how to go about examining your conscience. Confession is itself a help in the formation of conscience. IOW, since lesser sins are wiped away by receiving Holy Communion at Mass, one of the reasons to confess venial (lesser) sins at all is to have a chance to ask grace to form your conscience, for the Holy Spirit to teach you, partly via the priest's advice, what is and isn't a sin and what does and doesn't work when it comes to advancing in virtue and weeding out our vices.


#15

[quote="lebe, post:1, topic:226865"]
I'm I just don't want to ruin the appearance of a "happy little young family". Not even to my priest.

[/quote]

I think it can be a lot like asking "when and how do I talk to my doctor"--when the pain we are enduring becomes worse than the imagined pain of the conversation with the professional who can help us. When you want to address the problem, more than you want to preserve appearances, then you will be ready to seek help, nobody but you can say how long that will take. Tip: people who know you will see through the facade a lot sooner than you think.


#16

Like I said, I have been talking with my Pastor for about 7 mths now and my husband doesn’t know. He is really nosy and if I tell him, he will want to know what we talk about and honfestly, I can’t tell him without ending my marriage in the process.

My Pastor and I have very frank discussions, many about sex, pornography, lust, masturbation and adultery…so I can assure you, while the conversation may not be easy, there really isn’t anything you can’t talk about or that will shock a seasoned priest. I would almost LOVE to sit down with a newbie and scare the **** out of him with the **** I have done and discussed with my Pastor…lol I know that is so wrong, but hey, they have to start somewhere…right?

I struggled with drinking as a teen and quit for a long time. Then as a young adult I started drinking socially but never at home. Now I do both and I do feel like I am walking a very thin line between control and out of control. I think, once I get my other issues under control, I will “need” the nightly beer less and less and I will go back to drinking only socially.

I have been wanting to go to confession since October and {I know I am making excuses} but my parishes only offer confession on Saturday afternoons and that is a hard time for me to get out of the house. My Pastor has offered to hear my confession during our talks but I really want to keep the 2 things seperate. I know that sounds silly, since he already knows all my secrets. I actually just e-mailed a priest at a neighboring parish to see about coming to confession following morning mass during the week and I was going to do that this morning, but Monday is adoration at this parish, so there were alot of people around and I just wasn’t comfortable even asking. So, I guess I will be going to alot of morning masses this week until I can get to confession.


#17

Do you think it might be easier to get the other problems under control if you stopped drinking? It is harder to control urges when under the influence of alcohol.

If it is going to be a long confession, you might want to schedule one with the priest.


#18

ARGH!! I bailed! I bailed! I bailed again!!!!!

I had emailed asking for a meeting after our committee meeting tonight. He said he had a conflict and may not be there. He was there, late but there. I couldn't hold eye contact worth ****. I did mull around a little after the meeting, he never looked at me or showed interest in talking with me, so I left. I took my sweet time leaving and walking to my car. Got in my car. Sat there. Tried to pull myself back in. Couldn't do it. Just sat there. Saw him go down to his office, probably to see if I was there. I wasn't. I drove off. How pathetic. To keep asking for help and then refusing it when it's offered. I am a horrible person. In his email he offered me 2 other times to talk this week. At this point I want to say eff it. I am not going to follow through with this.

As for my husband being in on this. Screw it. I tried. I went balling to him to tell him how stress I am and how I feel like I do everything while he watches tv. I'm tired. I'm so tired and frustrated and resentful and angry. He got defensive, yelled at me and told me he didn't realize we were keeping score. How the hell am I supposed to have a conversation with that. Eff it. I'll just keep my mouth shut. Let this blow over. Suck it up and move the H on.


#19

Ok, here's an interesting twist to the night. I've been getting an odd feeling about my husband's behavor lately. Thought it was mostly from me being moody and this whole needing to go talk to my priest about my anger/resentment towards him. Unfortunately, from past experiences I've learned how to track my husbands internet sites and just uncovered 100s of downloaded porn images and videos. I'm absolutely devastated. I can't even breathe. And here I was feeling selfish and boo hooing for not getting any help. How much of a played idiot do I feel like.


#20

crazy what this site *** out. my word was "c r a p"...lol

I am so sorry about the downloads that you found. Porn was normal in our home, and honestly I was the one who bought all of it. I used to think it was "cool". Until Father shared The Theology of the Body with me, I had no idea how backwards so much of my thinking was. If you havn't listened to these CD's find a set. They are incredibly powerful and had me in tears multiple times.

I really urge you not to give up. Like I said before, I was just like you. I wanted Father to come and seek me out and I felt like I was being a pest begging him for appointments and then cancelling. I eventually decided I would make myself available at whatever time he had and it turned out to be 4pm...well I don't get off work until 4:30, but since it was only 1x a month, I simply told my boss at the beginning of the week, on Thursday I need to leave 1 hour early, so I will skip lunch, and it worked out fine. It took 6mths for me to finally get that 1st appointment and keep it, and I was sick to my stomach all day, but I felt so so so much better afterwards. We set our next appt. before I even leave his office, and I really look forward to our talks.

I have come a very long way in a very short amount of time and part of that is not wanting to disappoint him, but another part is that I feel so much better just knowing that I have someone to hold my hand (figuratively) and help guide me. We both know and accept that I will stumble and fall, but I also know that having Father to talk to will keep me from giving up.

Hang in there and if need be, we are always here for you. Pray for guidance. God is directing you to your parish Priest and he will not fail you


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