To start, this topic is a strange one and so I didn’t know where to place it. If the moderators feel this is in the wrong section I apologize and am fine with it being moved somewhere else.
This is the situation:
When my mother began to practice the faith again after many years away from the Church and the Sacraments she began a friendship with one of the priests at her local parish. She would regularly have him over for coffee to chat and to help her with spiritual problems or questions, etc. Recently however this priest has left the priesthood. When she asked him about why he decided to do something so drastic he simply told her that he felt that God was leading him elsewhere.
He will be coming over to visit my mother tomorrow afternoon. I happen to be home for Christmas break from college. I don’t know what to do as regards this “ex-priest” visiting. I have prayed for him and asked God to show him that abandoning the priesthood and his flock was wrong and that he should repent. But I don’t know what to do as regards interacting with this man? Should I make plans to be out of the house when he visits so that I don’t risk offending anyone and don’t have to worry about where the conversation leads? Or should I stay and politely side-step the elephant in the room? Or should I actually try to engage him about his leaving the priesthood? If so, how should I go about this?
My mother is fond of this man (and to avoid it before it even comes up, she is fond of him in a platonic way not in any romantic sense). She has been defensive of him when others have been critical of his leaving the priesthood. She is more willing to hear me out regarding my concerns, but she doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of his decision. So on one hand I don’t want to offend my mother and on the other hand I don’t want this man to intentionally or unintentionally put any doubts about the faith in her mind, etc.
Ok, well that was a rather long rant. Sorry for that. I’m just having difficultly knowing how to balance being charitable with being true. I knew this priest since my mother began going to this parish and his departure left me feeling hurt too (even though I go to a different parish). Sadly, in retrospect I can see that I should not have been surprised that he abandoned the priesthood.
Oh, I nearly forgot. Of additional concern to me is that my mother has told me he no longer lists himself as being Catholic on his facebook profile page. I don’t know his reasoning for doing this. I hope it isn’t that he’s abandoned the Church altogether.