If a Pastor Asks you to Lie, What should you do?

If a Pastor sidesteps appropriate channels (bylaws), asks you to step down from Pastoral Council, and tells you to lie about it to say that it was your decision, what would you do?

If one steps down from any position rather than opting to being fired it is his or her decision to do so.

So, if one doesn’t step down, there is no lie to be told.

Why are you being asked to step down? Why is he sidestepping appropriate channels?

ETA: I saw your other thread. In this instance, no I would not lie when asked why. In fact, I would write a letter to the pastor regarding his request and cc the Bishop. You should not be dismissed from the Pastoral Council when you were in fact trying to fulfill one of the duties of pastoral council (correcting incorrect catechesis).

I left a parish when the priest lied to me about how money was going to be appropriated for a building campaign, and then lied about telling me what he told me.

It’s a face-saving thing for you, like when someone is about to be fired and is given the opportunity to resign.

Time to let it go.


See my other thread entitled “dismissed” to answer those questions. This question is an ethical and moral dilemma.

The way I responded to his request was not to lie (one of disobedience) and to actually send an email to the other PC members of an analogy of being pruned by the Pastor in the vineyard.

The analogy worked quite well and I didn’t get many questions…just congratulation for handling it that way. I was just wondering how others would handle it.

Am I naiive? I’m sorry, but I was shocked at being asked to lie about anything by a Pastor. They are suppose to be in the business of providing sound spiritual guidance, and helping sinners to conversion.

I would have to agree with those who have responded that if your pastor has asked you to step down, and if you chose to step down, then it was your decision. That is not a lie.

If you believe that your are being unjustly treated, then do not step down. This is not a matter of obedience. Your pastor is giving you a choice- to step down and say that it was your decision or to go through the appropriate channels. The choice is yours.

I think you are right!!!

***Hello :wave:

I read your other thread, that coincides with this…I agree with others that if someone asks you to resign, for whatever the reason, that is the ‘option’ other than letting you go, dismissal, etc.

There is nothing wrong however, with telling people, that it wasn’t your idea…and if they probe, to give some background as to why you were asked to step down. I wouldn’t cause gossip or scandal with this**…ONLY IF SOMEONE ASKS YOU…would I tell what happened. I wouldn’t let it eat awat at your joy, though. There are times when we might not agree with how a parish handles a certain situation, but we should never lose our hope in Christ over it. *

The reason you were asked to step down, was because you had a disagreement with interpretation of the Catechism.
In asking you to step down, your pastor is giving you the option of telling people that you chose to step down rather than being told to. He is not asking you to lie, he is offering you a chance to save face.
The fact that you then sent an email reinforces the reason your pastor asked you to step down. HE is right, you are wrong and you can’t seem to admit it.

Again, your pastor didn’t ask you to lie. Like someone else said, you were offered the chance to step down, that makes it your decision. He could have just told you to leave, then let everyone know that you refuse to listen to him. :shrug:

Resigning to save face (when the alternative is dismissal) is not lying.

I presume that some kind of paper trail is necessary in order that you leave the Pastoral Council, no matter whose decision it is that you leave. Unless some kind of paperwork has *officially *put you off the council then technically you are still on it.

It’s your choice. Resign and make leaving your decision. Or don’t resign and force the pastor to do whatever it is he needs to do to get you off.

In any case, trying to find new reasons to be upset with this pastor is not going to of much value to either you or the parish.

if you decide to accept his ultimatum and resign it will be your decision, so it will not be a lie. you will have to pick your battles and decide if you can do more good by fighting, or by withdrawing. I would counsel you to avoid at all costs any confrontation that will bring divisiveness and bitterness to the parish, even though you feel you will not be the cause, but merely the means, by which it is expressed.

You seem so hurt and so angry and so “out to get” the pastor that I fear you are losing perspective on this matter. Sometimes we just have to let go . . . I hope you find peace.

There hasn’t been any gossip or scandal created. It all has been very private with the exception of the fact that he told others I stepped down, and the fact that I gave the analogy of the vineyard, and being pruned.

In fact, I asked others not to question his decision (it would only cause them to be unsettled, and possibly threaten their relationship with the Pastor.)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems you tried to make a black-and-white case with the bishop that the pastor was OK with someone teaching that masturbation is OK within marriage without recognizing that manual stimulation, even self-stimulation, IS allowed as a part of morally-acceptable marital relations, and that many people incorrectly call that masturbation. If the teacher was not bluntly saying that intercourse need not be the desired end, then that interpretation could be believed. Believing that something is not confusing when it is, or believing that the correction could cause more confusion than the original statement, is not quite the same as teaching error, after all.

I think you’ve gotten good advice. If the pastor asked you to be discrete about accepting his request to step down, saying only that it was your decision to step down but not asking you to fabricate any other explanation, that was not wrong and might even be in the interest of prudence. If he asked you to represent a fabrication as a fact, that is not warranted under the circumstances–we may not represent fabrication as fact except under grave circumstances when discretion will not suffice–and you should refuse to do it. That does not prevent you from simply keeping your mouth closed about it.

If you leave your parish, resolve to leave under good terms. Do what is necessary to let go of the situation, perhaps asking your pastor if he could talk to you about the situation, with that end as a goal. If you have been on good terms in the past and this is a one-time thing, that might do the trick. If you have handled this badly in any way you can think of, apologize for that. It is always good to apologize if you are wrong, even if you aren’t the most wrong. (Many marriages have been saved by that maxim.)

If he will not or if he seems not to care, then work at forgiving him and receive the sacraments elsewhere until you can. It is humility to forgive those who have harmed us but not asked for pardon. Short of that, it is commendable to bite our tongues and avoid those for whom we bear a grudge.

To your original question: I don’t know if it is proper for a pastor to ask someone who complains to the bishop to step down, as was done with you, considering that it gives the appearance of retaliation. Another pastor in the diocese probably would. You could even ask your vicar of clergy (who absolutely does know the answer to that question), if it is possible to do so without automatically blowing the whistle on your pastor. You don’t want to make a bad situation worse, but you also don’t want to simply submit to inappropriate means of pastoral discipline. If you decide to pursue it at all, it would be far better to anonymously find out the answer, and then approach your pastor about it privately first. If he is in the wrong, it is more charitable to give him the opportunity the right the situation discretely, than to bring the whole weight of the Church down on him as a first response. Again, a pastor in the diocese or the vicar of clergy could tell you how the matter should theoretically be handled.

Thou shalt not lie.
and there are no 'unless" statments that I can see.

Thank you-your one sentence straight from God helped!

True, IF the pastor had asked you to lie. Since it doesn’t sound like he did, you really didn’t need an answer from God.

The pastor would not have asked you to resign from the Parish Council unless he has found you difficult to work with.

Something tells me that the story you told in your thread DISMISSED is NOT the first disagreement you two have had.

Dear Easter Joy,
Thank you for your response. Since I’ve been struggling with this issue since Easter week, today I came to the conclusion to inform the vicar of clergy for the Diocese.
There were too many things handled carelessly, which did feel like retaliation, that I just didn’t feel able to handle. It has been very difficult because I love this Parish and the Pastor.

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