I do not know where to turn. I do not know what I should do.
I have great concern for my parish priest. I believe he suffers from a severe personality disorder, and I worry that his inability to get help with it is going to have long term impacts on his future as a successful Catholic priest, and the people of the parish who have had to endure under the severe stress his problem has created.
My pastor has all characteristics of the narcissistic personality disorder as outlined by the DSM-IV. I cannot describe in detail for you all the many interactions that I, and others, have shared with him that lead me to that conclusion, but they are many and widespread. As parishioners and pastorate leaders have drifted away, he has begun to lose control, lashing out at others for various reasons. Every member of the parish staff has been released or has found other work on their own. Those now in those positions seem to exist in a state of perpetual fear of upsetting the pastor and drawing his wrath. We are on our third Catholic school principal since he arrived five years ago, and now must replace a Director of Faith Formation he forced out. A recent pastoral council meeting began with the pastor demanding no minutes be kept, then continued by publicly excoriating a former member of the council who was no longer present (her term ended) in a 20 minute, personal rant because she had asked questions about a proposed budget. He claims he does not know who to trust, that everyone is against him, that evil is at work here. We have often received missives of this sort in emails that are wholly inappropriate for anyone, much less someone with pastoral responsibilities. He has used intimidation tactics and bullying to force others to come into line. It has alienated parish leaders, staff, and individual parishioners who have had the misfortune of dealing with it.
I have struggled with how to deal with this issue for a long time. I feel I have a responsibility to act, to speak with him—and nearly have on several occasions–but fear the rage that would follow. I do not know how to go about it. How do you convince a man who believes he is an ideal priest that he is not? It is complicated by the fact that he has spoken from the pulpit about dealing with issues of depression and anxiety at different times in his life. I do not want to make matters harder for him! Clearly, an evaluation by a licensed psychologist and experienced counselor would be better, but I do not know how to help him take that first step.