My Handling of my Parish Problems


#1

Note: this thread is not meant to complain about my parish; it’s meant to assess my handlo of the issues.

So some of you may have read the many threads abou my parish problems. I mostly focused on the liturgical issues (some are legitimate issues, others weren’t) but my RCIA process was incredibly unorthodox (calling God “it” twice, pro women ordination, liberation theology, and gay marriage). Since then I had been trying to deal with the problems. In my meetings with the priest I ended up selecting him as my confessor and I thus gave up my looking into the problems. I chose to trust him with the rest. Then I became irrated with him and the problems began to bother me again. As a result, I began investigating things again. I eventually stopped my self because I was unhappy with my new motives. I wanted to try to solve these out of love, concern, and with dread for having such conversations (like I was when I started); I didn’t want irritation or frustration to have any part in it.

So I stopped, until I was bothered again by my confession advice. I went through the same process (it involves mostly research and being consumed with frustration). This time, after stopping me self, I decided it would be best for me to change parishes and find a new confessor. I would leave the parish how it is because I didn’t trust my self to adequately do Amything about it. That was until I ran into contact with someone who had access to the bishop. I was trying to resist asking about some of the problems. And I was succeeding until he said something I really liked. At that moment I gave in. Luckily, while one of the things was wrong, it was nothing they’d do anything about.

So how wrong were my actions? I’d like to talk to a priest about this, but I ddon’t want this to be one of my first conversations with a new priest. Like wise I don’t like the idea of mentioning them to my for confessor.


#2

Frankly, I’m totally lost by what you have said!


#3

Sorry about that; thanks for telling me. Hopefully this helped, I’m not sure though because I’m struggling to keep my thoughts straight. And sorry for the length; this is the culmination of a year and a half of my life and so being short is hard.

Basically my parish of confirmation was very unorthodox. Mainly the staff; the priest seemed fine. My RCIA teachers supported women’s ordination, gay marriage, and liberation theology (one article we read was drenched with references to it). They even called God “it” in one lesson and they treated the Church like another denomination. When one of the sponsors received the anointing of the sick my whole class gathered around him and layed our hands on him (during the sacrament). The head of our social justice committee is also in favor of gay marriage and she is very vocal about the need for women priests. There were also liturgical things that bothered me (for example the priest very clearly omits the word “men” from the creed and he once said that he was about to do something unorthodox (at Mass) and followed with a sarcastic remark about it being unusual for him).

After RCIA I chose to bring these things to our pastor (minus the liturgical issues). At this point my motives were good. After our first meeting, he agreed that my teachers were wrong. Still I saw no changes and he said something during a Mystagogy class that bothered me. I was planning on leaving the parish, but I cared for the people so I met with him again. This time I was more specific (and included a brief reference to the beliefs of the head of the social justice committee) and he said he would talk to them. This was my last attpt to fox the parish (as in actually doing something productive).

During these meetings I chose him as my confessor. Well eventually he said things that bothered me and so I became frustrated by the fact that I had not noticed any improvements at the parish. As a result, these problems mixed with my frustration with the priest. And so I began looking into these things again, but I stopped when I noticed that my motives were no longer good.

More recently he said more things, in the confessional, that bothered me. Again my parish problems came back. I tried not to return to looking into them and trying to solve them. I still no longer trusted my motives. The problem is that I came into contact with someone who has access to my bishop. He actually has some responsibility for dealing with similar issues. I tried to resist asking him about some of these things, but then he said something I really liked. I could no longer resist and so I asked him. I don’t and didn’t trust my motives for doing this. I did it in a vague way and the things I mentioned weren’t big enough to warrant any intervention (I was unaware of this at the time). So the priest won’t be getting in trouble.

The last part is what bothers me. I gave into temptation and my actions were no longer about love for the parishioners, but I believe frustration with the priest was the cause. And so I’m curious about what others think of my actions.


#4

Since that was long; here’s a super short version. Basically there are a lot of problems at my parish. After I was confirmed I tried to fix them. At first my intent was good. I was working out of love for the community. Meanwhile I chose the pastor of that parish as my confessor. Well eventually he said some things that bothered me and others that were hard to follow. This caused me to become frustrated with the fact that I hadn’t seen any improvements at my parish. Due to this I began picking apart what I saw in Mass and read at the bulletin hoping to find unorthodoxy (these were the only things I had the time to investigate). My investigation became less like a dreaded obligation and more like a game. Eventually, I mentioned some of the problems to someone who I knew could bring these things to the bishop. My frustration with my priest/confessor was the cause of my renewed attempts to solve/investigation into the issues at my parish. So my question is: how wrong were my actions and what should I do about this problem with my attitude?


#5

If there really are things going on at RCIA with leaders saying women should be ordained and gay marriage is okay and you have brought this to the attention of your priest and he allows such teaching to continue then I would say its appropriate to take it further and contact the bishop. Are there any other people you know there who would support your claims if you report this to the bishop? Its always to good to either have documented evidence or at least others who will back you.
As for what is happening during Mass you haven’t said what your actual concerns are so its hard to comment. Many people think abuses have taken place that are not abuses at all so it would be helpful if you could give some examples of what concerns you.

As for your attitude the answer is prayer and complete surrender to God.


#6

Since this will again be long, I guess I’ll start with explaining the liturgical/sacramental issues. I’m sorry for the length. I hope you have the time to read it; I do appreciate feedback.

The only consistent one is that the priest very clearly omits the word “men” from the creed. The rest are seasonal. On Christmas, after the Gospel, he invites all of the kids to sit around the alter and he reads them a story. It then plays a significantly large role in the homily. This is kind of cute, but last Christmas it was also kind of distracting. During Holy Thursday after the priest washes the feet of twelve people, they then each wash the feet of another person. Those people then continue the process. This goes on until everyone who wants their feet washed has done so. Lastly, the Easter vigil Mass had some strange things. The first reading was broken up by a song about the passage of time. It was also worded slightly different from the one in the lectionary. The reading from Exodus was interrupted every paragraph or so by loud clapping. Following the clapping the canticle was sung (the one that normally goes at the end of the reading). The next reading was read by two people (they’d alternate and sometimes they would read in unison). There was another reading that had two people. One stood in the back of the church and read God’s part and another stood at the ambo and read the rest.

There was one instance of irreverence where the priest announced (at Mass) that he was going to do something unorthodox. He followed it with a sarcastic comment about it being unusual for him.

In addition, I have one issue with how I saw the anointing of the sick performed. As the priest performed the sacrament we all gathered around and layed hands on the recipient.

My biggest problem with complaining to the bishop is that my pastor was bothered when I told him what the teachers support (back in July). I haven’t seen any changes; they still run RCIA and are the pastoral associates. Still, I don’t know if he privately talked to them. For me to go further I’d have to call the priest a lier. I’m not willing to do that without very clear proof. I love this priest and I’m not willing to wrongly accuse him. I know for a fact that he’s against gay marriage. He’s spoken against it and there were fliers about it in the parish.

I definitely know a person who would support my claims. There was one that I called after the last class. I explained these problems to her and she told me she was aware of them (she even brought up things I missed). The problem is that this person no longer wants to be involved. When I called her she wanted to meet with the priest. There was one other person she told me to call. In talking to him the purpose of the meeting changed. We also got a few more people involved. I thought this could have been a good idea. Well she became uncomfortable with it and the meeting fell apart. She encouraged me to meet with the pastor alone, but I felt like giving up. A few months later, I had an urge to try again and set up a meeting with our priest.

Well I guess this has changed from my original intent of discussing the morality of my actions.

About my attitude: you’re right and I’ll be sure to take your advice. My biggest fear is that if I continue with this attitude them I’ll be committing a mortal sin. Maybe this is an instance of my scruples colliding with legitimate issues.

Thanks, I appreciate your feedback.


#7

I just wanted to add this question: are the liturgical/ sacramental issues mentioned legitimate ossues.? Also am I being to picky/ falling into sin because of looking for these things?

Sorry these double posts, but this has bothered me for a year and I need to know if I need to leave the situation or have everything figured out so I can fix it.

Lastly, I know this may seem like the wrong sub forum, but I posted it here because I was less worried about whether or not these things are problems (I’m sure most of them are). My main concern was my moral culpability for acting in my current state. Everything that occurred at my parish was just meant to be background information.


#8

Why don’t you find a different priest to confess to and talk through everything with him and see what he advises. You are not bound to use the same priest every time.


#9

I know and I have found three great priests. One was actually the pastor of the parish i was fleeing to. I absolutely love him. And then the other two are also great (I talked to one of them about becoming my new confessor). I just have never been ale to forget this parish. I want to figure everything out and fix it. I’m upset knowimg what the next class and the next class will be taught. I just want to stop it. And then I wonder if my actions cross the line because I work hard to pursue this information. I get really picky. I guess that’s the problem. I can’t fix anything because trying to has been destroying me spiritually. I need to leave and pray that someone strong can do what I wanted to. Thanks for your replies. If you have any last feedback I’d appreciate it.


#10

What was the advice of the other priest you went to?


#11

I haven’t brought my parish problems to him yet. My first separation was brief and when I came back I ended up choosing that priest as my confessor. At that point I felt an obligation to let these things go. I’ve only just separated for the second time. So the advice was more about sins in general. I thought about talking to him about these things, but I’m scared that my first impressions were wrong. It took me five months (I had to wait this long before i could start RCIA) to find out my parish was unorthodox. And then almost another year( the length of RCIA) to find out extent of it. I kept saying at least they’re orthodox on this, at least on that.RCIA sadly brought out the worst in me. I struggle to trust people to be orthodox. I worry that I’ll either be told what I want to hear or get told I’m wrong. And im embarrassed to tell a priest these problems. But I have been thinking about making an appointment because this isn’t healthy.


#12

I really think you should talk to your priest as this all seems to be eating you up inside. He will help you.


#13

OK, I’ll do that as soon as possible. Now for a really stupid question: which priest should I meet with? Should I go to the one at the parish I’m having problems with, the one at the parish I kind of sort of fled to, or the one that I’m thinking about making my confessor?


#14

Its up to you but if you feel nothing has changed since you brought up the issues with the priest at the parish you are having problems with then talk to the new one but tell him everything so he knows how to advise you.


#15

That’s a good idea. The new priest already knows about me having a bad experience with RCIA (just a brief reference to it containg many forms of unorthodoxy) and has heard of some of my issues (nothing mentioned in this thread though). So it might actually be easy to explain the whole situation to him.


#16

Those in leadership roles should first of all be devout Catholics who know the teachings and values of the Catholic Church and do not stray from that. Also, it is important that the faith is passed on to the next generations and uphold our beliefs.
–I think that when you have an issue which needs to be brought to the Priest’s attention, or a question or concern you have that you want cleared up, you need to call the office and make an appointment to speak to the Priest. Give yourself at least a week so you have time to include everything. Write an outline of what you want to say and use it when you meet with the Priest. You might even make a copy for him to follow along. He can make notes of what will need to be done to follow-up. Some things he may think are trivial and not need immediate action-those you can discuss and scratch off the list. The Priest is interested in running an effective and holy parish. If you spoke to him about something and he agreed a change was necessary, but you haven’t seen a change, maybe you could give him a gentle reminder…sometimes that works or he can update you on the progress. Realistically, not all problems can be solved.
—Whenever we have a healing service, the Priest will lay hands on the sick person and everyone else will raise both hands as though over the sick person to participate in the blessing and pray for healing. The Priest gave instructions in how the ritual would be done before he started. The person to receive the anointing would go to end of the pew and wait for the Priest. It is a very solemn service. Some churches have the parishioners walk the front of the church as for Communion. Pastors have leniency in how they do some things. For instance, our Pastor does Baptisms separately from Mass, our previous Pastor would include Baptisms during the Mass. Also, if there is a Deacon assigned to your parish, you may want to speak to him instead.
—God bless you on your journey of faith.


#17

I’m reviving this thread because I still haven’t talked to a priest yet. I have been worried about how I’d go about it. If I talk to my future confessor, I worry that I’ll fall into ranting and complaining about the situation. That’s likely because I want to do so and have a penchant for doing just that no matter how hard I try to resist. I don’t want to meet with the priest at my home parish because I want to and will enjoy trying to solve these problems. This isn’t a game, but over time I have made it one. I’m dealing with friends; this attitude is not fitting for the situation. If my regret, fear, shame, and sorrow would come back I’d meet with him. Then I’d know my motives were good and that I was working in the best interests of the people there (people that I love and care for). My fear is that in meeting with one of the priests, I’ll push myself into mortal sin due to my attitude. Any thoughts?


#18

You really need to talk to a priest otherwise you will continue to feel miserable.


#19

Would it be wrong for me to go to the pastor of the parish I’m having problems with and ask if anything has changed? I know this normally would be fine, even the right thing to do, but my attitude worries me.


#20

Why don’t you talk to the other priest you mentioned you are comfortable with. He is the best one to advise you, not us.


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