My meeting with a priest

I wanted to meet with a priest who I confessed to (not face-to-face) once. I liked the feedback he gave after each confession I was making, so since I’ve bern having a rough time lately I thought it would be good idea to meet with him.

During our meeting, I kind of just told him that I wanted to get married and I wasn’t finding anyone, and that I’m not really close to anyone. I told him I have 2 close friends but that they don’t like to go out much and I feel like I give more of the effort for being friends. I kind of cried also. He was listening, but honestly I did 't get much feedback at all from him. I even told him a lady I used to work with was older in her 40s and single, and she was bitter and not nice, and i don’t want to become like that … All he said back was ‘yea’.

I also told him I am kind of scrupulous and he asked how, and I explained to him an example. He just didn’t really give me any advice. He prayed for me at the end which was nice, but I didn’t feel better or get any advice from him. i felt like he probably thought I was weird or something, as if what I was saying wasn’t that important… I don’t know.

Has anyone had a similar experience from a priest?

All priests are different. Each one has the spots that they excel at, and the spots where it’s not so great. You could have one guy who goes up and give an excellent homily, and then in the confessional it could be lacking.

So when you say that this priest gives good confessions, that might just be his area that he excels at. So maybe you might want to find a different one to talk to outside of the confessional. I would advise that you get a spiritual director that you can meet with once a month or so. Hope this helps.

God Bless,
ChurchSuffering

Yes I have had a similar experience.

Yes, I have had similar experiences. I believe that at times I did not know how to adequately express myself so that they would understand me better. Other times it is because the priest means well and will pray for you, but does not have on-the-spot discernment to be able to say what you need to hear.

Pray and ask the Lord for someone who can give you what you need. Stay close to our Blessed Mother.

Keep praying and trust that the Lord is working in your life.

Peace and blessings to you!

Dorothy

It sounds to me as though not only do you expect too much of priests ,but have the wrong idea of their role .You do not confess to a priest but to God, with priest as mediator ,and the ‘grace’ comes from the Holy Spirit . If you wish ‘mraicles’ in your life, pray to Jesus , speak to Him ,tell Him your problems . He will direct you ,if you take the time to listen . He may tell you to change in some way ,guide you to people you might make friends with .

Priests not only have many many people to ‘hear’ ,but their role is not personal in the way you think it is ;You have the responsiblity to think of others ,not just you ,and if you have only the normal every day struggles that most people have, well why are you asking him to solve them ? He has played his role in the confessional,and you want more ;Why ?

I think you were seeking a role for him to fulfill that he was not comfortable or capable to fulfill. Have you tried a counselor?

Sometimes the kindest thing to do for a person is to let them work through it.
Take it to Jesus in Adoration and see if things don’t start to look up.
A priest is your Spiritual father, not your daddy.
Perhaps he perceived that you were really depressed, and most people do not respond well at ALL when they are not thinking clearly.
Pray, get some exercise, take walks, listen to uplifting music, read a good book. Feed your mind and body well, and spend time in prayer.
Men find all of this attractive.
Good luck!

You wanted him to listen and he did. He gave you the space to talk. This is a valid approach to meeting and working with people.

In the course of the conversation according to your account you said:

  1. You want to get married
  2. You have friends who don’t like to go out
  3. You are not meeting new people through these friends
  4. You are afraid of becoming a bitter, lonely person

What did you want him to say? There is NOTHING he can do or say to change any of those four things. Only YOU can move out of the comfort zone of current friends, only YOU can take the risk of meeting new people, and only YOU can prevent bitterness from running your life.

Now, did you ask him specifically what you want from him? “Feedback” is not a clear answer. Did you want referrals, did you want specific advice on what to do next? It sounds like what you are asking of the priest is to be either a sounding board or a relationship coach. Probably things he is not qualified to do.

My only fault with the priest was not stepping up to the plate and pushing you for greater clarification and explaining any limitations or expertise he might or might have.

God bless.

Most priests are not therapists. Some have the skills to be a good therapist, and others don’t. But few are trained therapists.

Priests often have one or more masters degrees, but they are usually in theology, canon law, religious education, pastoral services, or something else.

Sometimes the pastoral services or “something else” give them additional training as a councilor and/or therapist; but not often. Priests are usually good Spiritual Directors, but not always councilors. This link does a good job explaining the difference:

catholiccounseling.org/cc.org/smSpiritualDirector.aspx

In addition to the website above, please check out
catholictherapists.com

Finally, your local diocese might have a list of Catholic Councilors in your area. Or you can call one for telephone advice via the catholic therapists link above.

God Bless!

This thread underscores the limits of what a priest can and can’t do quite often.

The answer lots of people give on this board to those seeking advice is “go talk to a priest.” Sometimes that’s appropriate; sometimes it’s not. However, IMHO there are certain things priests are remarkably ill equipped to handle: relationship advice; and personal financial matters. As to the former, if I want advice on how to find a spouse, why would I go talk to someone who is single; celibate; and cannot date let alone get married?

Sorry but one thing Protestant churches do is to have “church elders,” older people, usually married business people with real world life experience who can help younger people. Catholics ought to have the same.

I know an older wise man who’s been happily married nearly 40 years. If I ever needed marital advice I’d go to him before I went to a priest. That fact that he’s Jewish is to me irrelevant, simply because I’d trust his experience over that of a priest.

your time in confession is just for that “confessing”. if you wish personal advice, counseling or talking about personal issues with a priest, make an appointment.

Perhaps what you’re looking for is a spiritual director – someone you would meet regularly with on a regular and ongoing basis. A director won’t solve your problems, but may help you deal with the spiritual aspects of them, especially helping you to avoid becoming bitter, no matter how your prayers might be answered.

I think it’s important, as others have alluded to, to be clear about what you’re looking for. What did you want from the priest you talked with? If you go to him or to someone else for spiritual direction, what are you hoping will happen? Depending on what you are seeking, perhaps a counselor or life coach would be more appropriate.

I think you may have underlined the most important lack in the RCC and is a serious
one .;):thumbsup:

In my parish, the permanent deacons fill this role. When I have clear spiritual issues, I speak to a priest. When I have personal challenges with spiritual aspects, I speak to a permanent deacon. We have four, all married men with families and professional experience, like the elders you describe. Perhaps this is an option for the OP to explore.

Yes. AND…there are many lay spiritual directors working in the US, who don
t charge a fee, and meet regularly with people.
But again, they are not therapists. The Catholic church provide free family counseling and individual therapy paid on a sliding scale though. But nobody ever said the priests were therapists. Only for spiritual matters. :wink:

I’m sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time but priests are not the place to go for these kinds of problems. As others have said, a counselor would be more useful for life issues such as these.

as someone previously posted, in many parishes, a Deacon fills this roll. However, we lay Catholics are not a custom to making appointments with Deacons. We are used to priests and frankly, some dioceses/parishes don’t know how to utilize Deacons and/or don’t have enough of them.

I have been absolutely impressed with the deacons on this board. I mean VERY impressed. In my experience I would not have asked a deacon how to tie my shoe much less counseling on religious issues. I previously lived in a former diocese where the deaconate program was more for the wives of deacons to have influential roles. And I have personal friends that are deacons that often surprise me with their lack of knowledge.

In my former diocese there is not a “lack” of deacons. Quite the opposite. In my old parish there is one priest and 5 deacons. And the utilization is quite prevalent. All Four Sunday’s are “deacon Sundays” for homilies. Weddings are almost all done by deacons. And the pastoral mission of the parish is his domain. The Administration and business of the parish is the priest’s. And frankly that should be the other way around. 2 of the 5 deacons are Business men in the community and run successful companies.

Now in this diocese and in particular our current parish we have 2 deacons and 3 priests. Each priest views himself as the Father and Chief pastor of the families in our Parish. If I need to talk to someone about my life, I have a priest over for dinner. The deacons in this parish are truly assistants. Not just liturgically, but in other matters as well.

I guess it just depends on the priests and deacons. But I would not seek any deacons advice I know. Plus knowing them on personal, familial, and even in some cases Business levels makes more of a “Get your own house in order” and plank out of your own eye attitudes. And I admit I have them. Perhaps that is one of the blessings of a celibate priesthood. We never have to judge their own houses.:shrug: I think the deaconate program in some areas could use some more rigor.

To underscore here, I realize that my opinion has been tainted by my own experiences. And I have been shown that perhaps it is not common that this is the case. Because the deacons who post on these boards I would go to for deep deep spiritual advice.

I think the deaconate programs are much better today than they used to be. But I do think it still differs from diocese to diocese. In my former diocese, there are a large number of deacons, but that diocese doesn’t have a seminary. So the formation differs from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where I live now. In the AD of Philly, the Deacon candidates are formed at the seminary with an option for a Masters degree. The program takes a min of 6 years for our deacons. In my research, it takes less time in some other dioceses.

As the deaconate formation programs continue to evolved, I believe we will continue to have better Deacons who can be used for some spiritual and matrimonial counseling.

God Bless

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