My Priest says he is a "Liberal Priest"

I had a conversation with my priest the other day, and he claims to be a liberal priest. What exactly is a liberal priest and what exactly is a conservative priest? Shouldn’t both be the same? My priest was also married before he was a priest and is now widowed. Does this play a factor? My wife was using contraception for a while (not anymore) and that’s why we did not participate in the Holy Eucharist but he said that it was okay. Another priest said it was not okay. Why so much confusion. Can a priest be liberal? Who should I listen to?

There is some give and take along the continuum between justice and mercy, doctrine and pastoral care. But for the most part, I think you are right when you say all priests should be pretty close to the same. And when your priest says hes liberal and tells you contraception is ok, , I think, hes just dead wrong for saying either!

I thaink God the John Paul II priests and more recent are faithful and will not cause this kind of confusion in the future ,and that these “liberal” priests of the 60s and 70s are retiring and leaving soon! I for one have had it with their ideas that they have the right to teach the Gospel according to “FarOut” or Fr. “Groovey” Its about time our priests started again teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ handed down by His Church, and not teach the Gospel of the “Church of Here and Now”!

You’d really have to ask your priest exactly what he means by that. There’s no way for us to know.

I cringe when our “Father Groovey” takes the pulpit. I try to avoid his Masses but, for some reason, they’ve stopped printing which priest is saying which Mass.

Recently, I attended his Mass with my friend, a very recent convert. After his sermon, she leaned over and said, “He sure has given up a lot for something he doesn’t believe in.” Right on.

She continued after Mass stating that she was glad her husband, an atheist, hadn’t attended because he would have definitely interpreted the priest’s words to mean “it just doesn’t matter” because that’s what we heard.

I know others have told the bishop and others have left for other Catholic churches. My question is why aren’t these priests given a refresher course in Catholicism? Why are they allowed to preach when what they are saying is so far out?

I love the idea of a refresher course but I suspect that is what is done in the retreats our priests attend every few months.
I really wish the priests would “hold the line” on Catholic teaching. It looks to me like they are trying to please everyone and end up offending the devout Catholics in hopes of eding the mass exit of people.
They are also making parents life difficult when we are trying to teach right from wrong and they seem more concerned with not offending anyone.
By the way, our “liberal” priest is in his 70s and the priest in his 20s is much more conservative!

I hope some priests and bishops read these posts to give them an idea of what is going on.

One person who managed retreats stated that most priests opted to play golf.

I know of four CCD teachers who left because they couldn’t get control of the class, the time was too short for adequate teaching, and the director was not interested in giving the support needed to teach effectively. There was no enforcement of mandatory attendence.

Our rooms used for classes are devoid of religious objects including the crucifix. Priests are in civies 98% of the time. There are two statues in the whole church. Di

Another bothersome trait is not taking the time to know a person’s name and use it. If a person is donating his/her time to help you, know his name and address him/her with it.

Dialogue is lacking.

“Liberal” and “Conservative” aren’t terms you should be hearing in the Church at all. Simply hearing them mentioned in terms of religious convictions is a cause to be unsettled. When you’re holding your bow and stretching it out, with your eye on the target, do you say “You know, I’m kind of a liberal archer”, or “I prefer to be a conservative marksmen”? It doesn’t make any sense. You have your bow, and you have the target you are aiming for. That is all. There is you, and there is truth.

The motivations behind liberal priests can be frustrating to understand. They seem to give up so much in order to become part of an Order which they’re not on board with. I guess it’s just that old human weakness of savoring popularity among men. Every single one of them is going to be confronted with the decision, both at the pulpit and in person, to tell certain individuals things that they don’t want to hear, and some of them fold. Once you do it the first few times, you get broken into it. Perhaps they never fully appreciated what they were getting into in the first place. Catechizing and evangelization is a double edged blade, with one edge soothing, and the other covered in thorns. It is being both maternal and paternal. You comfort the uncomfortable and you discomfort the comfortable. The 2nd is the one that is more often lacking, at least in the present age.

If you feel the real need to be fed by a faithful catholic priest. RUN.

Agreed. Liberalism and conservatism are ideologies. That isn’t to say that a priest can’t be a liberal or a conservative. But to describe oneself as a liberal priest or a conservative priest puts the ideology before the vocation to the priesthood. (I don’t know the particulars of the priest, so I can’t assess whether he actually does that. But that is what the language suggests.)

I’d ask the priest straight out what he means by saying that he’s a liberal priest. In my experience there’s a real continuum of what being a liberal or conservative priest can mean. One priest may consider himself traditional because he celebrates one of the Sunday masses in Latin. Another priest might feel that he’s liberal because basically he has made up his own set of rules and clings to them not church teaching. A liberal priest can be one who says special Masses that are pro-gay or blesses gays living together or he believes in artificial birth control. That’s problematic as it’s not in line with church teaching. Having said that, he may simply have been telling you that since you and your wife are no longer using artificial contraception, you no longer have a barrier to the sacraments—though I’d think that he’d at least have mentioned the word “confession” in there somewhere if that was his meaning! I would ask him straight out what he means—and then if he’s off somewhere in left field, compose and send a letter to your bishop and let him know. If he’s a priest from San Francisco, there’s no way of even guessing what he may mean by being liberal! LOL!:thumbsup:

I was listening to Catholic Answers Live a while back, and John Martignoni was talking about this. He said that many liberal priests don’t believe in a lot of the teachings of the Catholic Church. And here’s the part that struck me. He said that the pastoral advice that these priests give to parishioners is like poison…“it’s as if he poured acid on their souls.”

Peace, Mark

We are in the ‘here and now’. All through the history of the church those people making and teaching the doctrines were in their own ‘here and now’. If we didn’t progress we’d all still be sitting in caves saying ‘the old sun god had it right you know…’ The church has managed to adapt to progress…they didn’t like what Galileo had to say but they managed to accept it. There was a spell when the only good Muslim was a dead one, and you could earn time off purgatory for killing one. But Pope Francis is inviting them for talks now.
And I wasn’t aware that Jesus taught anyone they couldn’t use contraception.


Peace, Mark

I have to wonder how they every get to the point of being ordained. Are we to believe that they kept their positions on these matters a secret throughout their time in the seminary? Is there really no better spiritual discernment going on among those who are directing them, that they would not have made it clear these men should have never been ordained?

What comes to mind in my case: “A house divided cannot stand.” I really do think there will be (as it has been in the works for a long time), a great scism in the Catholic Church. For the USA it will be something akin to “A New American Catholic Church” versus the Traditional (True) Catholic Church."

I have come across way too many Directors of Religious Education, Catholic Teachers and office staff, Priests and Deacons who are openly opposed to the teachings of the Church to think a divide will not occur. People will be left choosing what Church they belong too. For my part, I will remain true to the faith, that of a Roman Catholic.

Run faster! :slight_smile: Your soul can be in jeopardy, just because you are not receiving the weapons to defend yourself in this battle.

Generally, if a priest starts to say something like this: It’s ok! You shouldn’t bother so much. It’s a big sign that something is not right. A priest, being in the image of Jesus, the Good Pastor, must be a sign to be opposed (Lk 2,34). He must tell you the truth, even if it causes trouble for him or you, or both. If something is a mortal sin, you have a right to know that.

This priest sounds like someone who wants to be with the “in” crowd, usually the young set…

Any priest should have the sense to know that if he is going to announce himself as a liberal or a conservative, he is going to please one half of the congregation and alienate the other half. Not a healthy position for a priest to be in.

Well, here comes my mandatory fisking:

We are in the ‘here and now’. All through the history of the church those people making and teaching the doctrines were in their own ‘here and now’.

Yup, and many of these doctrines were unfaithful to teaching (i.e. dogma, doctrines established by councils, the teachings of the Magisterium and Pope when using their teaching authority). Any given pronouncement by any given Church leader isn’t equivalent to Church teaching, so people making their own doctrines then were just as wrong as they are now.

If we didn’t progress we’d all still be sitting in caves saying ‘the old sun god had it right you know…’

Depends on how you define progress…some would say that we’ve retrograded in certain areas.

The church has managed to adapt to progress…they didn’t like what Galileo had to say but they managed to accept it.

Well, not really, at least not in the way you mean. Galileo first of all hadn’t actually proved his model to the point where he could preach it as dogmatically as he was doing. It had a lot going for it, but the Church was actually being the defender of science here, essentially saying, “Look, before you go spouting off how everyone else is wrong and you are right withy the certainty you seem to be showing, how about resolving some of the remaining problems” (something to do with interstellar paralax, I think). Further, if I remember correctly, Galileo was trying to make theological pronouncements about his findings and basically saying you have to do it this way, which didn’t work out very well. So I’d say that your point here really doesn’t bring much to bear.

There was a spell when the only good Muslim was a dead one, and you could earn time off purgatory for killing one. But Pope Francis is inviting them for talks now.

Well, to be fair, they were conquering the Mediterranean, threatening Europe, and Rome in particular (they had already gotten Spain), imposing Sharia Law on conquered Christians, attacking the Eastern Church based in Constantinople, and making it all around difficult for pilgrims to get to the Holy Land, so I can see how the Vatican might have been a tad frustrated. Still, we’re not really talking on matters of doctrine and dogma in the way that is relevant to this particular conversation.

And I wasn’t aware that Jesus taught anyone they couldn’t use contraception

Luckily, the Bible isn’t a book of Jesus quotes and He instituted a Church so as to help deal with such moral questions.

There is something that I’m really having trouble understanding with these discussions with people of, not so much ‘faith’, but rather; a faith based on a complete loyalty and faith in an institution. Help me out here…you sound like a reasonable person!!
When I point out where the ‘church’ really did get it wrong ( just a few jump straight to the conclusion that I’m ATTACKING the church - missing the point), I’m told that, yes x was wrong, but it was individuals WITHIN the church who got it wrong, so the ‘church’ can’t be blamed for x.
When I express an opinion as to how I, myself, think the Catholic teaching may be wrong in teaching y, I am told that y is taught by the church, so it MUST therefore be RIGHT.
What is the church…It is an institution of people with a supreme leader… So…
How do you know when a pope/ council is getting it right or getting it wrong? Sometimes, it seems, only after you get some hindsight!
How can you say that some of the doctrines that were taught were wrong? Is it because they were made by individuals and not councils? In which case, can councils never be wrong?
You presumably believe that divine inspiration comes into it…so who decides, years after the event, that a doctrine was or was not divinely inspired, and therefore is, or is not, right?
It seems like you want to have it both ways, which makes it very difficult to argue about anything…perhaps that’s the point!! Don’t argue…we can get round anything!
Basically, what is the church if not a group of individuals?
As for the popes handing down from St. Peter and having some kind of moral authority…what about the Borgias?
Help please!

I did say that some of the crusades were in defence of territory…but who had real claim of that territory? Yes, the pilgrims had trouble getting thru’, but did Westerners have any claim to those lands? Yes, I know the pope was asked to help defend Constantinople from attack - history is never in black and white! My son has just done a thesis on the Hospitallers in Wales…fascinating stuff!

I think you too easily dismiss my point about sitting in our caves! It truly was our questioning and enquiring that got us where we are. It was never on the cards that we’d all agree about all and everything. It’s inevitable that as things change, some will be pleased by some things…and some will be displeased…ad infenitum. If we waited nicely for a unanimous decision , we’d still be sitting round our camp- fires - and yes, the family bonding would have been great!
Interesting what you said about Galileo, I will read up on it.

I am told that some things taught by the church are absolutely, divinely inspired, timelessly RIGHT and must never be altered just because society changes and our understanding of ourselves and the world has changed hugely over the last 2000 years.
But I am also told that some things done AND TAUGHT by the church in the Middle Ages for example, like excesses of violence in the crusades, the promise of freedom from purgatory for joining a Holy War, the burning of Protestants, the torture of ‘heretics’ by officials in the church ( without shedding blood)…should all be viewed in the light of the values of the time. ie: Of course it would be wrong now, but it wasn’t seen as wrong then so we can’t really judge them by today’s values.
Things have changed, which is often a jolly good thing. Why can’t the Church carry on changing…carry on developing an understanding of ourselves and our world?
If it stays still it will, at best, become irrelevant …at worst, I’m not sure…

The Church has not changed. The behavior of some of its leaders has changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. This Catholics never deny.

But the fundamental truths do not change just because we live 2,000 years later. God is still God. We still need God. The Church still is there to help us find God. The ways of finding God do not change. If the Church ever started to change some of its fundamental moral doctrines (such as its stance on abortion and same-sex marriage) I think the Church would quickly go up in smoke, as have other Churches who have radically altered their teachings to suit the times in which they live. Many of the people who belong to those churches (including bishops and pastors) are lining up to join the Catholic Church because they will no longer sell their allegiance to the latest politically correct liberal doctrine that comes from the devil. :eek:

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