Need a little guidance here


#1

The priest who is to officiate over my upcoming wedding has apparently been caught up in a situation. He is being accused of asking inappropriate questions of children in confession, such as whether they looked at porn on the internet or masturbated. Naturally, he cannot comment. The bishop has been quoted as saying that he doesn't have the authority to investigate -- which I assume is also due to the confessional seal.

My fiancee -- who is not Catholic -- is a little uncomfortable, but has said she'll defer to me on this. I must admit I don't know how to proceed: should we continue as though nothing is happening, or speak to him about it? Should we seek another priest?

I welcome your thoughts and encourage you to pray for this priest.

Peace,
Dante


#2

I’d say if the children were around the age of 12, then such questions would be appropriate if he were helping the kid to make a more complete confession. I’d be concerned if he were asking for gross details about how they masturbated (not whether or not they had) or specifics on what types of pornography they used. Were generic terms used or did it get graphically descriptive? If the children were younger, than the priest’s questions I would say are wholey uncalled for. So if the kids were in puberty or past and questions were asked truly to help guide the children to make a good confession, than the individuals complaining our paranoid, out of line and an overly scrutinizing the priest. If that is the case, I would go to the priest’s defense with my fiance’ and perhaps talk about the Church’s view on sexual sins and that we do need to be confessing them. However, such confessions are in vague terms. If a person is guilty of masturbation, they just say “I masterbated” and then about how frequently. Its quick and non-descript so as not to bring unnecessary images to either the penetent’s mind or the priest’s mind.

If it sounds like something is fishy going on and you’re truly both uncomfortable with this priest marrying you, I would consult a different local priest. He won’t have pastorial authority over you you though if you’re a parishioner at the other parish. To marry in another parish, you need permission. This was a path I had to take because my parish priest had had a stroke the previous summer and we kept going through these temporary priests and had no idea whether or not the diocese would combine our parish with another parish or would eventually assign us a new priest. The priest performing Masses at my parish was inexperienced and unhelpful. I ended up speaking to number of local priests who weren’t very helpful till eventually I was told I could call the dean of the deanery, but in doing all this I seemed to be stepping on toes and was getting myself into deanery political riveries between the multiple parishes in the area and people weren’t being too friendly with me.

What I will advise is that if you are getting the dean of the deanery involved, keep your wedding simple. My husband really wanted me to push for a Traditional Latin Mass which made things ten times more complicated. We had a beautiful TLM, but I think the fact that we fought so hard over it when the situation was already complicated really put the priests in a very rough spot.


#3

Regardless of what priest marries you, they will all have sins only God knows of. If the fact that this priest personal business is now in the open makes you uncomfortable I can understand if sheds a different light on it

If you choose to have this priest, you will have just as valid a marriage as any. It all depends what you really want. If simply a valid Catholic marriage is all you are looking for, I don't think this situation matters.

If you want something more personal where the priest who marries you is someone you can look up to as a person then yes I would change priests if I could.

It all boils down to the role you want the priest to play

CM


#4

My fiance and I just discussed your situation and he feels that it would be better to get a different priest to say the marriage. I hesitate to claim the priest did something wrong--- we truly do not know his intentions -or- if these details are even true. However, I don't think a couple would want to have a "scandal" on their wedding day.

My biggest concern is if your priest will help you and your fiance prepare for marriage. I know we need to speak to our priest at least twice about things before we get married. This is why it might be better to seek a different priest out.


#5

[quote="DanteAlighieri, post:1, topic:226025"]
The priest who is to officiate over my upcoming wedding has apparently been caught up in a situation. He is being accused of asking inappropriate questions of children in confession, such as whether they looked at porn on the internet or masturbated. Naturally, he cannot comment. The bishop has been quoted as saying that he doesn't have the authority to investigate -- which I assume is also due to the confessional seal.

My fiancee -- who is not Catholic -- is a little uncomfortable, but has said she'll defer to me on this. I must admit I don't know how to proceed: should we continue as though nothing is happening, or speak to him about it? Should we seek another priest?

I welcome your thoughts and encourage you to pray for this priest.

Peace,
Dante

[/quote]

I would say, be open about it to the priest and question, and tell him you or your fiancees discomfort. But before you do, I would advice that you and your fiancee go in prayer and ask for guidance.

Question though, is how did his questions to the young go public in the first place? It seems a lack of sensitivity to me.


#6

This is a complex issue.

Matthew 7:1 says "Stop judging, that you may not be judged." Isn't "guilt by accusation" a sin?

On the other hand, you don't want to be thinking of that on your wedding day, you want everything to be perfect.

Sadly, there is another side to the issue that I think nobody mentioned. Depending on where you are in the planning, you might not be able to change priests without changing dates, and chances are you already have deposits down on the banquet hall, band, photographer, band, honeymoon, etc. Can you really change the date?

If you are going to talk to the priest about it, you probably want to do so in a way that you won't regret later. And you might want to first talk to a DIFFERENT priest, for his advice. Once you say something, you can't un-say it.


#7

Are you having a Mass - since our fiance is not Catholic I am assuming that you are not. Would he be giving a homily? How much of a role is he playing after all it is you and your fiance that will be conferring the Sacrament - the priest is only the witness.


#8

I'm not at all concerned about validity -- I know that the priest's personal holiness (or lack thereof) has no effect on his faculties. I suppose scandal and/or awkwardness are my main worries.

We will not be having a Mass; I believe he will be giving a homily, though.

As far as I can tell, the complaints arose from the parents who are reacting to what their children told them. I don't know how old the kids are, but I know the school is pre-K through 8.

Thanks for your input so far...more is certainly welcome!

Peace,
Dante


#9

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