Obedience to a Priest

I have a deep love for Jesus Christ and want to evangelize His message at every opportunity but our priest doesn’t agree. My son is the youth director at our parish. He’s very well read and his apologetics are excellent. The priest originally approached him to lead because of his understanding of the church. The priest is not involved in any of the ministries and refuses to be involved. Many times they have conflicted over evangelizing issues because the priest seems to view the parish as his personal domain and wants only those students from our own parish to participate. Some of the area parishes don’t have or can’t afford youth groups we happen to be in one of the very wealthy areas of the county. The youth group has grown from a couple of kids to about 40.

Point. The priest decided yesterday that we had to throw out a kid not from our parish, my son refused to. The Catholic Church the child attends does not have a youth group. This issue has come up in the past but this time it is coming to a head. We’ve offered to do fund raisers but he has denied us permission. My son is 31 and volunteers as well as the rest of our family whenever needed. Obviously we need some prayers. Any other input is welcome. We seem to have crossed the line of obedience.

Talk to your bishop. Your priest’s parish is NOT his personal domain. Without hearing his side, he seems to be very exclusive and this is not conducive to evangelization. I would talk to my bishop and at least see what can be done. It never ceases to amaze me how so many parishes are keened in on “how” to do “programs” but completely forget “why” we have them. If we are excluding people from coming to Christ then we are all upside down and just spinning our wheels.

First of all, is this Priest the Pastor? If not, speak with the Pastor. If he is the Pastor, speak with him first before going to the Bishop. Try to find out his resons for his decision. Always best to talk things out first.

Keep this passage in mind:

1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

My advise is to talk to the priest and get his side, and pray for guidance and the priest’s guidance.

Then obey, no matter what.

Even if you cannot get ahold of the bishop, at least put in a call to the diocesan office and speak to whoever is in charge of the Youth Ministry office.

That’s true. It would be good to give him the opportunity to explain.

Yes, talk to the pastor charitably. Then talk to the bishop. If you cannot agree with your pastor, you may be able to move to another parish. However, always show the greatest respect to the bishop and his pastors.

I agree with others that your son should make an appointment with the pastor to discuss the youth group.

Together they should come to an agreement on the purpose of the group, the types of activities they’ll engage in, who may join, what funding is needed, and any other issues they can think of.

At that point your son should have a good sense of the direction of the group and can decide if he and the pastor are sufficiently in agreement for him to continue or not.

OK, as a DRE and Youth Minister:
I don’t think this is about “obedience”.
This is about Parish parameters.
For example…our Pastor has a responsibility to offer Youth programs to the children of the members of our Parish. Because they are the ones that fund it. Not the Diocese.
In the past, when certain parishes in our area have had what is perceived to be “more fun” programs, or “more flexible programs” kids have hopped around. this infuriated their home parish pastors. We got flack. So…the students were asked to participate in their HOME parish…or, get their parents to move their membership. Sounds odd? Well, that’s the way it is in many places.
Now, you say that these other parishes do no offer such programs…WHY? They are supposed to. Perhaps your Pastor (as well as the Bishop) is trying to get these other places to live out their duty to their people. If your parish picks up the slack for these other parishes…what impetus do they have to get a program running for their people? None.
You say that the other parishes cannot afford a program. Many parishes can ill afford employee run programs. That’s why they rely so heavily on volunteers. And the bottom line is, they should be providing education to their parishioner children REGARDLESS. That is part of the parish mission. To educate all ages. Many parishes, including mine struggle to cover the cost. Our Pastor asks the parishioners once a year to consider how important it is for our children to be well educated and to keep our faith and our parish GOING! He doesn’t LIKE to ask for money, but he has to ask people to prayerfully consider their contributions and he promises to be a good steward of their sacrifices.

I would talk to the priest and not assume that he is throwing them out.
If he used that word, OK, so he’s not a great communicator. But priests don’t want to throw anybody out. But they have an obligation to their parish. Perhaps the other pastors have gotten on to him accusing him of “stealing” their kids? It happens, believe me.

I seriously doubt this is a case of a priest not caring about the Spiritual lives of teens.
I SERIOUSLY doubt this.


This illustrates well why it is good to talk to the pastor before drawing the wrong conclusion. There are often many variables a pastor is considering that we don’t see.

Very good post. Agree completely.
I know in our parish we have exactly one paid
employee- the pastor lol.
The parish from youth group to choir to CCD to
RCIA to secretary to bookkeeper to janitor to landscaper
to repairs? All volunteer.
We are stretched to the max both time/labor wise
and financially and our pastor is still trying to
form new groups and bring more people in the door.
This morning I heard we would have
a children’s choir.

I’m a daily Mass goer I talk to the priest all the time. My son has attended staff meetings weekly for over a year. The priest and my family have a very good understanding of each other. In fact very friendly except when money comes into the discussions, and money is not a problem for our church. It shouldn’t be about the priest or money, it’s about the kids.

This IS the adults problems, not the kids. More directly the priest and diocese problems. We should provide the kids a sanctuary and trust in Jesus to provide.

That kid will probably leave our church and end up at the mega “whatever” church down the street or lost totally. Another Catholic gone because we want to pass the blame!

I know Pope Francis is trying to change these diocesan attitudes, I continue to pray for him. I appreciate your comments here but I think Mark 9:42 (…whomever harms the least of these) and Matt 6:24 (…serve two masters) say it clearly.

One question that has to be answered concerning the youth being turned away - do they live inside the parish’s geographical boundaries? A pastor has authority over and responsibility to those who live in the geographic boundaries of the parish even if they are registered at a different parish.

I’m sorry, but this is just an excuse.
The Church is a sanctuary. It’s a home for all.
But there is a reality of ministry, and it’s called a budget.
If kids run to a mega church, it’s because they don’t understand the truth of the faith.
Which is a totally different problem. One doesn’t have to belong to a youth group to be a good practicing Catholic. I disagree with the notion that teens groups have to cater to the teens to have validity. All we have to do is present the truth. We have many teens who are active in our parish who do not attend our youth ministry, but they believe we are their parish. They come to Mass, Adoration, and participate and volunteer with their families.
This is what we need to promote as much as possible. We also have teens who love the Youth classes, but simply won’t go to Mass. Makes no sense. If kids are looking for a hang-out…we can be that for them but it also comes with actively worshipping and living out their faith.
Persons who really feel that the kids will be “lost” should start an outreach program.
But ultimately, it will lead back to the parish, where Jesus is present in the Eucharist.

Wait a second. I want to get back to the OP. Do we have to obey the priest? I w under the impression they were giving guidance, and we could follow our conscience. Is it a sin not to obey the priest on all matters? :rolleyes:
I seems like every time I read something here, I find a new sin… This Catholic thing is much easier the less you know:eek:

If the priest is the person’s boss? yes, you must do as he requests. You don’t have to like it, but that’s the case with any employer, correct?

Sin? Obviously the person who defied the priest’s directive doesn’t think so. He assumed that he knew better.

My point is, we don’t know all the reasons behind the original decision. We can’t assume the priest was being cruel, unkind, or non-Pastoral in his directive.
To do so would be a sin. Yeah.

I forgot it was an employee/employer case. My bad.

God bless.

I agree if it’s an employer/employee relationship, the youth minister has no choice.
However, the only person that should be discussing this with the priest is the adult who is working in this capacity, not his family. It’s between him and the pastor.
Youth “fun” programs are not required in parishes. Maybe the youth that this is not a parishioner may react badly to being asked to leave, but life is like that. I think the decision should be carefully explained to him.

Ok and how does this resound to a teenager who is looking for acceptance? I get all the “stuff” but I am referring to where the rubber meets the road. While all are floundering to find out who is funding what and who is “stealing” who’s kids we have our youth going to Protestant churches where they seem to accept everyone with open arms. I get all the particulars and “parish boundaries” scenario but I don’t get how a young person processes this.

And I will say that one should speak to the priest first. In my previous post I mentioned going to the bishop but it is truly better to make sure you understand where the priest is coming from before alerting the bishop.

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