I am a cradle Catholic, 70 years of age. I love attending daily mass and devotions. We now live in an area that has only 1 Catholic Church in the county. This wouldn’t be so bad, but I am having a hard time dealing with the pastor who openly preaches his political opinions, of which I cannot agree with. I feel lost and helpless as I refuse to attend his masses and there are not many options left. I joined another parish in a neighboring county and because of the shortage of priests, we now share the same pastor previously mentioned. We have seen assistant priests come and go frequently so it’s difficult to build a spiritual relationship with the priests. My faith tells me to trust in God as He is in control, but I feel so deprived and I’m aching for a better spiritual life and closeness with God. Does anyone else have similar issues and/or recommendations?
Are they actually political opinions or life issues? There are a lot of topics a priest would be well within his bounds to discuss that concern how we treat our fellow man or the dignity of human life. Sometimes these topics overlap with political topics, but unless he is telling you who to vote for or what the law should be, is it really a problem?
I’ll assume in charity the priest is preaching a social justice gospel that goes against the precepts of the Church, as you seem to suggest. I do not know the full story, and for all I know, what the priest could be doing is completely fine. If what you say is true though, here’s my advice:
Say the divine mercy chaplet during his homilies.
Buy discreet ear plugs if necessary.
Avoid all unnecessary contact.
But don’t let the frivolity of one priest draw you away from the mass.
God bless you and your priest.
Mass is about Jesus and the Eucharist. If his homilies are actually political (Disorienting Sneeze has a very good point about that), just let then go in one ear and out the other. You should not let homilies harm your spiritual life.
Also a giant oops for me not offering sympathy or practical advice. I’m sorry this is affecting your faith. Consider taking something like a Magnificat with you to read a Gospel reflection when the homilies become too political?
When I leave mass in tears feeling I’m going to hell, then I know I want to avoid his critiques again. Let me be clear, he is a kind man, but has strong tendencies to subject his opinions, right or wrong.
Can you give an example of exactly what he preaches?
It is pretty rare to hear a lot of “social justice” preaching from the pulpit these days. I have heard it maybe twice in five years, and both times it was from deacons, not the priest.
Oh! It seems like you have an orthodox priest who states solid Church teaching then. You may not like it, but it may yet get you to heaven. I wonder how comfortable you would have been at one of St. Bernard’s sermons…
Here is what I do when I don’t like the “political tone” of some homily (again, this happens probably less than once a year):
Open up the missalette and read the scriptures and prayers in it
Or discreetly pray my rosary till the speech is done
Or find something like a large Crucifix within my sight line in the church, and meditate on it, while mentally saying, "Jesus, I offer up my impatience at having to sit through this homily that I don’t think is on point/ don’t agree with. "
It is rare for me to be riled up from a homily, but in the case that I am I ask myself:
Am I having some kind of pride issue that causes me to reach this level of harumphing? Does my discomfort mean I do need to reevaluate something?
Does my pastor have a much better idea of our parishoners as a whole and I’m not actually the target audience here?
I rarely if ever run into this feeling at my home parish, but I know it happens. When I visit my inlaws I’ve listened to homilies about dads need to control their daughters wardrobe or public schools will eat your children’s souls and left in a funk wanting to debate someone and sad that if my inlaws do convert, that is the only church for miles and miles.
If you are leaving in tears, the tone or subject must be quite heavy. The discussion may benefit from you giving an example.
You’ll need to provide examples otherwise we cannot give advice. There are a lot of Catholic teachings that resonate with one or the other political belief.
We’ve all probably been there. Like when in the middle of Mass they start talking about the churches financial reports or start in with the political stuff (like around this last election). I usually just close my eyes, say a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys until it’s over.
If that’s the worse you’ve heard, count yourself lucky! I’ve had a visiting priest publically endorse women priests half way through the homily, in front of a clearly horrified congregation. We were all so grateful when Father returned from his holiday.
Yeah that is pretty bad but the worse I’ve heard wasn’t from Father but from the people leaving one day when he got a little political. I’ve never heard such things in any church I’ve ever been in. That was a sad day, people so bent out of shape, almost screaming, swearing up a storm, saying they would never come back, etc. It wasn’t even over anything major,.
Well, that is what happens when people stop respecting their priests. I mean, something like what you describe wouldn’t have happened just fifty years ago. The reaction can be so much worse than the actual homily, as well. ️ Well, all that’s left is to pray for them, I suppose. God Bless!
If it’s only rare, I’ll let it go and sit back…if it gets too common, talk to him.
Thank you all for your responses. They did make me feel better. I prefer not to get into any specific as I fear a floodgate of comments would follow. It’s good to know others experience similar isses, and your suggestions did help.
That is very wise and I am sure you are correct. Yet this means all advice will have to be general. You can answer for yourself whether something he is going on about is part of Catholic Social Doctrine, which you have an issue with, or something specific to a politician. If it is the former, then realize that while we are obligated to form our conscience on such matters, there really is not deadline. I have one issue I have struggled with for over a decade. Along the way, I learned more and more.
There is a current moratorium on another topic. In closing it, the moderator linked an article by Jimmy Akin that gives a very good general guideline to dealing with such issues that we do not like that the Church teaches. It can apply here as well.
As noted yesterday, there is a moratorium on the CAFs re: this issue.
For all concerned, we offer Jimmy Akin’s article.
On the other hand, if the problem is not Catholic Social Doctrine but rather a certain politician, then ignore it, or bring your objection to the priest. In any case, be at peace about it.
Does he say anything that contradicts Church doctrine?
No, I don’t believe he did.