Question about leaving my parish


#1

My wife and I are leaving our parish of approximately 4 1/2 years. I won’t detail the litany of abuses here that are causing us to leave because I did a search on this topic and it has been covered several times here at CAF; suffice it to say that our reasons line up with the majority of other posts on this matter. My question, however, is this: am I under any obligation, either morally or out of common courtesy, to notify the parish of our leaving?

I am inclined to write a letter to the current “administrator” explaining why we are leaving but unfortunately, he is a major reason (although far from the only one) we are. I appreciate all answers but please know my mind is made up to change parishes. God bless you all.


#2

Have you found a new parish already? We have to visit with the priest if we wish to join a parish that is different than our boundaries. We can attend, of course, anywhere. When we changed parish membership, it took no more than a few words; he asked what parish we were from, and when we told him, he took us in quickly and welcomed us. I believe our parish notified our old one, and the diocese.

Before we left our current parish, we did visit with the liturgical head, the priest, and the archdiocese liturgy head; when nothing changed, we stopped attending that parish.


#3

If you don’t at least notify the office, you will remain getting snail mail and if you provided your e-mail address, e-mails as well.


#4

I don’t think you have a moral obligation, but I think it would be courteous to notify them that you are leaving (even if you don’t tell them why). I work in a parish office and it is awkward to call someone up who has left the parish without notifying us. For your sake, you’ll be taken off the parish mailing list and if they know you’re just at another parish they won’t include you in any future Catholics Come Home type ministry. :wink:

On the other hand, it could be very constructive to the administrator if s/he knew why you left (granted it’s done in charity).

Just my thoughts, good luck.


#5

If you do write the letter, I would suggest several things:

  1. Keep it respectful and polite. Simply lay out the most important abuses, including documentation of why they are abuses; i.e., “contrary to Section xx of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal . . .”
  2. Copy the Bishop. Also check the diocesan/archdiocesan website to see if there are others who should be copied.

#6

Hello and thanks. I am considering two parishes; one is OF and the other is EF. One is in our diocese, one is not. We may end up going to both, alternatively. I should add that this is largely my decision because I am the Catholic in our marriage but I am trying to get my wife to convert (non-denominational Prot.) and the abuses we have tolerated for so long have given her a very confused view of Catholicism, despite my best efforts to the contrary. She does attend Mass with me every week, regardless.


#7

That’s funny because Sunday was the last straw for us as well in our parish. We are on the move to more Catholic pastures ourselves. :slight_smile:


#8

The “administrator” is what they call our interim pastor. Our last pastor left in December and our current priest may or may not be assigned as pastor. I don’t plan on staying to find out.


#9

We know each other’s pain, then. God be with you in your search, friend.


#10

Thank you, CR. I am asking Our Blessed Mother to show us the way and lead us to where She would like us to go.

God bless you!


#11

I would just write a cordial letter to notify them you decided to attend the new parish located within your diocese and asked to be removed from the mailing list & register. No need to spell out any reason unless asked. Then register at the new parish and have them notify the previous one officially.

I’ll add that it might be helpful to remember you and the parish have two different perspectives on you leaving. For you it a an emotional and spiritually intense situation, as it should be. For them, while I am sure they are sad to see you go, it is more of an administrative task in the business of church. They will not be as emotionally invested as you are and therefore their responses might be different than you would expect.

I hope it turns out well.


#12

Agree! All the best to you @ your new Parish.


#13

[quote="CR89er, post:1, topic:330892"]
My wife and I are leaving our parish of approximately 4 1/2 years. I won't detail the litany of abuses here that are causing us to leave because I did a search on this topic and it has been covered several times here at CAF; suffice it to say that our reasons line up with the majority of other posts on this matter. My question, however, is this: am I under any obligation, either morally or out of common courtesy, to notify the parish of our leaving?

I am inclined to write a letter to the current "administrator" explaining why we are leaving but unfortunately, he is a major reason (although far from the only one) we are. I appreciate all answers but please know my mind is made up to change parishes. God bless you all.

[/quote]

I was talking to a wise LDS coworker of mine not long ago. He said, new people to his Ward, as they call their parishes, will ask "How do you like it here at this Ward, will I like it here?" He'll ask them, "How did you like your last Ward?" They'll answer yes or no, and he'll tell them that they'll find this Ward the same.

In other words, our reaction to other people around us is often our problem not theirs. We carry these tendencies whereever we go.


#14

This I definitely agree with. As a member of several committees, when people leave, it’s helpful to know so we can fill the spot as soon as possible. We have had a great deal of turmoil in our Parish and I know many people have left over the past year or so. One of my teams has been decimated and since no one actually let us know, they just disappeared, there was a lot of scrambling to fill assigned tasks. Also if you let them know when you leave you’ll quit getting all those little reminders and tithe envelopes!

To the OP, I hope your new Parish will bring you close to Christ and fall back in love with the Church.

Lisa


#15

Thanks to all of you for your responses. LisaA, I am in love with our holy Church and that’s why I have to leave this parish.


#16

[quote="CR89er, post:15, topic:330892"]
Thanks to all of you for your responses. LisaA, I am in love with our holy Church and that's why I have to leave this parish.

[/quote]

That's so important. Too many people blame the Church when they don't like a particular situation or a Priest or even the focus of the Parish. I know you understand the difference between unhappiness with your Parish and the Church. It's such a difficult decision as you put down roots, get to know people and get involved in Parish life. I remember leaving my (Protestant) church and it was so hard to let go of the people but I knew I belonged in the Catholic Church. Although not exactly your situation, I do understand how difficult the decision.

Lisa


#17

You don’t have any obligation to notify the parish that you are leaving, but it’s probably a good idea so that you won’t be on any mailing list, list for envelopes, or list that identifies you as a member of the parish to the Archdiocese.


#18

Canonically speaking, you can only change parishes by moving out of the parish boundaries. You can of course attend another parish church for the Mass, and even sign the registry, but canonically speaking, you will always belong to the parish church nearest you. If that is the one you do not want to attend, too bad. If you or yours need to get married or baptized, there will need to be more documentation as customarily your territorial parish is where one normally would get christened, married, confirmed, etc.


#19

That is true only for Territorial Parishes. Under Canon Law, a parish can be erected as a ‘Personal Parish’. Those do not have territorial boundaries (technically, they are limited only by the diocese) If they are accepted by the pastor at a personal parish, they are no longer Canonically attached to their territorial parish, but are under the pastoral care of the pastor of the community entrusted to him by the diocesan Ordinary. (Canon 519)

Canon 519 places Canonical pastorship based on the community entrusted by the bishop

Can. 519 The pastor (parochus) is the proper pastor (pastor) of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law.

So a bishop might create a parish “St. Whoever” and entrust the community that lives in the area from 7th Ave to 32rd Street and between Main and Elm St. All Catholics in that area (technically, all Baptized Christians) belong to that parish.

The bishop might create another parish, “Our Lady Queen of Everything” and entrust the Esperanto speaking community to that parish.

So an Esperanto speaking person who live in the boundaries outlined for St. Whoever is a member at that parish, UNLESS they go to the pastor of OLQoE and ask him to be their pastor, in which case he truly does become their Canonical pastor.

Personal Parishes are most commonly erected to serve a specific ethnic or linguistic community, but could be established for any just reason as seen fit by the diocesan Ordinary. (Canon 518)

Here in Detroit, not only are there several ethnically based personal parishes ( the nearest parish to me is actually a Polish ethnic personal parish, staffed by priests from Poland and most of the Masses are in Polish). So yes, even though it is the closest parish to me, I am not a member there, as it does not have geographical boundaries,; but a Polish person 20 miles away could be under the Canonical authority of the pastor there.

In addition, two of the parishes that serve the EF community are designated as personal parishes. So the members of those, no matter where in the Archdiocese they live, are Canonically members of those parishes as well.


#20

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