About two years ago, my parish got a new parochial vicar who had just been ordained. We will call him Fr Bill for simplicity’s sake. Immediately after he came, he was instantly a huge hit with the teenagers, while simultaneously a huge problem for the elderly members of the church. He was outgoing and knowledgable, but at the same time arrogant and insensitive. My wife and I wrote off the character flaws as natural human weakness, and assumed that as a new priest he would naturally get better as time went by. However, this is not case. As time has gone on, his arrogance has increased exponentially to the point where he makes rude comments about our pastor and deacons behind their backs, in what seems to be a power grab.
Another disturbing trend is that “Fr Bill” has become extremely… Close… With five teenage male members of the parish. All the children are homeschooled, and at Fr bills instruction, began to serve daily mass. Three or four times a week after mass he takes them out to breakfast, where they will stay for hours apparently “talking about life.” My son, who is also homeschooled, used to be best friends with two of the children, but now, the “Fr Bill club” refused to Aknowledge him. In fact, the boys never seem to interact with anyone outside of their own new group. In what little Interactions my son has with his old friends, Fr Bill is described as “a new best friend”, an “older brother”, and a “third parent.” They also go to confession weekly with him, and defend him so aggressively at any perceived slight that huge fights have been started over a simple sentence.
My wife and I have forbidden our children to go to confession with Fr Bill, or to spend any time with him outside of mass. Is this justified? Many other parents feel the same way, and a few have even talked about leaving the parish out of concern. Fr Bill remains hugely popular with most of the other teenagers in the parish, though my son says that even now many teens are starting to view him as “slightly creepy.”
Should my wife and I do anything, or let this run its course? It is entirely possible that it is a mountain out of molehill situation. Another interesting fact is that Fr Bill completely ignores my whole family, something which has started quite recently…
The fact he spends so much time with a particular group of teenage boys is very Unusual. The fact that he avoids certain families is even more strange. All of this combined with his unabashed arrogance, my wife and I are feeling very worried about the future of our parish. Any advice would be hugely appreciated. Thank you.