Stepping away from church for awhile....

I am so disgusted with how my family has been treated by certain members of our church administration INCLUDING the priest, that we are stepping away for awhile. Just the THOUGHT of attending mass at that “church” makes my blood pressure rise and causes thoughts that are not very nice about certain people in charge.

Let me explain…
For nearly 20 years, DH and I have been faithful members of our parish. We have volunteered for darn near every ministry at one time or another. My DH has volunteered as a catechist for the confirmation group for 18 years. The parents and kids love his approach, and every year, parents contact the DRE to request that their kids get placed in his group. Many of those kids go on to be very visible leaders as well. Our kids have grown up watching us volunteer, and when they were old enough, they also started volunteering. The 2 who are confirmed are EMHCs, ushers, go on mission trips, have been asked to LEAD youth group talks, have been youth leaders for junior high retreats, etc. We have been a VERY involved family.

Over the past several months, DH has been very sick. (you may remember my post about him being jaundiced). Also, this past summer the woman who was the DRE was basically “demoted” to overseeing just the confirmation program, and another woman was hired to be the DRE. So, DH was told this week by the newly hired DRE that his services as a catechist were no longer required. She said she felt the kids he was teaching were being shown “favortism” and that others wanted to step in. Yet, in the bulletin, there are pleading requests for catechists for the confirmation program and even after mass last week, they were begging for catechists…In the meantime, several highschoolers had signed up for a project, including 2 of my kids. Everyone who signed up was called to participate EXCEPT my 2 sons. This decision came from the YOUTH MINISTER. When we called the priest about this, he basically said because DH was so sick, everyone thought it best we “take a break”. Um, hello…my kids are not sick. They were looking forward to doing this project with their friends; instead, they are being told by the administration and by the PRIEST “thanks, but no thanks. Your services are not required.” My kids are 16 and 18. Don’t expect them to suddenly come running to the church now when they need something, because they have had the church’s door closed on them.

I am so completely disgusted with how the administration and the priest have handled this situation, that we cannot in good conscience attend at this church any longer. Two decades of faithful service…down the toilet.

And then they wonder why their church attendance keeps dropping. We have found out this weekend that we were not the first family they have done this to. Apparently, they want “new blood” in the system. So they are dismissing all the “old” families and volunteers. This summer they had an “increase mass attendance” campaign because the numbers of people attending keep falling. Now I know why!! They are chasing the old families away.

My youngest son will NOT be confirmed with this church. Evil has certainly entered its doors, and it even appears to have consumed the priest to allow this atrocity.

Obvious question you knew was going to get asked: You can’t go to a different parish?

The tacklessly too soon comment: This is why it’s best that all these sort of “ministries” are left to the priests.

I am sorry this has happened to you. I will pray for you and your family because you know this attitude is not condusive to eternal life; justified, but, not condusive.

I’m not a fan of DRE’s because they are essentially worthless and only think they wield authority the Church gives them.

Incidentally, what is going on with your husband? Is he alright? Has he seen a doctor?

I’m sorry you’re feeling so bad. I’m about to go pray and I’ll keep your family in my intentions and ask Our Lady of Sorrows to pray for you, as well. Love, Kimberly

Stay strong and don’t leave the Church! go to a different parish if this is so bad. I’m not sure what you mean by step away from Church for awhile, but don’t miss Mass because of this.

You are in our prayers. God Bless!

I hope this church’s priest and leaders haven’t gotten ideas from Rick Warren and similar Protestant church-growth management consultants. They advise (Protestant) church boards and pastors on “transitioning”. i.e. how to wrest leadership from those who have built up the community over decades, and get control into the hands of their marketing teams and gimmick peddlers. Obviously the Catholic Church protects her faithful against complete makeover of liturgy, doctrine etc. in this manner, but there may be an attempt afoot to introduce heterodox teaching materials or what not.

In Rick Warren’s words:

“I’m saying some people are going to have to die or leave. Moses had to wander around the desert for 40 years while God killed off a million people before he let them go into the Promised Land. That may be brutally blunt, but it’s true. There may be people in your church who love God sincerely, but who will never, ever change.”

Full article reproduced from Warren’s site:

I am also sorry that this has happened to you and your family. Problem is, you are not alone. This stuff goes on, and-it-should-not.

A change of parish may be a pleasant surprise. It was for me!

I’m hoping that this comment came out of frustration; and yours is a very frustrating experience. Please try to remember that the service is in service of our Lord; not any priest, not any particular parish. The Lord works in mysterious ways…perhaps this is his way of using your and your family’s talents in a different parish where they are more needed? Only one way to find out… :thumbsup:

That’s a pretty broad comment to diss all DRE’s. :rolleyes:

your anger is understandable and justifiable, but your actions are not. While you have described a good reason to consider switching to another parish, you are allowing one or two people to not only divorce you from the entire Church, the Body of Christ, and what is even more grave, denying the sacraments to your children, and teaching them the way to react to a personal hurt on the part of someone in the Church is to leave entirely, and separate oneself from communion. Not acceptable for any Catholic parent, much less one that wants to teach young people.

I am speaking as a DRE so I have been on that side too. Knowing I only have one side of the story, my sympathies are still entirely with you and your family, but I can see the position of the person who was “demoted” and the dilemma of a pastor caught in the middle as well. I feel there is more to the story and that you deserve the courtesy of a personal interview with the pastor where he listens to your side, because I don’t think he has heard it and he needs to, and to give you the full story, which you have not heard yet.

Sounds like there is a lot more going on with that program and he may not be in the loop. I am even more concerned that it sounds as if a dedicated volunteer who became sick, and his family, was ignored by his parish at a time of need, and the lack of pastoral care is even more disturbing.

Will be praying for all of you and that those who need it in your parish are given a rapid education on how to treat volunteers in short order.

I truly wish my job were not needed, that all parishes tithed and practiced stewardship spirituality so all Catholic children could be in parochial school where they belong, and CCD would be unneccesary. Then the school principal could take all the grief.

Yes, because one man is able to pull strings for a whole bunch of unrelated people over the course of two decades… [/sarcasm]

Pray for the priest and for the parish.

How very interesting. I had exactly the same thought when I read the OP. I think we’re on to something.

My husband and I were evangelical Protestant for over 40 years. We were faithful and hyper-involved members of several churches (moved to three different cities over the years).

We were kicked out of the last evangelical church that we belonged to. There was a tribunal, and pastors and other men that we didn’t even know and who didn’t know us tried us with trumped-up evidence and ousted us. From then on, we were shunned.

I haven’t been around Catholic churches long enough to know if this kind of bad treatment commonly occurs. But I know for a fact that it happens in evangelical Protestant churches. I’ve attended seminars on church growth where the teachers lectured on how to get rid of entrenched deadwood that’s holding back church growth."

I would advise the OP to find another parish. Don’t try to tough it out, especially if DH is ill. It’s simply too hurtful to continue to sit under the leadership of the people who have hurt you. Find a parish where you can be at peace. Do not necessarily seek a lot of involvement right off the bat-just allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into the areas of ministry that He has planned for you.

The particular parish in the OP will eventually implode because of the hurtful policies and practices. People can put up with a lot of bad stuff: liturgical abuses, bad music, boring homilies, and leaking roofs, but people cannot continue to thrive in an atmosphere where there is no love. It will end eventually, and perhaps then it will start over and you can go back.

Oh–one more thing. Don’t gossip about the old parish. Put on the Great Stone Face and tell people that it’s in the past now.

It’s OK to vent and cry with a few very close, old friends. But if you tell the story to everyone you meet in your town/city, eventually it will get to the anti-Catholic Protestants, and they’ll have even more fuel to throw on the “Whore of Babylon” fire. Also, the story could turn people away who are considering Catholicism.

I do think it’s appropriate to WARN people who are new to the faith who are heading to this hurtful parish. I would ask them to meet with you privately, in your home or theirs, and with drawn curtains and NO children around, tell them what you experienced, and tell them that you feel that some hurtful practices are routinely done at that parish. Ask them to consider moving to another parish that is more traditional and friendly. They may reject your advice, but at least you’ve done your duty. If they run into trouble, they’ll remember your advice and perhaps get out before things blow up in their faces. And perhaps they won’t run into trouble–perhaps they will have the talents needed to break up the practices and restore harmony.

From being on the adimistrative side of the parish, I can almost be certain was not to be unfealing toward your family. In my experinance, when a family member is ill, it effects the energy and well being of the entire family.
You see what happened as a hurtful act, of telling you that your children were not wanted and your family as well. It may be the case, that the Youth minister is looking at all the time that it takes, particularly in confirmation, with not only classes, byut in preparation, that the pastoral thing to do was not to put your family in a possition that later you would have to back out of. It would leave you in an situation that you perhaps would not want to be as well as leaving the church short of catacist.
Step back, pray and give yourself some time to cool off. If you think your children can truely handle these responsibilities, the go back an talk to the pastor. Certainly a compromise can be found to suite you and the parish.


We will be going elsewhere. The parish has been slowly imploding, and this is going to speed things up, because once people realize DH is not teaching, many, many questions will be raised, and I have a feeling people will be angry. Many of them may also leave.

I am not going out of my way to say anything. Friends of my kids have asked them, and we have told our kids to tell them whatever they feel comfortable telling them.

The ironic thing is that many people keep making comments that they hope their kids are in my DH’s group. THey are not yet aware he has been ousted (oh, they are not saying it like that…they are saying something like he “is taking a sabbatical”). When the word gets out what really happened (and it will), it would not surprise me if there will be a revolt. I already personally know of 2 other kids my son’s age who will not be getting confirmed through this church because of this.

God is being squeezed out by Satan in the hearts of the DRE, the demoted woman, and the priest. So we will shake the dust from our feet and move on. It is tragic that the Catholic church thinks it is OK to treat people this poorly. Just how exactly does this bring US closer to Christ? Instead, they are feeding anger, resentment, and bitterness. As far as I am concerned, what they are doing is abusive (especially towards my kids, but willfully excluding them from Youth activities). I am sorry, but when every other single kid who signed up for this program was called and invited in EXCEPT MY KIDS, that is discrimination, exclusion, bullying, and just pure unChristian behavior. And yes, my oldest KNOWS every other kid on the list was called, because he happened to see the list the day before the phone calls were made.

These are very strong words. You need to step back and pray. You have been hurt and your anger is understandable, but we all subject to human failing, including priest and those who serve in the Church. We are also all called to forgive.
A time of prayer, asking God for guidance will lead you in the path you need to go.


Have you tried talking to the chancery? The diocese should have someone in charge of religious education at the chancery level. Ours has one.

I have been where you are and it is not easy. My father has been where your DH is and it has certainly not been easy. In fact, it has gotten to the point where the CDWDS is assisting us with his particular situation.

What I would suggest that you do is leave the parish. Shake the dust off your feet. It is difficult, as you have probably laid down some roots, but, there comes a time when you just need to go. I would also see about having a talk with the chancery, as from what you describe, the problem sounds serious. Do not make it about personalities. Explain the facts and what the rammifications have been to you and your family.

Step away from the parish, but, do not abandon Christ and His Church, for, as St. Peter notes, “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

I don’t understand leaving the wonderful presence of Christ every weekend because of something one parish did. Why not move parishes, if only for a little while?

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