What do you do when a priest tells you to leave?

I have a very difficult issue going on. I was involved in an inappropriate relationship fifteen years ago. I repented of my sins, have a very active prayer life, was going to many parish functions, and then someone in my former parish found out about it, word got to my current parish priest, and now he wants me out. He not only avoids me, he will put a paper up to his face to avoid looking at me. He had a sermon one day that pertained to my situation. He is a monsignor, very arrogant and bombastic. Talking with him is not an option. I went to confession one day and told him about my past, which I had previously confessed, and he told me that people will never accept you, you need to move. We have lived in this area for 35 years. The scandal is out all over. I have nowhere else to go to Mass in about a 50-mile radius from where I live. My family, friends, and acquaintances all know what a dreadful soul I am.

Should I stop going to Mass entirely since this upsets the priest so much? I have been going to other parishes but do get recognized. I understand all about “consequences” for my sins, but there is no peace anymore to be had at the area Catholic churches. People are not very forgiving. I have learned one thing, if you ever wonder if gossip goes on amongst the clergy, it certainly does. I’m not blaming them. I take full responsibility for my actions. I just do not know what the Church expects of me at this time.

Assuming your report here is accurate, this priest and any other clergy involved in this harassment have been completely out of line. I don’t know what happened fifteen years ago, but even a paroled murderer should not be treated in such a manner as you have described you have been treated for an “inappropriate relationship.”

At this point, I recommend calling your local diocesan chancery and asking to speak to the vicar for clergy. The person filling this position is usually a priest who assists the bishop in overseeing the local clergy. This person should definitely be informed about the problem, and you should ask if he will arrange a meeting for you with the bishop. If he proves unreceptive, ask to speak to the bishop. If the diocese will not help you, I recommend contacting the St. Joseph Foundation, a Catholic apostolate that assists Catholics in defending and upholding their rights in the Church.

Our prayers are with you. God bless.

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