What if your priest doesn't like you

I attend a small rural church. I was a lapsed Catholic for years and have been back for about three years.

The priest doesn’t like me. It has been very obvious to me. He ignores me when I speak to him. After Mass, he acts like shaking my hand is some kind of imposition.

Christmas Day was the worst. First of all, it was the worst Christmas of my life. I lost the person dearest to me I always spent it with in April. Three days before Christmas a neighbor died and I had to go to the viewing which brought back all the pain. Plus I really liked this person.

So I decided rather than be alone, I would go to Mass on Christmas Day rather than Christmas Eve. That was actually a good call.

However, after the Mass, as I was leaving, the pastor was in conversation with another parishioner. He stuck his hand out without even looking at me or stopping the conversation. I said “Merry Christmas” and he just continued talking to the other man as if I didn’t even exist.

Maybe I am making a big deal of this and I shouldn’t. But I don’t even want to go to church any more. I haven’t been to Confession in forever even though he doesn’t treat me like that during Confession. It’s just hard to go to someone you know can’t stand you for some reason even if they can put those feelings aside.

I have also noticed another woman who used to sit in my pew has stopped going to Mass. She was really incensed over something this priest did and the next week she was gone.

I don’t think he’s a good pastor but I have nowhere else to go.

I was doing okay with just ignoring it and going because it’s the Mass that counts. But that Christmas Day experience really hit home. He has no idea what I’m going through and how his actions could effect me. It would have taken five seconds to say “Merry Christmas.”

There is no point in talking to him. He has a very healthy ego. I doubt he would care.

And in addition to that, he has a blog. He made a big deal about it and how we should all read it. I subscribed to it and got the posts in daily emails.

I noticed right after Christmas they stopped. He has taken me off the subscriber list apparently because I checked and there are new posts.

Keep trying :slight_smile: Perhaps there is something about you that is bringing back some kind of memory for him? If that is not the case, then think of this as the Lord bringing you to this Priest as a teacher. Priests still need to learn, too. I was feeling this way ( sort of, in a similar way) about my priest and I really struggled with it. I felt ignored and not worth his time. I would “give up” and then try again, and again. I think we have a good understanding now.

Good luck and may the Holy Spirit be your guide:) Been there, it’s a bad feeling. Don’t let it win.


I am having the same problem with our new priest. I been a life long member of my parish and Im a Sacristan and a altar server. Im always there.
He ignoresme and makes sure that I have nothing to do when I get to the church.
I had it over Christmas weekend. He snubbed me 3x.
I wished him a Merry Christmas and he walked right by me without even a care in the world.
He even to as far as to make one of the servers do everything during the vigil mass while me and the other server set on the other side of the sanctuary doing nothing throughout the mass.
Then he had the never to tell me that I need to be straighten out because I didn’t agree with something he does.

I’m searching for a new parish at this time.

I guess we are in the same boat. :mad:

Try not to take these matters to heart. Don’t let ignorance and bad manners get between you and the Holy Sacrament. You perhaps have to deal with his behavior moments at a time. That’s a small price to pay.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Remember though that our priests are very busy over Christmas (and Easter) and may not realize when their actions seem rude.

If you haven’t said anythign to yourpriest about your loss, he doesn’t know. He did shake your hand even though he was in conversation. He didn’t interrupt to say Merry Christmas, but he may have not wanted to seem rude to the other man.

You say he is not this way in confession, which is very good. Do not let your personal feelings get in the way of receiving the sacraments! Pray for your priest, if he is the only one in a spread out parish, he is likely often tired and behind schedule.

You don’t say if his blog is uplifting or inspiring to you at all. He may use it as a way to connect easily with his spread out parishioners. If you stopped getting emails, its probably just a technical glitch. Don’t assume he deliberately unsubscribed you! Continue to read it if it is helpful (or if you get parish news that way). Do other spiritual reading if it is not inspiring to you.

If you only speak to him before or after Mass, he may just be distracted. Also, we are all human -even him- and naturally gravitate to people we have more in common with. If he speaks to other parishioners, they are probably people he’s known longer and is more comfortable with. Or he may just be a bit introverted and not comfortable making chit-chat, despite the blog and your assesment of his ego.

Pray for him and I will pray for you.

Sounds like he was in the middle of a conversation with someone else and thus was distracted when you interrupted.

You are very lonely and I sympathise with you but a parish priest is usually a very busy person and honestly will not have the time to give you the friendship and companionship you are seeking. You need to fulfill these needs in some other way, perhaps get involved in the social life of your parish by joining one of the lay organisations or attending some RCIA classes or any other events that take place there and get to know other members of the laity.

If a priest does not give you the attention you want from him it should not matter, we don’t go to church to be pals with the priest we go to worship God. I have not had a single conversation other than during confession with either of the priests of my current parish and its been over a year now, it is not important, not why I am a Catholic and not why I go to that parish. I go there because it is the closest church where I can find God present in the tabernacle.

Why not set up an appointment with him and discuss the matter? Clear the air. He may not realize how you feel or that he had “snubbed” you. I know how busy our priests are, not just at this time of yrear, but all year. If he was in a conversation with someone else, then you interrupted him. I would have just walked by. I remember interrupting a conversatoin a priest was having with someone else and I felt like such a jerk afterward.
The Mass is the most important aspect of our lives. We should not give up on our church because of a priest that we deem doesn’t like us.

I had a similar problem with priest once. The core issue in this case was that he could not abide an intellectual approach to faith, and so he could not stand me. He once told me I was like Thomas Aquinas, and that this was not a compliment. He also used the one time I went to confession to him to give a litany of all the reasons he thought people aren’t likely to like me (again, mainly focused on his opposition to anything hinting of the intellectual). I have a very hard time interacting with people except through factual conversations.

Anyway, I was forced to take an impersonal approach to him as essentially a sacrament dispenser with whom there clearly could be no personal relationship besides animosity on his side and resignation on my side. I haven’t had a similar problem with any other priest before or since. Sometimes this is just a situation we have to endure.

As opposed to what, a sentimental approach?

Too bad. There could be so many reasons. He doesn’t treat you that way in confession though, so I think that’s most important. I love my priest for the things he has done - his learning, his dedication, his sermons that actually teach us things, I wouldn’t care if he ignored me. Just my 2 cents.

Better expressed as seeking to know God with the heart rather than the intellect.

If memory serves, St Thomas Aquinas himself had a great disagreement and falling out with St Bonaventure over this very question.

Both are great saints and Doctors of the Church, so we certainly can’t say either of them was wrong :slight_smile:

I would sit down with him (via appointment, so you have a little while) and have a man-to-man talk with him. As for the emails, maybe he’s having problems with the email subscription list. I sometimes do with my blog. As for everything else, I was in this priest’s shoes a while back, and hurt many close to me without even knowing it. Thankfully, a good friend of mine sat me down and told me what he saw and felt, and instantly, I realized what I had been doing.

Now it may be very well that he just doesn’t like you. But don’t assume that. Human nature is very complicated sometimes. You’ll be in my prayers.

Conflicts with clergy are always difficult. I’ve had some and they aren’t fun. Sometimes clergy aren’t even aware of what they are doing. The fact that your name is no longer on the subscription for your minister’s blog could be an innocent slip up. I suggest that you pray about it, put the situation in God’s hands and then when you feel it is time, make an appointment with him and talk it out.

Talking it out will open the doors for two way communication. He will have a choice to listen and take it as a learning opportunity or he could be a total jerk about it. I don’t know the person so I don’t know how he will react but at least you’ll be able to find some peace. Church is like a family, when conflicts arise, the best thing a person can do is bring it to whoever’s attention and with a caring loving heart, talk it out. Depending on the outcome, there are channels you can proceed with. Often when a person has a personality problem with their minister, they aren’t alone. I’ve witnessed some nasty stuff inside the Evangelical circles and it hasn’t been pretty.

If you do decide to leave, pray about it and be willing to stay if the spirit says stay. Leave when the spirit says leave. By following the spirit, God will help you through this difficult time.

God bless,

But MC…your last line is probably the best advice for Mass…seek not the face of the priest but the face of Almighty God.:thumbsup:

Haha! That’s just my signature, but it fits quite well here!

Priests are just as human as the rest of us. There could be any number of reasons that he is acting like this, but until you call him on it, you’ll never know.

If it’s really stealing your peace of mind, you need to get an appointment with him and let him know in plain language how he is making you feel. You need to clear the air with him, and give him a chance to either explain himself or apologize,

If he does neither, that’s his call; not yours, but at least you will know exactly where you stand, and from there, you will be able to regain your peace of mind.

Trust me. Talk to him. As I said in my above post, I was told I was acting like I had a big ego, and didn’t really realize it. Just. Talk. To. Him.

You know some Priests are outstanding, some poor, some communicate and follow the rules and some are a loose cannon. Take time to know then trust.

God Bless.


Be “courteously blunt” if need be. “Father, I can’t help but get the feeling that you don’t like me, because __________________”.


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