Where are the standards?


#1

Yesterday during a homily my deacon used the lord's name in vain, twice. When I wanted to talk to father about it he told me to email the deacon directly, like he didn't want any part of it. I mean come on he blasphemed right in front of the tabernacle in front of 150+ people, including youth and children. I think that my deacon is a good man and hopefully will listen when I muster the courage to talk to or email him. I know in the American culture our Father's name is used in frivolous ways and the saying 'oh my ...' is almost interchangebly used with 'Wow'. But next time people tell you it isn't a big deal ask them how much they like it when their kids walk around their house all day saying their name for fun or crying out for help when they don't need it, just to get you in the room. How much more disrespectful is it to our Holy Lord?

I have a worry as well that my priest spends more time reading secular books about great people in history than he does about the lives of the saints. I have even had questions about the prayer cards that are free to take at our parish and when I asked him about them he told me that he didn't know anything about that topic either and walked away. He has yet to give me an answer.

I have also heard my priest say to use your oil change as a reminder to go to confession, once every 3 months or so. I can't go more than a week without it and I usually need it again by Mon. or Tues. after going on Sat. I couldn't imagine taking the Eucharist for another 2-3 months in a state of mortal sin and thinking that it is perfectly okay. Isn't it a sacrilege to take the Eucharist at all in a state of mortal sin much less repeated times. That's why we have closed communion, so you don't desecrate the body and blood by taking it unworthily. Different lay authors generally advise once a month if not more.

My wife went to a different mass yesterday and walked away from the homily thinking that that particular priest had come down with 'Pharisee Syndrome' despite the old testament reading about the warning to the priests from our Lord and Father. And the New Testament reading about how the pharisees thought they were so cool because they were pharisees.

Not to mention parishoners not bowing to the blood, blaspheming during the mass, or texting during the mass. I know that I need to pray for these people but I feel like it wont really matter because they don't seem to listen to God when he is right in front of them much less during their day-to-day lives.

I know that these great men of the cloth are busy running parish budgets, private schools, ministries, building committees, etc... but unfortunately when I think of the most Catholic people at different parishes only one priest comes near to the top of the lists. I love my priest and I trust him and his obedience to the Church and the Holy father, but it seems that he could be more catholic than he is or wants to be. These problems seem quite discouraging when looked at all at the same time. These things break my heart when I see the preisthood falling away from even the most devout life possible.

I am open to what ever you guys want to say. Am I am being to hard on them or am I justified in holding them to a higher standard because of their vocation?


#2

It seems that you know an awful lot about what other people are thinking and doing. You know how much time your priest spends in reading different types of books – how is that? You can’t possibly be watching him 24/7, can you"?
You know for certain that people blaspheme during Mass, and text during Mass – are you watching everyone else instead of participating prayerfully in the Mass?

Has it occurred to you that maybe someone else put out the holy cards? A priest can’t always know every single little detail.

As for confession every 3 months – that would be a huge increase for a lot of people. What’s wrong with encouraging that?

"It seems that he could be more catholic than he is or wants to be. These problems seem quite discouraging when looked at all at the same time. These things break my heart when I see the preisthood falling away."
Perhaps you could spend a little more time paying attention to God, and a little less time being critical of Father. Just a suggestion.


#3

[quote="zorrosidekick, post:1, topic:261201"]
Yesterday during a homily my deacon used the lord's name in vain, twice. When I wanted to talk to father about it he told me to email the deacon directly, like he didn't want any part of it. I mean come on he blasphemed right in front of the tabernacle in front of 150+ people, including youth and children. I think that my deacon is a good man and hopefully will listen when I muster the courage to talk to or email him. I know in the American culture our Father's name is used in frivolous ways and the saying 'oh my ...' is almost interchangebly used with 'Wow'. But next time people tell you it isn't a big deal ask them how much they like it when their kids walk around their house all day saying their name for fun or crying out for help when they don't need it, just to get you in the room. How much more disrespectful is it to our Holy Lord?

[/quote]

This is unacceptiable, however it has become venacular. I try to offer a pray when it's used especally scandolousy, but ignore it otherwise. The two most holiest people I know, a nun and a guy who's practically a monk do from time to time.

I have a worry as well that my priest spends more time reading secular books about great people in history than he does about the lives of the saints. I have even had questions about the prayer cards that are free to take at our parish and when I asked him about them he told me that he didn't know anything about that topic either and walked away. He has yet to give me an answer.

I'm sorry but what in the world does what your priest does during his free time is none of your business. They are not expected to spend 24/7 dedicated to studying the church. I know an extremly holy non-diocean monk who loves St. Teresa. He's franciscan so he knows about St. Francis. Ask him about St. Vincent, St. Bernadette, etc...and he's clueless. He might feel pestered by you.

I have also heard my priest say to use your oil change as a reminder to go to confession, once every 3 months or so. I can't go more than a week without it and I usually need it again by Mon. or Tues. after going on Sat. I couldn't imagine taking the Eucharist for another 2-3 months in a state of mortal sin and thinking that it is perfectly okay. Isn't it a sacrilege to take the Eucharist at all in a state of mortal sin much less repeated times. That's why we have closed communion, so you don't desecrate the body and blood by taking it unworthily. Different lay authors generally advise once a month if not more.

We are required to go to confession ONCE A YEAR. Not weekly. If you are committing mortal sins with that frequency (twice a week) you are either a) scupulous or b) danger to society. Either way you're in need of a psycologist.

My wife went to a different mass yesterday and walked away from the homily thinking that that particular priest had come down with 'Pharisee Syndrome' despite the old testament reading about the warning to the priests from our Lord and Father. And the New Testament reading about how the pharisees thought they were so cool because they were pharisees.

Bit harsh, don't you think?

Not to mention parishoners not bowing to the blood, blaspheming during the mass, or texting during the mass. I know that I need to pray for these people but I feel like it wont really matter because they don't seem to listen to God when he is right in front of them much less during their day-to-day lives.

Pay attention to yourself. I have texted during mass. Texted when my dad landed saftely, to comfort my friend who was going into open-heart surgery, texted to be consoled during mass after a death of someone...I couldn't of made it through mass miles away from home without those texts.

You really just don't know.

I know that these great men of the cloth are busy running parish budgets, private schools, ministries, building committees, etc... but unfortunately when I think of the most Catholic people at different parishes only one priest comes near to the top of the lists. I love my priest and I trust him and his obedience to the Church and the Holy father, but it seems that he could be more catholic than he is or wants to be. These problems seem quite discouraging when looked at all at the same time. These things break my heart when I see the preisthood falling away from even the most devout life possible.

This is VERY judgmental. The holiest priest you know dosn't qualify as good enough? I think you're looking at this with tunnel vision. Being a priest is one of the hardest jobs out there. Appreciate him and maybe he will have time for "relgious stuff" as you seem to be so attached to.

I am open to what ever you guys want to say. Am I am being to hard on them or am I justified in holding them to a higher standard because of their vocation?

Yes, you're being to hard. No you are not justified.


#4

I think you need to remember that not everyone is in the same place spiritually. You may be farther advanced on the road of spirituality than many other people. God may be working things in your life that he isn’t in others, simply because they’re not ready for it yet. Be patient with those who aren’t as far along as you are. Remember what you were like a few years ago and see how you’ve grown. Then remember all the people who have been patient with you on your journey, and try to apply that patience to those around you.

Scout :tiphat:


#5

My priest will usually mention the books he is currently reading during his homilies, and they are usually good points with inspirational people who deal with tough problems like supreme court justices or other rare and good people in positions of power. I always enjoy the homilies with points from C.S. Lewis or other christian writers. I just think that the saints or other upstanding catholics should be used as a role model as opposed to run of the mill good people.

As for the other parishoners, when they share a pew with you and participate in such activities or talk/laugh during the homily loud enough to be distracting you can know what they are doing or saying. We all notice the other people in the pews with us, especially if they are being loud or talking.

I also know that every 3 months would be a big increase for a lot of people, when my wife converted she only went once a year because that’s all she was told she needed. Now she goes about twice a month if not more, and there is a notable difference in both of our behaviors afterward. My parish has about 950 active parishoners in it and about 600 inactive ones. When I go to confession on saturdays there is usually a line and sometimes our associate pastor will get to the mass a little late because of it. That is a good problem to have. But confession is only offered for about 2 hours a week and I think that sends a message to the congregation that it is not that important. JPII wrote an encyclical on it in the 80’s calling it the number one mission of the church to promote and encourage reconciliation in all parts of life, particularly for the Eucharist. I am just trying to say that it seems to me that confession is falling away in this country and it is probably the best and easiest fix the church can offer for us, vocations and laity alike. I have heard that some popes if not all have gone everyday. When I became catholic this year that told me that it was important and I looked into it more. I found a wonderful book by Scott Hahn called Lord, Have Mercy, which I encourage everyone who reads this to find, I found it at my local library. I guess I am of the mindset that if you take away every excuse people have for it than they will either come or not, then we will find the real followers of Jesus and his church. In some dioceses around this country they have instituted ‘Mercy Mondays’ where they have communal penance services once a month and have had great turnouts. St. John Vianney used to sit in his confessional 12 or more hours a day and the french government had to build a new track of railroad to his town because of the number of people that were going to see him in the middle of nowhere France.

I know this sounds critical but I don’t mean it as destructive criticism. I am not sure how to fix it but I can see these problems that need fixing and i want to do something about it while also encouraging people to the faith.


#6

Scout, thank you for your encouragement.

i will do that.


#7

I think you are being a bit rude and judgmental yourself. What if someone has an addiction to masturbation or some other lustful addiction? What if someone is addicted to drugs, or is an alcoholic? The urges for every one of these addictions don’t just magically disappear for three months once you’ve gone to confession. Sometimes, you fall two hours after going to confession. Stop being judgmental about this. To loosely quote Father Benedict Groeschel: “If you haven’t been the prodigal son yet, get ready, because you will be.” It takes frequent confession to get rid of addictions, and no, the need for frequent confession does not make you scrupulous or a “danger to society”, and it definitely doesn’t mean you must go to a psychologist. It took me two and a half years to stop masturbating, and it took frequent confession and prayer to do it. I had to go to confession every week, and if I didn’t I couldn’t receive the Eucharist. It’s not as easy as one might think. It’s not medically classified as an addiction because scientists take it lightly. It’s classified as an addiction because it’s sometimes harder to break away from than drug and alcohol addictions.


#8

Just a note, addiction reduces culpability. When an addiction is present one of the three requirements for a mortal sin is absent. That of “free choice of the will”.

Also just because you (using the general you not the specific you here) need to go to confession frequently does not mean that everyone else does and you have no right to judge them for it just as they shouldn’t judge you for it.

Also singing out how often you go to confession and how much others do not strikes me as a case of the “Pharisee and the Publican”.


#9

Yesterday during a homily my deacon used the lord’s name in vain, twice. When I wanted to talk to father about it he told me to email the deacon directly, like he didn’t want any part of it. I mean come on he blasphemed right in front of the tabernacle in front of 150+ people, including youth and children. I think that my deacon is a good man and hopefully will listen when I muster the courage to talk to or email him. I know in the American culture our Father’s name is used in frivolous ways and the saying ‘oh my …’ is almost interchangebly used with ‘Wow’. But next time people tell you it isn’t a big deal ask them how much they like it when their kids walk around their house all day saying their name for fun or crying out for help when they don’t need it, just to get you in the room. How much more disrespectful is it to our Holy Lord?

I must add that we do not really know if the deacon blasphemed. All we have is the word of one poster who does not post what the deacon actually said and then even if he did post it we still would not know the truth of the matter as we only have one side of the story here. Especially given the judgmental nature of the whole post.

I think this thread is in the wrong forum and have reported that.

I also must add that it is attitudes like this that I believe are causing many to not follow a vocation into the religious life/priesthood.


#10

I personally also am a little bit disturbed by the common usage of "Oh my … " but there’s not much I can do about it.

Overall, though, OP I think you are being a little harsh and quite judgmental. I agree that what your priest does in his free time isn’t something you should be worrying about, unless you know of something he does that is actually wrong. I don’t know exactly what you mean by “secular” books but there is nothing wrong with a priest reading books not related to the Church.

As for confession, Yes, as some people have posted, not everyone has the same need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and yes, it is only required once per year. However, I myself wonder a bit at that requirement. I’m sure everyone’s heard this before (well, at least I have heard this many times): compare washing your body (taking a shower) to “washing” your soul. Many of us wouldn’t even go a day without showering. Now I know that it is not necessary to go to confession every day, but it’s the same sort of idea. Why do we not cleanse our soul more often? Three months seems like a long time to go without cleansing our souls. If you aren’t convinced that the Sacrament of Reconciliation should be utilized more often than it is required, then compare it to the Holy Eucharist. That too is only required once per year, if I’m not mistaken, but (assuming you keep the 3rd commandment) most receive Communion once per week. Why can we not at least try to receive Reconciliation half as often, or even just once a month?

In other words, I agree with the OP in that respect, that the gift of Reconciliation should be utilized (much much) more often than required. Very true that once very three months would be an increase for many people, but IMHO priests should emphasize utilizing it at least once per month. I supposed that’s just my uneducated opinion, but do you see what I mean?

Then again OP, I can understand where you’re coming from - I tend to be a bit judgmental myself - but I would do my best to try to give anyone benefit of the doubt and just pray if you’re worried about something.

Oh, and one last thing - IS it really and actually wrong to hold priests to a higher standard? I ask this in all honesty.


#11

Personally I think yes it is. How do you hold someone to a higher standard than you hold for yourself without judging that individual?

Priests, really all clergy and religious, are sinful human beings.

We are all Christians, we should all strive to live that life.

Holding someone, anyone, to a higher standard is your issue not theirs. Its your issue when they do not live up to some standard that you have for them and not really their issue.

I think this would say more about you than about them.


#12

Perhaps you should view the use of OMG as an ejaculatory prayer. Because, well, that’s very well what it can be depending on the intent of the one using it. Never assume intent.


#13

OK, thanks for the response. I figured someone might say something like that.


#14

I wasn’t trying to brag or anything. Having to go to confession that often was not very fun, and I never enjoyed it too much. I go often now because I enjoy it, but I don’t judge anyone that doesn’t go often. Not going often is perfectly fine as long as you don’t have the need. I just like to take the example of Blessed John Paul II, who went everyday. I simply love the Sacrament and have gotten very close to it. If you choose to go once a year, I don’t really care. I’m simply an every week if possible person.


#15

I agree completely. The judgment and impossibly high standards that many lay-people have for Priests and Religious makes all of them look bad. Normally, as a Brother, people would except you to pray nine hours a day, and to levitate off the ground out of love for the Lord, and when you fail these expectations, they judge you for not being holy enough. It’s a sad situation, really.


#16

Wow, you go to confession a lot. I go once or twice a year.


#17

Did the Deacon say “Oh my God” ? This is not a violation of the second commandment here is a cut-and-paste from Fr. Vincent Serpa from the Ask An Apologist Forum

***Dear Steven,

No it is not breaking the second commandment unless you intend to dishonor God by saying it. It can even be a prayer, if you want it to.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P. ***

As to your other points I am sorry you are so upset. I will pray for your peace of mind going to Mass is an occassion for joy and it seems like you are getting upset and distracted. I know what this feels like, it is hard. Please be assured of my prayers.


#18

At least he is promoting confession. I myself need to start going more often actually:coffeeread:


#19

Blessed Pope John Paul II went every single day, and Saint Padre Pio said that one of the easiest ways to become holy was weekly confession at least, and more if possible. I’m not saying going once or twice a year makes you a bad person, I’m simply saying frequent confession is a very good thing, even if you aren’t confessing Mortal sins.


#20

“Oh, and one last thing - IS it really and actually wrong to hold priests to a higher standard? I ask this in all honesty.”

I think it is wrong to hold someone to a standard that they could not reasonably attain. And the saints are the best example of this, they were no different than us except in their faith, faith which through their example is proven possible. We all know that being a devout catholic is not for the faint of heart. From little things to bigger things.

Sometimes it would be a lot easier if you mowed your lawn on Sunday but that is servile labor. Sometimes you forget it’s friday until you sit down with your cheeseburger and are now morally obligated to either do something different that day or save it for later or throw it away. And sometimes an annulment hasn’t yet gone through and you aren’t sure how to live around your spouse given the past romantic nature of the relationship. Other times the annulment doesn’t go through and you choose to either ignore the church( generally a bad idea) or forsake the relationship you really want to have.

I have the mind set, when it comes to GOD, that if you could/can you should, because He is always calling us to be better than we are. I believe that is why Father tells you to pray the rosary everyday, because it makes your life better. That is why JPII went to confession everyday, it makes your life better. It is why Patrick Coffin tells us to “Be a Saint” at the end of the radio show, because being a saint makes your life better. And quite frankly since the saints have come from almost every nationality from almost every time in history there is not a good reason to follow the examples of people that proved it could be done. Even ghandi gave us a little instruction in the matter when he said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I would personally rather hear GOD tell me, “Son, you didn’t have to…” instead of “Son, you should have…”

I also think that we should help our clergy to better themselves in much the same way that they help us. Our kids are not so different in their concupiscence from grown adults. We want them to go to heaven too and the old testament reading last week told us that GOD holds them to a higher standard than the rest of us. We would do well in remembering that admonishing sinners, laity or not, in a loving manner that does not turn them away from our lord’s holy church but closer to it is a corporal act of mercy. We should do what ever we can to avoid the exhibition of pride, judgementality, or arrogance in the things that we can not be flexible on.

Always give clergy the benefit of the doubt, assume they are better than you, because they decided to live a life devoted to GOD and his chosen people. Given their sinful nature they also have planks in their eyes and should be made aware of them, albeit hopefully less often than the rest of us.

I just want to say that given their human shortcomings i still have much respect for anyone who wears the cloth, so ling as their lives do not make a mockery of it. If I were a better man I would be a priest but I don’t think I am capable of the bodily discipline they must take on as part of their vocation.


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