Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't do this to a priest! 7 QuickTakes

- when a priest is visiting your parish- don't go up to him and say, "Wow! That homily was great! I wish you could be our priest instead of too young/too old/too liberal/ too conservative Father X!" What is the visiting priest supposed to say? No matter the situation with the 'bad' priest, they are brothers. Instead of insulting one to compliment the other, just say, "great homily! I really was encouraged/convicted/educated when you pointed out...."

- please don't mention something you have said to a priest in confession while you're in public. If you need clarification on a counseling point, get back to confession. He can't say anything in a crowd even if it is to defend his 'liberal' penance-giving.

- There are bad/goofy/imperfect politicians. There are bad/goofy/imperfect priests.  Respect for the idea and role of the politician and/or priest helps us overlook the humanity of the specific politician or priest. I respect the US President because of his office. Even more importantly, I respect Catholic priests because I believe that they are in persona Christi when they administer the sacraments. So no, don't make fun of priests. 

- if your priest happens to have a family, this doesn't mean that he is unavailable for extra activities. Just make it clear if you expect the entire family or if only he is invited. With our family, it is about 50/50. For example, caroling in December is usually a family affair while house blessings in January are a time for Father to 'team build' with parishioners on his own.

- don't say- "wow, if you take that on, you'll be divorced (if married) or dead." If your priest's schedule concerns you, maybe you can take some of the load off by performing a practical activity like mowing the church lawn or taking an elderly person a meal . Or maybe he is just an energetic, motivated person who isn't 'burnt out' by the priesthood.

- don't say- "wow layperson so and so is Father X's favorite. They are always working at the altar together. I guess I shouldn't even ask to get involved because layperson so and so does everything the priest doesn't." Think. Maybe layperson so and so is doing practically everything because no one else is stepping up to the plate and he doesn't want Father X to be completely alone. There is work enough for everyone.

- don't badly dent his old Chevy with your luxury SUV on the first Sunday he is at the parish to assert your dominance. Also don't do this after stating to him that you won't be buying him a car like you did the last priest because "you're married. You can take care of yourself." (?!)

but yes, your priest is still a person, so it is a kindness to tell him he has Sunday morning donut on his beard. You don't have to obsess over his non-Armani suit, however. Not everyone takes two hours to preen in the morning.



  1. I love the annual house blessing with the waters from Theophany. Really makes the parish more like a big family. When I was in RC parish with 5000 families I am pretty sure it would have been miraculous for Priests to bless all the homes. In our Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic parish there are only about 95 houses for our two priests to visit. My kids get really excited for Father's visit. Plus it does seem like there are less arguments after the priest goes through with Holy Water blessing the house. I am sure the evil spirits flee.

  2. I have one: If your priest is not married and there doesn't seem to be a lady of the parish who is the "boss" (aka: deacon's wife, office assistant, parish secretary, etc.), please, take it upon yourself to make sure Father's garments are washed and/or dry cleaned every few months. Our priest has told us many stories of covering at other parishes, where the garments are FILTHY and smell horribly. Incense only does so much, folks!

  3. I am incredulous that someone would back into a priest's car to assert dominance, but at the same time who would post that unless it happened?! Unfortunately, I think in any public position like the Priesthood or political office there are bound to be many awkward moments.

  4. the one about the car rendered me speechless... and you know that's pretty hard to do!

  5. OK, will do. Thanks.

  6. Your comments give me an interesting view of your world.... You seem to have some "difficult" parishioners.

    The homily comments, though, make me want to share my favorite exchange that occurred in our parish. A lady very much enjoyed the homily and was effusing to Father after Mass. She said, "Oh, Father! You really should have your homilies published!" He demurred and said, "Well, maybe posthumously." She said, "Well, I just hope it's soon!!!!"

  7. The car thing is amazing - I am always surprised at the nonsense people think is acceptable to do! However, I did want to let you know (as a long time reader and not very long time commentor) that I attended my first Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy, and it was wonderful. Admittedly it was in Ukranian, which I do not speak or understand at all (although I think I moderately successfully imitated the Lord have mercys), but it was really wonderful. It is definitely a pity more Latin rite Catholics do not get a chance to experience it.

  8. I am so happy you commented on my blog, because what a joy to discover yours! So your husband was Anglican and then converted? I always wondered how that worked!! (We are Anglican!)



  9. Rebekka- Hi there! Clink around here and you'll find that we are Byzantine catholic- in union with Rome, but some of our traditions are different like allowing married men to be ordained deacon and then priest


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