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 Post subject: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:03 pm 
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As I have been trying to motivate myself to go to church again I have been thinking about switching churches from Orthodox. My main reason is not theology, because I don't think Orthodoxy is any worse than any other denomination - they are all difficult for somebody who tends to be an atheist. My main reason is that I decided my Orthodox priest was a probably not a Christian and not even a good person. (For the purpose of argument, just assume that any fair-minded person would come to the same conclusion about my priest.)

I have heard people say that the priest isn't important, because God can work through a sinful priest. But surely a priest who is sincere can help his parishioners and a priest who isn't sincere can hurt his parishioners. In college it made a big difference if I had a good professor or a bad professor. I wouldn't mind if this priest would just leave me alone, but he seems to go out of his way to destroy my feeble faith.

If you as a Catholic had a bad priest, would you drive an hour to another Catholic church where you thought the priest was o.k.? In other words is it o.k. to shop priests?


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:11 pm 
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cloudyday wrote:
If you as a Catholic had a bad priest, would you drive an hour to another Catholic church where you thought the priest was o.k.? In other words is it o.k. to shop priests?

That depends. Does the "bad priest" harm my faith? Does he give me bad advice in the confessional? Am I a family man, does he scandalize my wife and children?

I don't think there is any one answer.

In short though there is nothing wrong with assisting at Mass in another parish, even regularly, or going to confession to another priest. The obligation to support your parish materially would still remain.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:48 pm 
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If you feel that your faith is at risk because of this priest, then by all means, seek out another parish with a priest you are more comfortable with. You may be misunderstanding him and/his intentions, but if you feel you are at risk, that is what is important. I wouldn't recommend "priest-shopping" if by that, you mean trying out many priests till you find one that you agree with. But seeking out a priest who would support you in your faith journey should not be a problem. Meanwhile, I would suggest looking out some good, orthodox books that could help you increase your faith, maybe clear up some things for you. I think Bonaventure has posted a reading list of books at the beginning of this forum. Check it out.
Prayers for your journey.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:58 pm 
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Well what does it mean that someone destroys your faith? Are they rude? (Being rude, or seeming to be is not a good reason) Hold you up to impossible standards? Mismanage their parish? What are we talking about?

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:02 pm 
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cloudyday wrote:
As I have been trying to motivate myself to go to church again I have been thinking about switching churches from Orthodox. My main reason is not theology, because I don't think Orthodoxy is any worse than any other denomination


Consider that the Roman Church is not a denomination.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:50 pm 
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sunmumy wrote:
Well what does it mean that someone destroys your faith? Are they rude? (Being rude, or seeming to be is not a good reason) Hold you up to impossible standards? Mismanage their parish? What are we talking about?


It's more serious than being rude, jaded, impatient, lazy, etc (although he is all of those things too). It's not as serious as molesting children. It wasn't just one incident, but many things over two years. It wasn't just me either.

Also, this problem I have with the priest is just a piece of the puzzle. I don't want to imply that I quit going to church because I thought the priest was a phony. But it makes it hard for me to get motivated to go back to that church.

Let me just add, if I was the bishop I wouldn't let him continue as a priest. It's not that he hurt me so much, but just that he disgraced his office as priest. It makes me angry.


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Pepsuber wrote:
... The obligation to support your parish materially would still remain.


Can you explain that? Are you saying that because I was baptized in a certain parish I continue to have a duty to support that parish even if I no longer attend? Or are you saying that the parish is like a taxing authority based on your home's location? (Sorry to make it sound so secular, but I don't know how to interpret what you are saying.)


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:19 pm 
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The core question, I think, is whether the priest is legitimately performing his office -- not whether you like him. And, the bishop, as I understand it, is the one who determines whether the priest is performing his office legitimately or not -- not you. For you, the question should be, I think, whether you can accept the Sacraments from the priest -- not whether you like him.

Having said that, I don't think that you should have your worship and work within your parish obstructed if you just can't get in synch with your priest...you should look to another parish. But, be advised, that priests come and go and part of your commitment to the Church is to be resolute in weekly attendance and partaking of the sacraments -- without regard to who the priest is.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:37 am 
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Hypothetically if I switched to Catholicism, I assume I would need to explain my reasoning to the Catholic priest. I have a feeling the Catholic priest would think I should stay Orthodox if I'm not converting for theological reasons. Similarly if I switched to a different Orthodox parish I have a feeling the Orthodox priest would tell me to go back to my parish. All the Orthodox priests in the area know each other and would tend to assume I'm the problem rather than the priest.

I really wish I could describe this priest as I have experienced him, but it's hard. So I'm sure it would be hard to describe to the priest at another parish if I tried to switch. I have thought about reporting this to the bishop, but I have a feeling that would only cause bad feelings. I have family members that still attend the church. I think many parishioners have had similar problems with this priest, because many of them suggested as much and offered to talk to me when they realized I stopped attending church. So I assume the bishop is aware of this behaviour already.

I just can't imagine this priest believes in God. It's all a big joke to him. I put up with it for a couple of years, but finally I made up my mind and I just don't want to see him again.


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:11 am 
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What kind of Orthodox?

I don't think you just switch to the Catholic Church. There is a process and a commitment and time. And many of us came to the Church based upon negativity about our former denomination. However, that's not good enough to become Catholic.

Given what you've said, I'd switch and make the drive. You don't have to explain it to anybody (I opine that a negative characteristic of modernity is the perceived need to explain everything to everybody, but that's just me). Having peace is worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:21 pm 
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Highlander wrote:
What kind of Orthodox?

I don't think you just switch to the Catholic Church. There is a process and a commitment and time. And many of us came to the Church based upon negativity about our former denomination. However, that's not good enough to become Catholic.

Given what you've said, I'd switch and make the drive. You don't have to explain it to anybody (I opine that a negative characteristic of modernity is the perceived need to explain everything to everybody, but that's just me). Having peace is worth it.


Thanks, I'm glad to hear that it isn't completely unreasonable to leave a parish when a person feels like I do about the priest.


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:37 am 
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cloudyday wrote:
Pepsuber wrote:
... The obligation to support your parish materially would still remain.


Can you explain that? Are you saying that because I was baptized in a certain parish I continue to have a duty to support that parish even if I no longer attend? Or are you saying that the parish is like a taxing authority based on your home's location? (Sorry to make it sound so secular, but I don't know how to interpret what you are saying.)


He is probably referring to paragraph 2043 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where it states "The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability."


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:37 pm 
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catholicinquirer2008 wrote:
cloudyday wrote:
Pepsuber wrote:
... The obligation to support your parish materially would still remain.


Can you explain that? Are you saying that because I was baptized in a certain parish I continue to have a duty to support that parish even if I no longer attend? Or are you saying that the parish is like a taxing authority based on your home's location? (Sorry to make it sound so secular, but I don't know how to interpret what you are saying.)


He is probably referring to paragraph 2043 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where it states "The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability."


Surely if a person changes what church they are attending and then becomes committed to the new church he is attending, (different faith), he does not have to support financially the church he has left.


Last edited by Dorothy B. on Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:52 pm 
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cloudyday wrote:
As I have been trying to motivate myself to go to church again I have been thinking about switching churches from Orthodox. My main reason is not theology, because I don't think Orthodoxy is any worse than any other denomination - they are all difficult for somebody who tends to be an atheist. My main reason is that I decided my Orthodox priest was a probably not a Christian and not even a good person. (For the purpose of argument, just assume that any fair-minded person would come to the same conclusion about my priest.)

I have heard people say that the priest isn't important, because God can work through a sinful priest. But surely a priest who is sincere can help his parishioners and a priest who isn't sincere can hurt his parishioners. In college it made a big difference if I had a good professor or a bad professor. I wouldn't mind if this priest would just leave me alone, but he seems to go out of his way to destroy my feeble faith.

If you as a Catholic had a bad priest, would you drive an hour to another Catholic church where you thought the priest was o.k.? In other words is it o.k. to shop priests?



Nothing wrong with finding a priest that meets the spiritual needs you and your family have. Nothing wrong with expecting a priest to be a holy man, or at least striving to be such, and to lead your family towards holiness.

Shameless plug for the East:

Have you considered a Byzantine Catholic Church, since you are already familiar with the rubrics of the Orthodox Liturgy? Is there one near you?


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:13 pm 
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Light of the East wrote:
Nothing wrong with finding a priest that meets the spiritual needs you and your family have. Nothing wrong with expecting a priest to be a holy man, or at least striving to be such, and to lead your family towards holiness.

Shameless plug for the East:

Have you considered a Byzantine Catholic Church, since you are already familiar with the rubrics of the Orthodox Liturgy? Is there one near you?


Surprisingly there is one. The Byzantine Catholic would probably be further than I want to drive, but I didn't realize they had them outside Eastern Europe.


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:32 am 
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Dorothy B. wrote:
Surely if a person changes what church they are attending and then becomes committed to the new church he is attending, (different faith), he does not have to support financially the church he has left.

There's no obligation at all to support a non-Catholic community. My point was that if someone doesn't like his parish priest and chooses to assist at Mass elsewhere, the obligation to support his parish materially remains. (Of course, sometimes people join parishes that are not their territorial parish, maybe organized along ethnic or personal lines -- the obligation would be to support that parish.)

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:21 pm 
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cloudyday wrote:
Light of the East wrote:
Nothing wrong with finding a priest that meets the spiritual needs you and your family have. Nothing wrong with expecting a priest to be a holy man, or at least striving to be such, and to lead your family towards holiness.

Shameless plug for the East:

Have you considered a Byzantine Catholic Church, since you are already familiar with the rubrics of the Orthodox Liturgy? Is there one near you?


Surprisingly there is one. The Byzantine Catholic would probably be further than I want to drive, but I didn't realize they had them outside Eastern Europe.


Might be worth a little visit, dude!


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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:33 am 
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First of all, every church has bad priests and good priests.

In Russian Orthodox Church, for example, we had Rasputin. He was a nasty priest just before the Russian revolution. :(

Same goes to Roman Catholic Church. For example, we have Father Hans Küng, not a good priest. On the other hand, we have very good priests. Fr. John Vianney was not a well educated priest - he didn't even master the Latin language. But he became a very famous saint and converted the whole village of Ars in France. That was just after the French Revolution.

We can pray that both the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church have good priests. We should continue to pray for conversion of bad priests.

Thanks (or спасибо)

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:57 pm 
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I don't particularly like it. It has an element of turning the entire parish as heretics because they don't choose to leave.

I'd rather talk to the priest in charity. I don't know if it will work; but he will atleast be aware that someone noticed and maybe they will go to the diocese.

Even that, I'm not sure will work.

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 Post subject: Re: how important is a priest?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:19 pm 
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No priest, no Sacrifice of the Mass, no Eucharist. I would also dare say that much punishment would fall upon the world very quickly, me being the first. Also, all people would be cut off from one of the very few pre-eminent means of receiving mercy and grace. Thanks be to God for priests.

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