Friday, July 27, 2012

A disobedient priest and an apprehensive archbishop

Release the hounds!
I'm putting my other blog entries on hold this week to address an issue on behalf of a couple living in Geelong (Victoria, AU) experiencing some problems they're having to deal with thanks to a particularly disobedient parish priest. The couple (let's call them "Jack and Jill") describe their problems this way:

"Our parish needs a lot of prayer -- what do you do about a disobedient (e.g. won't use the New Translation), disloyal priest (regularly criticises the Magisterium) when the Archbishop says he can't do anything otherwise the priest will leave, and we're already very short of priests?"

I have summarised Jack and Jill's scenario in the following way and made a few suggestions in between. Some details have been omitted:

Jack and Jill, it sounds like you have a nervous and apprehensive archbishop and this is unfortunate because I can't imagine parishioners being very pleased with the behaviour of your current priest.

If I was going to take a guess I'd say that some have left that parish already due to this priest's behaviour and disobedience. How can a parish grow and its people be nurtured with such a negative and dissident vibe?

A "shortage of priests" really is a weak excuse. In the short term, if your current priest was to leave, it would mean another priest from the nearest parish coming in and celebrating Mass for you until a new priest is found. Sure, there'd be no telling in how long it could take for a replacement to be found, but the priest leaving couldn't be anything but a good thing for your parish. As it says in scripture:

"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit." - Matthew 7:18

For correcting our Christian brothers and sisters, we have an obligation to take them to the highest authority if they are doing wrong (your archbishop should be aware of this as it is also in Canon Law): 

"But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican." - Matthew 18:15-17

Canon 1373: "A person who publicly incites his or her subjects to hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry, or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties." - CIC, Book VI: SANCTIONS IN THE CHURCH

Your priest is holding your parish to a spiritual ransom and is destroying it from within. I would encourage you and your fellow parishioners to continue pushing your archbishop to take action. If the priest leaves, then this is the best thing for your parish.

At this point I asked a couple more questions of Jack and Jill and they told me this much more about the crisis at their parish:

"Your hunch is correct -- the PP (parish priest) said that about 50 'conservatives' have left. We decided to stay and be some sort of witness. Sadly, the bulk of the congregation think 'Father is wonderful -- the way he bravely criticised Pope JPII's pontificate in the [detail omitted] etc., etc.'.

The previous PP referred to was here for [detail omitted] years, so the people have been well and truly indoctrinated with the liberal agenda! Our new PP unfortunately is exactly the same. Our parish is [detail omitted], named after the 'eloquent defender of orthodoxy' as we reminded the PP once when he refused assurance that we would follow the GIRM [General Instruction of the Roman Missal] which was about to be introduced. In fact he continued to offer Mass 'his way' and offered his resignation when the bishop reminded him that 'Not even a priest can change the prayers in the Liturgy'.

I concluded correspondence with Jack and Jill here but not before what ever support and advice I could.

Clearly this is an issue of concern and the archbishop needs to do something about it: For 50 orthodox Catholics to leave a parish due to the behaviour of the parish priest and for this issue to be in effect dismissed, is scandalous and a travesty.

Hopefully the issue is noticed and a bit more pressure is placed on the archbishop to take action. There is a swing/movement towards a return to orthodox Catholicism and the days of "leftist" Catholicism are numbered, but good Catholics must help in the last few pushes against this perversion of our faith. The idea is to spread the word.

Fortunately there are some in our Church community that are not afraid to take action. While the following is a more high-profile scenario, it sets an encouraging precedent; the spiritual growth and development of congregants in a parish should not be held to ransom by a rogue, dissident priest.

Liberal priest censured by Vatican

Please keep Jack and Jill and their parish in your prayers.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you posted this.
    My Spiritual Advisor told me to watch out for liberal priests. I know of a particular priest who apparently criticized our previous archbishop (told to me by a trusted friend who heard the words in disbelief) as well as saying that Mary was proud. This priest needs prayers too.

    Another priest I know mentioned once at mass that he reads the KJV commentary, which I believe to be a problem too because of the different interpretations that he is reading. However he is faring better thanks to prayers and of course God.

    The issue is that the Church has to be careful when it takes corrective action. There can be a significant backlash if matters are not dealt with well. However in this case, the issue should best have been "nipped in the bud" so to speak (dealt with early) because now there are huge problems. It's easy to say that, I know, but sometimes I wish the church would be more strict early on.

    After all, these priests have taken vows of obedience.

    With prayers for your work and this case.
    God bless

    C

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