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If you don't like or respect the spiritual leader in your church what do you do?

I am Catholic, but this question can apply to any faith - "What do you do if you do not like or respect the spiritual leader in your church?" My father says "You don't go to church because of the priest, you go because that's where God wants you"

But when you know the priest to be a mean-hearted person it's very hard to sit there & listen to him, you know?

He fussed at the First Communion class to the extent that he made a little boy cry because he didn't know his required prayers. At midnight mass as people were filing out & wishing each other a Merry Christmas and "nice to see you" etc. he got up on the podium & told people "You're in the house of God and you need to be quiet"

Instead of being glad that there was so much fellowship & good feeling in the church, he focuses on the noise!

People have written complaints about him to the Diocese, but no one listens. Maybe it's better to find a new church.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:03 PM on Jan. 17, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (17)
  • I would find a new place of worship. If you don't have any respect for the leader you won't have respect for their leadership or advice... A spiritual leader should act as your direct connection to your belief system, not your God, but the system itself. Therefore, if you aren't on board with the priest (or whatever leader it may be) you need to find one that you can connect with better.

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:06 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • id find a new church to go to.

    Answer by necro1134 at 1:09 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • I'd certainly not attend that Parish anymore. I have heard the argument about not going because of the priest, and it sounds great in theory, but I think it's hogwash. That argument comes from people in power as an excuse for mediocrity, in my opinion. If they make that statement, they don't have to do anything about the priest, do they? Frankly, if the priest is supposed to be standing in for the person of Christ, and in Catholicism he is, then saying you aren't there for the priest does not hold water. You cannot have it both ways. If complaining doesn't work, find a new parish. If it's the only parish available, I'd either stop going or find a new place to worship.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:09 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • I agree, find a new church.

    Answer by Lexylex at 1:20 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • That makes me sad. Have you gone to him personally and told him your concerns with a heart of love and a desire to bring peace? The Bible says if someone is in sin, go to them and show them their sins in humily, considering yourselves that you also can fall into the same sins.

    Pray for him daily. Even fast for him once a week or something. If you feel this way, I am sure that other people do too. The Bible says that our spiritual leaders are to lead us with love and affection. They are to be good shepherds not hirelings. But he is also your brother in the Lord. And he has struggles just like anyone else. He might be going through a hard time right now. That is why it is good to pray for him, and maybe even ask him if he is okay. Tell him what you have noticed and how you have been praying for him.

    If he responds in anger to you, or arrogant pride, and his overseers don't do anything. Then you might want to leave. : (

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 1:22 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • Your dad is right. I would encourage you to pray for the priest. No church has a perfect pastor or priest or spiritual leader. Allow this to be a time to exercise God's grace, mercy and the power of forgiveness.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 1:37 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • I know that, being raised Catholic, different Priests have different mentalities about the noise level and the what is required of the younger children in their classes. Some can be strict and some, the younger ones, are more relaxed. I also know, at least where I used to attend church, it would depend on what mass you would attend as to what Priest would be there. (like one would be there for the morning and noon masses and the other for the afternoon/evening masses) Is it possible to attend mass at a different time when another Priest would be there? Just a thought. Or find another church in the area that seems as similar to the church you are attending now.

    Answer by mom2BOYZnDad at 1:38 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • Thank you for your kind answers. I have been in turmoil for a long time. There are more examples I could give but of course space is limited.

    I am too intimidated by him to go to him personally. I have thought of writing a letter to the Diocese but don't know what that would accomplish at this point. With a shortage of priests, they probably figure we will just have to put up with him. He was given a copy of one letter that was written about him. He literally took it around and flaunted it in front of some of the parishioners and basically said "Look someone complained and nothing was done to me".

    I live just a couple of blocks from the church and there is no other Catholic church in town. The nearest one is about 30 miles away. That's do-able but it's just so sad. My children make 5 generations of our family to attend this particular church and I hate to leave it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:38 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • OP here again - our community is so small that he is the only priest - otherwise the idea about attending mass at a different time would be a great one. :o)

    Actually I was incorrect about the closest church. There's one about 15 miles away but he is the priest for that one as well. The one 30 miles away is the one that would have a completely different priest.

    And for everyone who suggested it, you are right - I should pray for him. Boy is it difficult to pray for someone you don't like and yet that's probably who we should pray for first....! :o/

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:50 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

  • When I was younger, a priest was assigned to our parish I could not get a long with. I really couldn't stand him, I know many of the teachers didn't like him either. We did our best to get along, but the church was a basically liberal church that was more concerned about helping rather then sticking to every single church law. My grandmother felt the same way but instead of fighting him she told to embrace and learn as she has seen many "(censored word) holes" and she isn't letting them drive her from her church.

    The priest died this month after almost 50 years in the diocese. It is easy to look back now and see a man who really thought he was doing the right thing. I would suggest you pray AND write a letter to your bishop.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:19 PM on Jan. 17, 2010

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