Saturday, 19 January 2013

criticizing Catholic Priests

My brother and I were talking about the church recently. As a lay minister he had issues with several priests who like to have things done their way. "Well," he said, " You have to be humble and accept their choices otherwise there is the danger of you judging  them wrongfully."

I don't know. Even among the populous we have to be our brothers keeper. While we turn our cheeks to certain things we have to stand up for those who cannot or will not stand up for themselves. We cannot let the morally wrong be the only ones with a voice.

So in that vain, I think if we see the clergy doing or saying something that is not right we should say something about it. I remember having my son baptised in the church at Saint Anns in Trinidad, and the priest walking in fast, recognising that some parents had not yet come, and storming off back to his abode with the words, "call me when y'all ready." I got upset. Here was a wonderful opportunity for this priest to sit and chat with his parishioners. What did he have to do that was so important that he could leave his SCHEDULED time for baptism to run off. How can I respect that priest when he tells me I need to be patient and kind. How can I listen to him with sincerity.

Some may say he was having an off day, and I can accept that, except that other parishioners had similar issues with him at different times. Now, this priest has a following that would leave their parishes to go in which ever parish he is in to give him support and attend his masses. The old people in Trinidad has a saying " Every stale bread has it's moldy cheese".

There is the old saying that PRIESTS ARE PEOPLE TOO. Which means that they are not perfect and fall victim to human feelings and imperfections. But does that mean that I should not speak to or chastise the priest. NO! I MUST SPEAK UP. Even at the risk of having a "PLANK IN MY EYE" How else can that priest be a better person if not guided and helped along by us. When he shows his bad side to none catholics they would say "See how those catholics are?" Surely, an unfair statement.

A bishop tends to support his priests. So when one complains to the bishop, one must be careful that the complaint is valid and that one is not just "telling on the priest" as a child may complain on another child. The Bishop will act if the complaint is valid.

But what does CANON LAW say about priest and their behaviour (a good thing to quote when reporting a priest). In relation to the transfer of or removal of a pastor Canon law 1741-3 states that proceedings can be made through the Bishop if there is "loss of a good reputation among upright and responsible parishioners or an aversion to the pastor which it appears will not cease in a brief time". So the community has to come together.... good luck on that one.

 It interesting to note that I could not find anywhere in canon law where it states a priest must be kind and full of love. NO. We find that in another, more important book - The Bible.

Despite what you think of priests we have to remember one thing. The life of a priest is not an easy one. He has made a choice that we have decided we did not want to make, to that end, when we criticise a  priest, please be gentle, please be kind, please talk to him with love.

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