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Author Topic: Concerns about someone aiming for priesthood - proper for me to go to bishop?  (Read 1482 times) Average Rating: 0
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TheodoraElizabeth3
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« on: April 08, 2011, 11:53:46 PM »

I hope this is the correct place for this...

Is it ever proper for someone to go to the bishop with concerns about a possible candidate for the priesthood?  These are not concerns about the guy's morals or character, but more about his personality, probably the best way to describe it, including things he has said and done that I have personally witnessed. I'm trying to be vague for obvious reasons.

I know the guy has only had a few very short conversations with the bishop about his desire to be a priest, all at things like parish visitations (in other words, not much time to talk).

The bishop knows me. Would it be proper for me to drop the bishop an email with my concerns? I don't want to ruin my friend's chances for the priesthood, but in large dioceses, there simply isn't the chance for the bishop to get to know men going for the priesthood very well, in many cases. And I hope the bishop would like to know.
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2011, 11:56:49 PM »

I hope this is the correct place for this...

Is it ever proper for someone to go to the bishop with concerns about a possible candidate for the priesthood?  These are not concerns about the guy's morals or character, but more about his personality, probably the best way to describe it, including things he has said and done that I have personally witnessed. I'm trying to be vague for obvious reasons.

I know the guy has only had a few very short conversations with the bishop about his desire to be a priest, all at things like parish visitations (in other words, not much time to talk).

The bishop knows me. Would it be proper for me to drop the bishop an email with my concerns? I don't want to ruin my friend's chances for the priesthood, but in large dioceses, there simply isn't the chance for the bishop to get to know men going for the priesthood very well, in many cases. And I hope the bishop would like to know.
Only if you have proof.
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2011, 12:00:58 AM »

I hope this is the correct place for this...

Is it ever proper for someone to go to the bishop with concerns about a possible candidate for the priesthood?  These are not concerns about the guy's morals or character, but more about his personality, probably the best way to describe it, including things he has said and done that I have personally witnessed. I'm trying to be vague for obvious reasons.

I know the guy has only had a few very short conversations with the bishop about his desire to be a priest, all at things like parish visitations (in other words, not much time to talk).

The bishop knows me. Would it be proper for me to drop the bishop an email with my concerns? I don't want to ruin my friend's chances for the priesthood, but in large dioceses, there simply isn't the chance for the bishop to get to know men going for the priesthood very well, in many cases. And I hope the bishop would like to know.
Only if you have proof.

In other words, in this age of the internet, a guy would have had to have a lapse in judgment and post questionable pictures on Facebook or something like that?
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2011, 12:03:45 AM »


Remember, this man is only human.  Maybe he made a mistake and is sorry for it.  Priests were once just boys.

If you have true concerns that he's not of the caliber to be a "good" priest, than I would just keep my eye on him.

Not every man who attends seminary gets ordained.  Often times the bad ones get weeded out.

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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2011, 12:10:52 AM »


Remember, this man is only human.  Maybe he made a mistake and is sorry for it.  Priests were once just boys.

If you have true concerns that he's not of the caliber to be a "good" priest, than I would just keep my eye on him.

Not every man who attends seminary gets ordained.  Often times the bad ones get weeded out.

If he is past the boy stage, and she has real, founded concerns, it might be better that they are brought up sooner than latter. We know someone here who burned himself out at seminary it seems.  And though knowledge is never a waste, he might spend the time otherwise to profit than in seminary for years for an ordination which will not take place.

It might help to bring it up to a spiritual advisor who doesn't know the parties, so she can give more information than she can (or should) here, and then go from there to a spiritual advisor who knows him to see whether to procede to the bishop.
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2011, 12:12:11 AM »


Remember, this man is only human.  Maybe he made a mistake and is sorry for it.  Priests were once just boys.

If you have true concerns that he's not of the caliber to be a "good" priest, than I would just keep my eye on him.

Not every man who attends seminary gets ordained.  Often times the bad ones get weeded out.



It's things he constantly says/does - now - not in the past. He is definitely past the boy stage.
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2011, 12:13:52 AM »

I hope this is the correct place for this...

Is it ever proper for someone to go to the bishop with concerns about a possible candidate for the priesthood?  These are not concerns about the guy's morals or character, but more about his personality, probably the best way to describe it, including things he has said and done that I have personally witnessed. I'm trying to be vague for obvious reasons.

I know the guy has only had a few very short conversations with the bishop about his desire to be a priest, all at things like parish visitations (in other words, not much time to talk).

The bishop knows me. Would it be proper for me to drop the bishop an email with my concerns? I don't want to ruin my friend's chances for the priesthood, but in large dioceses, there simply isn't the chance for the bishop to get to know men going for the priesthood very well, in many cases. And I hope the bishop would like to know.

Personally, I would not email the bishop.  If the young man is involved in the parish, the priest will know his his character, and it will be the priest's discretion in deciding to support or not support the young man's future aspirations to seminary.

If the young man does go to seminary, it does not mean he will be ordained.  The bishop will evaluate his spiritual fitness in consideration of ordaining him.

My present priest told me a story that some of the foulest-mouthed persons before entering seminary became holy priests, so God works with imperfect people and perfects them for His service.  Yet it's not for us, but for the bishop who would ordain him, to decide on the candidate's readiness.    
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 12:19:44 AM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2011, 12:16:28 AM »

Ah, well, if he is a grown man, and still acting immaturely, he is most definitely not priest material.

How does seminary work?  In order to register doesn't the man need signatures, letters, etc. from his own priest?  Does the priest know of this man's behavior?
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 12:17:44 AM by LizaSymonenko » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2011, 12:22:27 AM »

Ah, well, if he is a grown man, and still acting immaturely, he is most definitely not priest material.

How does seminary work?  In order to register doesn't the man need signatures, letters, etc. from his own priest?  Does the priest know of this man's behavior?

I've looked at the applications for seminary -  you do need letters from both your spiritual father (who may or may not be your parish priest) and the bishop.

I truly don't believe his priest knows of his behavior. He seems to act one way around his priest and quite another amongst friends, if you get my drift.

I've emailed my dilemma to a long-term priest friend of mine, asking his advice on the situation.

edited for spelling
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 12:23:51 AM by TheodoraElizabeth3 » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2011, 12:26:17 AM »

Ah, well, if he is a grown man, and still acting immaturely, he is most definitely not priest material.

How does seminary work?  In order to register doesn't the man need signatures, letters, etc. from his own priest?  Does the priest know of this man's behavior?

Letters of recommendation are usually requested, and also the recommendation of one's Orthodox priest.  The applicant also has to be in good standing and have been practicing Orthodox for a certain period of time (3-5 years, or something like that).  I believe the bishop also has to give his blessing (one of my friends who recently applied to seminary had to await his bishop's blessing before applying).

  
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 12:26:59 AM by StGeorge » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2011, 12:39:57 AM »

I would tend to recommend you leave sleeping dogs lie unless you have hard, cold evidence other than personal opinion. This could very easily become a major disaster, and might hurt you as well as your acquaintance. An experienced priest will know whether or not this guy's a worthy candidate for the priesthood. I suspect your friend will be encountering several of them in his quest.

Ironically, if someone truly has major personality flaws--and it is not just a matter of our own opinion-- even the dimmest among us will catch on eventually. In my experience, we seldom possess the only discerning mind in the room.

Leave it alone.

Also, it is not really proper to go directly to a bishop--in my opinion. Your priest will probably be quite irritated when he discovers that you did not speak to him first, but went, instead, over his head to speak to his boss.

Leave it alone.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 12:45:38 AM by sainthieu » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2011, 12:42:01 AM »

Just a few thoughts:

Are your objections shared by a majority of others?  The truth is, we might see things in other people that are objectionable to us but not to people in general.  Goodness knows I never would have made it through the ordination process if unanimity was required. 

Are are you going to make his Father Confessor and Parish priest aware of his potential problems?  It seems to me that going through them might help you get some perspective.

Do you have insight into yourself?  This is the most important aspect of this whole situation.  Part of it is understanding why you are picking up on the problem, and the other is how you will be perceived as you attempt to communicate your observations.  Clergy are, as a group, pretty adept at tuning out 'observations' because, frankly, we are subjected to lots and lots of opinions from parishioners, and even more so when one is elevated to the episcopacy.  If you come off as being overly-critical, picky or just plain paranoid, you won't get a hearing from anyone.

Proceed with prayer and caution.


Ah, well, if he is a grown man, and still acting immaturely, he is most definitely not priest material.

How does seminary work?  In order to register doesn't the man need signatures, letters, etc. from his own priest?  Does the priest know of this man's behavior?

I've looked at the applications for seminary -  you do need letters from both your spiritual father (who may or may not be your parish priest) and the bishop.

I truly don't believe his priest knows of his behavior. He seems to act one way around his priest and quite another amongst friends, if you get my drift.

I've emailed my dilemma to a long-term priest friend of mine, asking his advice on the situation.

edited for spelling

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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2011, 01:00:41 AM »

Ah, well, if he is a grown man, and still acting immaturely, he is most definitely not priest material.

How does seminary work?  In order to register doesn't the man need signatures, letters, etc. from his own priest?  Does the priest know of this man's behavior?

I've looked at the applications for seminary -  you do need letters from both your spiritual father (who may or may not be your parish priest) and the bishop.

I truly don't believe his priest knows of his behavior. He seems to act one way around his priest and quite another amongst friends, if you get my drift.

Does it matter to you personally if this individual acts one way towards his Priest and another way towards his friends?

I know a friend of mine who burned out not in Seminary but in the Undergraduate School. 

Can you mind your own business?   Huh

I've emailed my dilemma to a long-term priest friend of mine, asking his advice on the situation.

You should mind your own business and look after your own spiritual house, especially during the Lenten Period....
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2011, 01:24:24 AM »

Ah, well, if he is a grown man, and still acting immaturely, he is most definitely not priest material.

How does seminary work?  In order to register doesn't the man need signatures, letters, etc. from his own priest?  Does the priest know of this man's behavior?

I've looked at the applications for seminary -  you do need letters from both your spiritual father (who may or may not be your parish priest) and the bishop.

I truly don't believe his priest knows of his behavior. He seems to act one way around his priest and quite another amongst friends, if you get my drift.

Does it matter to you personally if this individual acts one way towards his Priest and another way towards his friends?

I know a friend of mine who burned out not in Seminary but in the Undergraduate School. 

Can you mind your own business?   Huh

I've emailed my dilemma to a long-term priest friend of mine, asking his advice on the situation.

You should mind your own business and look after your own spiritual house, especially during the Lenten Period....

Don't know how to separate out the multi-quotes without ruining the entire thing...

I've been Orthodox for a good bit now, although I came from a Christian tradition where there was input from non-clergy during the discernment process (which was something like a year minimum), including a group consisting of people in and outside the home congregation. People not on the committee were invited to submit concerns during the discernment process. There seems to be precious little of that in some corners of American Orthodoxy. From what I can tell, it's primarily the fellow who wants to be a priest, his parish priest/spiritual father, and the bishop.

That's what I'm used to and that's why I asked the question. Frankly, I could care less of how differently someone acts among friends and in front of their priest, but given that this person wants to be a priest... I generally mind my own business, but given what I've witnessed, I wondered if it was appropriate to go to the bishop.
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2011, 01:26:10 AM »

Does it matter to you personally if this individual acts one way towards his Priest and another way towards his friends?

I know a friend of mine who burned out not in Seminary but in the Undergraduate School.  

Can you mind your own business?   Huh

I've emailed my dilemma to a long-term priest friend of mine, asking his advice on the situation.

You should mind your own business and look after your own spiritual house, especially during the Lenten Period....

Speaking of someone who should mind their own business... Wink  
« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 01:26:23 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2011, 06:23:21 AM »

Dear Theodora,
I would like to answer your original question if I may:  "is it appropriate to go directly to the bishop"?

In the case that you have described, I do not think so.  My reason for saying this is:  discernment is exactly why we have bishops in the first place. We, the laity, are supposed to be obedient to the Church as a whole, not to get involved in every ordination or every decision made by bishops or synods, etc.

It's one thing to be vigilant and concerned about various enactments of the Church, to be involved in decision making processes involving matters of every day parish life.  But to involve ourselves in the priestly orders, and who gets ordained and who does not seems to me to be "meddling" in bishops affairs unjustly. 


Bishops are bishops precisely because they have shown discernment and we are to trust them in these mundane matters.  I would say that unless this person has done something (Provable!) that is particularly egregious, it would be best to stay out of it.

God bless you.
C.

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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2011, 09:48:11 AM »

Thank you all for your input. After a great deal of thought overnight, I've decided to not do anything at this time. I suspect that the person in question's true personality may very well show itself in the close-knit atmosphere of seminary, if he even gets that far.

This has also led me to question my friendship with said person, due to his personality, and I've decided to just quietly let it die. We're not members of the same parish, so I don't see him unless an effort is made.
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2011, 12:59:26 PM »


You Haven't Been Hanging Around some of our Serbian seminaries have you......Brother and i wonder at times if the students that attend are really good priest material....

The things they talk about and brag about ....and when their Grilfriends join them for a visit ,it's gets worse..... Grin

In the end God see's there Heart's , some end up married and Ordained, other's don't make it thur Seminary, priest professors weed them out...... police










I hope this is the correct place for this...

Is it ever proper for someone to go to the bishop with concerns about a possible candidate for the priesthood?  These are not concerns about the guy's morals or character, but more about his personality, probably the best way to describe it, including things he has said and done that I have personally witnessed. I'm trying to be vague for obvious reasons.

I know the guy has only had a few very short conversations with the bishop about his desire to be a priest, all at things like parish visitations (in other words, not much time to talk).

The bishop knows me. Would it be proper for me to drop the bishop an email with my concerns? I don't want to ruin my friend's chances for the priesthood, but in large dioceses, there simply isn't the chance for the bishop to get to know men going for the priesthood very well, in many cases. And I hope the bishop would like to know.
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2011, 02:25:43 PM »

Don't know how to separate out the multi-quotes without ruining the entire thing...

Takes some practice....

I've been Orthodox for a good bit now, although I came from a Christian tradition where there was input from non-clergy during the discernment process (which was something like a year minimum), including a group consisting of people in and outside the home congregation. People not on the committee were invited to submit concerns during the discernment process. There seems to be precious little of that in some corners of American Orthodoxy.

When you became Orthodox, was there a discernment process/committee that determined whether or not you were a suitable candidate for conversion?   Huh

From what I can tell, it's primarily the fellow who wants to be a priest, his parish priest/spiritual father, and the bishop.

People are not perfect.  If an unworthy person is ordained and remains unworthy, the error will rectify itself and only on God's terms.  Look at the Priest Aaron who erred and allowed the Golden Calf - there were consequences which were determined only on God's time, not on our time nor through the use of a "discernment process/committee."

That's what I'm used to and that's why I asked the question. Frankly, I could care less of how differently someone acts among friends and in front of their priest, but given that this person wants to be a priest... I generally mind my own business, but given what I've witnessed, I wondered if it was appropriate to go to the bishop.

I'm sorry if I came across as harsh.   angel
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2011, 04:30:17 PM »

SolEX01 wrote:

When you became Orthodox, was there a discernment process/committee that determined whether or not you were a suitable candidate for conversion?

No, what I meant is that there was a discernment process for those wanting to be ordained in the Christian tradition I came from, that *invited* input from those not on the discernment committee. In other words, people who might have concerns about a candidate for ordination could bring concerns to the discernment committee, which took it from there.
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2011, 06:01:41 PM »

Btw SolEX01, I apologize for this comment...

Speaking of someone who should mind their own business... Wink  

Definitely one of those times that I should have stepped away from the keyboard for 5 minutes and then come back to decide what I wanted to say.
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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2011, 12:06:17 AM »

Btw SolEX01, I apologize for this comment...

Speaking of someone who should mind their own business... Wink  

Definitely one of those times that I should have stepped away from the keyboard for 5 minutes and then come back to decide what I wanted to say.

I didn't take any offense - none.   Smiley  angel  Smiley 

May God Forgive us all.   angel
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2011, 12:09:43 AM »

SolEX01 wrote:

When you became Orthodox, was there a discernment process/committee that determined whether or not you were a suitable candidate for conversion?

No, what I meant is that there was a discernment process for those wanting to be ordained in the Christian tradition I came from, that *invited* input from those not on the discernment committee. In other words, people who might have concerns about a candidate for ordination could bring concerns to the discernment committee, which took it from there.

I was thrown out of an Episcopal Daycare after a week for not sharing, not taking naps, hiding under furniture and reading too many books - the Discernment Committee acted very quickly.   Roll Eyes
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