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Author Topic: How do people deal with abusive and insensitive priests?  (Read 7862 times) Average Rating: 0
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Kaminetz
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« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2006, 04:47:22 PM »

I think there also has to be some fine line.

In ROCOR I can tell you that if you approach the chalice and the priest has never seen you, you WILL be stopped and asked "have you confessed?". In ROCOR it is standard operating procedure that you confess before EVERY communion, unless you have been given a blessing by the priest offering the communion that you may go without a confession (which only happens when there's a consecutive day or in rarer circumstances, up to a week).

It's embarrasing for some people when they get turned away at the chalice, but if a priest begins administering the mystery like it's some snack you can give anyone, that is just plain wrong. The best attitude I've seen is when a priest gently and quietly asks someone if they've confessed, then said that they can see them after service if they wish. There are some who just stammer out "NO" in a strict manner and that's wrong, because it makes the person feel they've done something wrong and a sensitive person can feel very embarrased to the point when they don't want to ever go again.

They do a smart thing in one Moscow Patriarchate church, they announce before communion "Communion is only for baptized Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared by confession and fasting."

One Serbian priest during his Easter service has two big lines during communion, one of people confessing, the other of people going to communion. He announces right before communion "Only those who have fasted may approach the chalice, those who have not confessed please get into the line on the left, those who have please come forward"
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« Reply #46 on: March 02, 2006, 04:54:01 PM »

 If every Tom, Donna or Haralambos comes along and demands (expects) Holy Communion just because they stand in line, then something is seriously wrong with that parish. I don't think it has anything to do with monastic tradition. ÂÂ

I agree with this.  I think that these examples can truly make people appreciate the gifts in ways that perhaps maybe other methods cannot.  

I put the monastic thing in there just as a poor attempt to explain what's going on and where it comes from.  I truly do think that this is where a lot of the discrepancies come from, considering Serbs rarely ever had a "cathedral" tradition.  There are tons more examples of how "monastic" we are....I just can't think of any right now, give me a couple of days.. Grin

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Yes you can confess to another priest, but common courtesy would dictate that you make an arrangement with the serving priest before hand.

I also agree with this!  It is just a common curtesy.  However this curtesy becomes leverage for the priest to control when YOU recieve.  I'm sorry, but that's just not right.  What if I tell the priest and he tells me, well i'm not sure if you fasted correctly?  This has happened to me before.  What's the point of scheduling with them if they're going to make it next to impossible for you to recieve?  

Honestly though, you are right, it is a curtesy, and it really isn't asking too much.  It also makes sense, because it asks people to think about what they are doing before they do it...which is always good.  

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If a bishop falls into this catergory then all we have to do is stop his med insurance.
 

For some of us, this isn't within our power, considering our bishops have a strangle hold on every paper and cent that goes through the diocese...

I can't really go further on this topic, so you can feel free to ask but I can't answer.  Sorry ahead of time...
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« Reply #47 on: March 02, 2006, 05:00:40 PM »

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One Serbian priest during his Easter service has two big lines during communion, one of people confessing, the other of people going to communion. He announces right before communion "Only those who have fasted may approach the chalice, those who have not confessed please get into the line on the left, those who have please come forward"

I personally like this approach.  But most people have no idea what they are doing.  They're just following prescriptions.  Does it mean anything to them?  maybe, but its still a prescription.  

I'm not saying make it a free-for-all, but have SOME kind of leeway.  It can't be 100% these "traditions" or "cannons" (which don't actually exist) or something like that.  

Quote
In ROCOR I can tell you that if you approach the chalice and the priest has never seen you, you WILL be stopped and asked "have you confessed?". In ROCOR it is standard operating procedure that you confess before EVERY communion, unless you have been given a blessing by the priest offering the communion that you may go without a confession (which only happens when there's a consecutive day or in rarer circumstances, up to a week).

Confessing before EVERY communion?  Isn't that VERY monastic?  We're not monks.  We can't possibly be expected to think about our shortcommings ALL the time, while in the world.  Actually, forgive me, that EXPECTATION can be there, but that you MUST CONFESS every time, that's not an expectation.  That's a ENFORCEMENT of an ideal that is unrealistic when dealing with people.  Why not every OTHER week?  No, that wouldn't happen becuase "that isn't enough", but who is to say that isn't enough?  

The other question that I have for these priests is "when's the last time YOU confessed"

For Serbian priests the answer is "more years than you've been alive" (sorry for the exageration but you'd be surprised at how close I am to the answer)

How can they expect us to confess, and we MUST confess, EVERY WEEK, when they've confessed once...in their whole lives, before ordination?  
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« Reply #48 on: March 02, 2006, 09:24:57 PM »

Serb1389,

Isn't there a prayer of confession in the liturgy? At my parish, we as a congregation, use a lovely prayer even if we have been to confession.

And with regard to communing at Easter, we usually hear the homily of St John Chrysostom, who enjoins everyone to come to communion, even if they didn't fast for five minutes during Lent or Great Week.

In Christ Smiley

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« Reply #49 on: March 02, 2006, 10:18:50 PM »

If a priest is rude to me, I let it go the first one or two times. If it is a common occurence I let them know in as nice a way I could that they have a bad attitude towards me. And then I proceed to find out why in as much politeness that I could muster.
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« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2006, 10:28:05 PM »

Oh and as for communion, the priest @ my parish (GOA Canadian- educated @ HCHC) doesn't bother to know whether or not anyone has prepared. I guess he automatically assumes you'll be prepared since you're comin' forward.

Then again our parish is really big and I guess it would be impossible to keep track of every single person of the parish. If they look greek, he does not hesitate.

If you are white Anglo-Saxon or anything darker than greek, you pretty much could count on getting stopped for a small interview, accompanied with the multitudes staring..." look-a xeno!" I've seen it happen so many times and I feel so bad for them and for the ppl in parish for being lame. I can't count how many times we've had visitors and someone sitting next to me like my cousin or my mom whispering into my ear or nudging at me to look at them. Gosh this is North America.

Back to the topic, the priest doesn't ask any of the altar boys (including me) to confess before communion. He just wants us to confess 4 times a year before all the major fasts. I don't know how Serbs do it though- confession before every single communion. Serious  Shocked
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« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2006, 11:18:34 PM »

Serb1389,

Isn't there a prayer of confession in the liturgy? At my parish, we as a congregation, use a lovely prayer even if we have been to confession.

Oh yah there is, except for the fact that the priest probobly has either 1) no idea what the prayer says, or the theology behind it, or 2) how to actualize the prayer in HIS life, and therefore the lives of the people

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And with regard to communing at Easter, we usually hear the homily of St John Chrysostom, who enjoins everyone to come to communion, even if they didn't fast for five minutes during Lent or Great Week.

We hear it too, do you think that matters?  It does maybe for that one day. But the theology DEFINATELY doesn't carry over, or resinate with the preist WHATSOEVER.  If it did then I would be able to partake more than 3 times A YEAR.  

They're willing to listen to Chrysostom for 1 day and say "oh its easter, this is when ALL the people show up for church"  but when "all the people" (i.e. the regulars) show up EVERY SUNDAY, somehow that's not good enough.  
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« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2006, 11:19:49 PM »

I don't know how Serbs do it though- confession before every single communion. Serious  Shocked

You better believe it.  Anything less would be sacriligious  Wink Undecided
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« Reply #53 on: March 03, 2006, 12:12:30 AM »

Oh yah there is, except for the fact that the priest probobly has either 1) no idea what the prayer says, or the theology behind it, or 2) how to actualize the prayer in HIS life, and therefore the lives of the people

We hear it too, do you think that matters?  It does maybe for that one day. But the theology DEFINATELY doesn't carry over, or resinate with the preist WHATSOEVER.  If it did then I would be able to partake more than 3 times A YEAR. ÂÂ

They're willing to listen to Chrysostom for 1 day and say "oh its easter, this is when ALL the people show up for church"  but when "all the people" (i.e. the regulars) show up EVERY SUNDAY, somehow that's not good enough. ÂÂ

All sounds very frustrating frustrating.  Sad
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« Reply #54 on: March 03, 2006, 12:44:47 AM »

Confessing before EVERY communion?  Isn't that VERY monastic?  We're not monks.  We can't possibly be expected to think about our shortcommings ALL the time, while in the world.  Actually, forgive me, that EXPECTATION can be there, but that you MUST CONFESS every time, that's not an expectation.  That's a ENFORCEMENT of an ideal that is unrealistic when dealing with people.  Why not every OTHER week?  No, that wouldn't happen becuase "that isn't enough", but who is to say that isn't enough? ÂÂ

The other question that I have for these priests is "when's the last time YOU confessed"

For Serbian priests the answer is "more years than you've been alive" (sorry for the exageration but you'd be surprised at how close I am to the answer)

How can they expect us to confess, and we MUST confess, EVERY WEEK, when they've confessed once...in their whole lives, before ordination? ÂÂ

Priests read a special pre-communal prayer in the morning when they wake up before serving liturgy (at least Russian priests do). It isn't technically 'confession' but there is that extra step of preparation that most of us don't bother with.

I don't think I'd feel good walking up to the sacrament without confession. Maybe it's because I'm used to it this way. To me communion doesn't seem as effective without the confession, communion to me is sort of the epitomy of the confession. You cleanse yourself with confession and then wash your soul with the blood and flesh of Christ, it sort of acts as a booster for your newly cleaned soul. The two go hand in hand, it's hard for me to imagine one without the other (although I have gone to confession without communion).

There's a problem often in ROCOR parishes because there are people who come from Russia and have attended church very irregularly before. Sometimes they like the service so much that they want to participate and they get in line for communion, thinking it's no different than getting the antidoron.

The priest has no idea if this person is 1) baptized Orthodox, 2) doesn't have pancakes and grits from breakfast sitting in their stomach, and 3) has confessed. If a priest doesn't care, then someone might receive the sacrament who is unprepared, and therefore sacrament will not be to their benefit. That can lead a person into temptation.

In big parishes it is hard to keep track of people, especially if you have several priests. Sometimes they send a subdeacon out to the middle of the line who will ask those whom he has never seen in church before if they've properly prepared.

So there's a good reason why the chalice is guarded, but it is very important that it is guarded with LOVE and not this wideeyed "Sorry man, you can't have any" attitude.
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« Reply #55 on: March 03, 2006, 11:07:59 AM »

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So there's a good reason why the chalice is guarded, but it is very important that it is guarded with LOVE and not this wideeyed "Sorry man, you can't have any" attitude.

IF it were truly guarded with Love, then why is that love never transfered to the people.  The priest loves the chalice so much that he forgets that the chalice is there for the PEOPLE and not just for him.  

Where is St. Basil who said that we should partake 4 times a week?  If I were to say this to one of these priests not only would they be dumbfounded, but they would probobly get pissed off and think that i'm some young whiper-snapper who wants thinks I can "teach them something" which would of course be a BIG no-no  Shocked  

I don't feel good going up to the chalice without confession either.  I go to confession at least once a month.  This works out VERY well for me.  But underneath a system such as the one i've described, you can't do that.  You can't confess when it is TIME to confess.  You have to DURESS your conscious into coughing up things for the priest, just for the sake of Tradition.  

I'm sorry, to me that's very problematic.  Confession is a sacrament of repentence, not a sacrament of "hey I have to do this in order to do that" where's the repentence in that?  What's the point of me regurgitating things every week if they really arn't things that matter?  Or even things I care about?  

Yes that is my spiritual problem, but at the same time, if I have to do things like this every week, its going to be very hard to actually understand what that sacrament of confession is!  It becomes only the springboard for communion.  Which is not what confession should be.  
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« Reply #56 on: March 03, 2006, 11:17:06 AM »

I don't think it's possible for me to go A SINGLE DAY without sinning somehow. Most of us don't go to liturgy every day of the week, so communing four times a week is something only monastics do.

In ROCOR the more frequent communers usually commune on every one of the twelve great feasts, plus their namesday, during Great Lent, and Easter. The elderly and infirm can commune more frequently than that. If a person frequently communes the confession can in many cases be quite short. If you have nothing serious burdening your soul, sometimes a priest will simply say "Do you repent?" and you say "I repent", you think of your sins and the absolution prayer is read over you.
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« Reply #57 on: March 03, 2006, 12:38:54 PM »

You're right.  I tried to show that confession is central to our lives and to our spiritual growth, especially because we DO sin every day.  However, when confession becomes the BASIS for communion, then I have a problem.  

Why should communing 4 times a week be only for monastics?  Are they better than us?  

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If you have nothing serious burdening your soul, sometimes a priest will simply say "Do you repent?" and you say "I repent", you think of your sins and the absolution prayer is read over you.

I have heard this and seen this SOOOO many times its not even funny.  These people who come to church for the 3 times for communion say this little "skit" every time they recieve (i'm using myself as an example).  So what then?  My 1 time of communion becomes "do you repent" and "yes I do repent" and then what?  No dialogue, no spiritual guidence, nothing.  Just the priest's self-satisfaction that I confessed.  What was the point?  Other than the Holy Spirit, which at that point I have NOOO idea that the Holy Spirit is actually working, becuase the priest never bothered to explain that part to me....
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« Reply #58 on: March 03, 2006, 03:29:39 PM »

It's really up to a person's individual spiritual discretion how often they take part in the sacraments.

You say that 4 times a week is good for communion but not for confession. Someone like me might have the opposite view. That's fine really, if you feel like you can do that and your spiritual father thinks it's okay, then there's no problem.

If you need to speak to a priest about something then you really aught to make that clear.

But if someone comes to confession in the morning before liturgy (when the priest has to do prothesis) or even worse, during service, then don't expect to get that individual attention. The proper time to confess is before or after vigil on Saturday evening, or if it's something serious where you need to have a spiritual discussion (something few people bother with) then to make arrangements during the week.

Of course, there are people (esp. those old ladies) that come to priests in the guise of a spiritual discussion/confession and use this time to complain to priests about their life. To them a priest becomes someone who's job is to listen and they're not even so much interested in the input the priest has to offer, they simply want a sympathetic ear. I can see how that might irritate some priests. But that's a separate topic...
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« Reply #59 on: March 03, 2006, 04:12:37 PM »

It's embarrasing for some people when they get turned away at the chalice, but if a priest begins administering the mystery like it's some snack you can give anyone, that is just plain wrong.

Nonsense. The act of communion is between each person and God. All the rules made up about WHEN you are "worthy" are made by man - and therefore WRONG.
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« Reply #60 on: March 03, 2006, 06:43:24 PM »

Nonsense. The act of communion is between each person and God. All the rules made up about WHEN you are "worthy" are made by man - and therefore WRONG.

The CHURCH is what is important to us. We look to the Church for guidance, not simply 'man'.

What kind of respect is it for the sacrament if we start administering it to anyone at random, sending people the message 'hey, you really don't need to prepare for this, go ahead!' ?

There were some Catholics that used to pressure Orthodox kids to commune in their churches, because according to Catholic rule if you commune in their church you are considered a Catholic. That's sort of a trick method and shouldn't apply to us.

The sacrament is a gift from God and we cannot treat it as if it is something that is of our own making - it is a GIFT from God to us. Once the bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Christ, it is no longer "our" bread and wine but God's flesh and blood, to be used in the manner prescribed by His Church.

The Church's guidance extends to the administration of the sacraments which are done with God's participation. Clerics are given discretion by the Church to guard the chalice and make sure the sacrament is administered properly. If they misuse their authority they will answer to God for that.


 
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« Reply #61 on: March 03, 2006, 08:08:21 PM »

Their answer is: "becuase that's the way its done"  or even "how can you be fully prepared if you have not recieved confession?"  

My answer is: Because the Serbian church came out of a monastic tradition, so a lot of the precepts of the Tradition of our church come from these tendencies.  Monks do confession I believe before every communion, or at least once a week.  This is the same standards Serbian priests have.  


The tradition of the Serbian Church is no more or less monastic than that of any other Church, to the best of my knowledge.  I have never heard of monks who are not Serbs having such cut-and-dry guidelines.  Of course, there are monks who follow rules like this one, but there are those that don't as well.

I think you are absolutely right when you "complain" about being denied communion on a frequent basis.  There is no patristic precedent for this at all.  In fact, as you have pointed out , just the reverse is true.
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« Reply #62 on: March 03, 2006, 08:29:38 PM »

It's really up to a person's individual spiritual discretion how often they take part in the sacraments.

With all due respect, I have to strongly disagree with you.  In the early Church, if someone had not been to communion for more than 3 weeks, it was assumed that this person had left the Church.  Over the centuries  infrequent communion has become the rule for laypeople, but this is really a great abuse.  The gifts are there to be eaten.  This is what they are for.  Also, the discretion is not just up to the individual person, but also their spiritual director as well.

I agree that frequent confession is necessary, but I also agree with the posters who say that insisting on confession before every communion is too much.  This iron-clad link between confession and communion comes precisely from a church culture where infrequent communion is the norm.  (If someone only goes to communion once or twice a year, then of course confession before communion should be a requirement.)
Personally, I think confession once a month or perhaps slightly less should be okay.  

I really think Serb1389 is right.  The gifts are not only for monks and clergy.  How is it that priests are expected to commune at every liturgy, and the laity very infrequently?  This is clericalism, pure and simple.  It has no place in Orthodoxy.  ( I don't want to sound disrespectful, but why can priests go to communion without confession directly before?  Does their ordination somehow impart a kind of blagodatz that makes this unnecessary?  I don't think so.)  The other side of the coin is that the laity have to become more responsible for their spiritual growth.  

I like a lot of the posts that you have made about sensitivity regarding the distribution of the gifts.  Thanks.

James Bob
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« Reply #63 on: March 03, 2006, 09:03:48 PM »

Kaminetz,

I think we're still saying slightly different things, and not finding a commonality.  Is there any way that we can come to a middle?  I'm not saying that we are speaking opposites, just that we are speaking to 2 different aspects of communion and confession.  Do you think that we are that different minded about the issues?

I agree with you though, it is OUR responsability to say something.  And thank you very much, becuase now I AM going to say something to my priest.  In a very loving and "starting from this point" manner.  Hopefully it will have an effect.  But knowing the priest...it probobly won't.  He's too old to change...
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« Reply #64 on: March 04, 2006, 01:25:46 PM »

I do believe that in a perfect world we should be confessing and communing frequently. The early Christians were people of enormous spiritual fortitude, I have a lot of respect for them and what they had to live through.

For many of us, to leap into such frequency suddenly isn't easy nor spiritually beneficial in my view. I strongly feel that by linking confession and communion together we are maximising the benefit of both sacraments. To me, walking up to the chalice in a non contemplary fasion is not spiritually beneficial.

We also have to remember that people establish certain rhythms for their sacramental life, and we do have spiritual fathers that help us find that medium for ourselves (I never said that it is something that we should only do alone, based on our whim), the same concerns fasts. Some people will be able to give up meat but not fish. Others may be strong enough to get rid of not just fish and oil but make an even more severe restriction, i.e. eat only bread in the morning, etc. Others, meanwhile, might only be able to give up meat and even that will be not easy, but at least it's a starting point. Yet at the same time a spiritual father is there to make sure you're 1) not being too lax about your life, and 2) not trying to jump too far too fast.

People who do the latter risk falling into the spiritual state known as 'prelest', or they can simply become frustrated by the task they've imposed on themselves and lapse into despondancy.  

Say a person communes every week. They get used to the fact that they are communing every Sunday. It can fall into a routine, and a person who isn't spiritually strong enough to be mindful and isn't taking the sacrament with "fear and faith" may begin viewing the sacrament more like the antidor.

I know one person who used to commune regularly, this person no longer goes to any Church. When I spoke to him, he didn't even understand what confession was for - and this was an OCA parishioner where confession is not linked with the sacrament. This kind of spiritual neglect happens too often, we don't treasure what we have.

I don't think, Serb, that I disagree with you so drastically. It's not a big deal, I don't have a problem with people who commune without confessing every time. I'm not insisting that this has to be the rule for everyone everywhere.
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« Reply #65 on: March 04, 2006, 03:02:21 PM »

I agree with Kaminets about the routine thing.

When I was younger, my mom would take us to church every Sunday and make us take communion (fasting from the night before of course) because she said that when she was a young kid (back in the 60's), her family went to church frequently but did not take communion. So she kind of has this attitude that as long as you take communion, everything will be ok...but it wasn't. I started thinking communion was boring, dumb, and like a small breakfast (combined with the antidoron afterwards). It became nothing to me.

So a couple years back I started refusing to have communion every single time I was in church and I benefitted a lot from seeing others go up, but keeping myself back and remembering how important it really is. Of course that initially shocked her and she thought I was "going far from the path" because I was a teenager..when in fact I had already gone off it and was trying to get back on.

my lil schpeel of the day...
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« Reply #66 on: March 04, 2006, 03:13:37 PM »

I agree with both of you.  There should DEFINATELY be a balance, and a discernment process with your spiritual father.

The problem is that a lot of the priests out there (Serbian and otherwise) have NOOO idea what being a spiritual father means.  One serbian priest told me "how can I be a spiritual father when I never had one myself?"  which is a very valid point, but doesn't help me get closer to God and the church.  

Their discernment process is what they believe HAS to happen.  They have no idea what frequent communion is.  Its an IMBALANCED approach (IMHO).  

But ultimately the question was how do we deal with such priests.  I belive that answer was given.  We really should approach the priest and work with them to reach an understanding.  
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« Reply #67 on: March 04, 2006, 05:53:28 PM »

I think the most important thing here is to understand each priest's limitations. Some priests aren't as good at giving individual spiritual advice as others - there's no 'bar exam' that they have to pass Smiley In the Greek church there is even a special permission given to some priests to hear confessions, others don't get this priviledge.

In ROCOR I can tell you a serious problem is that there is a shortage of clergymen. Sometimes people have even been made priests who haven't had a seminary education. Then there are other jurisdictions where the idea of a spiritual father isn't as pronounced, there is more a reliance on spiritual 'brotherhood and sisterhood', in other words your immediate circle of fellow Christians.

Your priest may simply be insecure in his ability to be a full fledged spiritual father, after all it's quite a serious responsibility to undertake.

It's important to respect the priest's limitations, and understand that if they can't get involved in your life as much as you feel necessary, your best answer may be to find someone else who can offer this to you if that is an option.

It's hard for me to make more specific suggestions without knowing the situation firsthand.

I think the first step is to ask the priest if they'd take the time to discuss your spiritual dilemmas, and for you to do some careful preparation in advance - even write an outline of the discussion if you wish. In the process of putting your thoughts together you may find that you will stumble upon some important ideas. Another suggestion is in the midst of your preparation for a talk, do some spiritual reading on your own, this can be of great help in trying to put a perspective on things as opposed to coming to a priest with a mess of loose thoughts. At the same time, be sure you leave things open ended enough to allow the priest to offer you his council, don't make it like a 'manifesto' or anything like that. Be sure you are there to listen and not just to hear yourself talk.

If you come with this sort of preparation, a priest who doesn't have a lot of experience or courage in counciling people will have an easier time talking to you and possibly feel more emboldened to continue doing so in the future. Spremte si spremte Chetnitsi Wink
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« Reply #68 on: March 04, 2006, 08:05:14 PM »

HAHAHAHAHA where did Chetnici come from?   Wink Grin

Actually I really like your idea.  I will definately prepare an "afadavit" for my next conversation.  Maybe i'll even write a thesis based on this, so that I can have more opportunity to study the different aspects.  Either way you've given me a lot of food for thought.  

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« Reply #69 on: March 11, 2006, 04:24:49 AM »

The above quote has given me food for thought. I'm assuming that serb1389 wasn't suggesting that his priest/dad was rude to people and that he found that amusing, but the comment did make me wonder how people dealt with abusive and insensitive priests.

I had a friend who attended a parish where the priest was appallingly brusque (interpret that as positively rude and unloving) with the members of his flock and often my friend was reduced to despair. Though we must honour our priests and forgive their foibles, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. I personally, would never allow one such leeway and he would be informed at an appropriate moment, with diplomacy and charity, that I found his behaviour unacceptable.

Any thoughts?




When I first went to an Orthodox Church (in 2003) the priest and parish were quite welcoming. The priest, however continually told me that we'd get together to discuss my conversion 'soon'. Months went by and he continued to tell me that 'soon' we'd get together.

Then my mum got cancer. She had a mastectomy, then a hysterectomy. I went to my priest. He said "I'll pray for you". Whilst prayer is a great thing I found his response totally underwhelming. I left that parish without ever having been chrismated
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« Reply #70 on: March 11, 2006, 04:47:30 AM »

Canonically, it takes 3 years to be received into Orthodoxy. I don't know the full situation, but it seems as if the priest was acting in accordance with the faith. I know for me, I was sort of "rushed" too, but my priest slowed me down, and I am thankful for it. In the end, I realized all my reasons for trying to get into Orthodoxy  quickly were selfish and consumeristic. But, as I said, I am being corrected by my very wise priest, and am very grateful!
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« Reply #71 on: March 11, 2006, 10:50:44 AM »

Montalban's situation seems different to me.  I know a lot of priests who have handled situations the same way.  Actually i'm pretty sure it's a Serbian gene.  You say yes, but you really arn't going to do it.  I know i'm as guilty of this as anyone else... Cheesy

Seriously though, it's a big problem.  These priests lead you on a string and never follow through.  I don't care so much if you can't do your job, just TELL ME!!!! suck it up and be honest to YOURSELF, to GOD and to me, but they won't.  They can't acknowledge the fact that they don't feel like doing their job.  And even when they know it, they won't say anything in public, OR PRIVATE, which I think is rediculous.  

The danger of saying things, of course, is having people focus on YOUR problem (as a priest) instead of the problems of the church, and the focus on the sacraments, etc.  This is very dangerous and needs to be thought about when discussing such issues...
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« Reply #72 on: March 11, 2006, 11:40:56 PM »

Orthodox priests are TERRIBLE for not returning calls, getting back to you and not being blunt or, worse yet, being rude. I asked a priest about this once and his answer was as follows:  Most priests are overworked - They are either the only presbyter for a large parish or the priest of a small parish and have a full time job outside church. After following all the prescribed prayers, services etc. Many priests don't have the time or energy to follow up and do things that evangelical pastors do. Priests are "on their own" in Orthodoxy.  Most other Christian groups have lay ministers of evangelical deacons, assistants, "brothers" etc.  that can do almost anything a priest can do. Many priests feel that their function is simply to "dispense sacraments."  The ability to hear confessions is "forced upon" many priests in many jurisdictions (some Serbian, OCA, Antiochian) without proper spiritual preparation or training simply because, in this country, in most cases there isn't a close enough option (like a monastery "up the hill"). Except in Greece, where the average priest gets a fair salary (similiar to a school teacher) being an Orthodox priest is not very financially rewarding. Episcopal and evangelical preachers can make a good coin. Though money is not the object of being a priest, poverty puts many capable men off.  Finally, he said your typical priest is an introvert. If he is an outgoing, gregarious fellow, he is accused of being a "neo-evangelical Antiochian priest" who doesn't know what he is doing or isn't "very Orthodox"

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« Reply #73 on: March 12, 2006, 05:46:34 AM »

Montalban's situation seems different to me.  I know a lot of priests who have handled situations the same way.  Actually i'm pretty sure it's a Serbian gene.  You say yes, but you really arn't going to do it.  I know i'm as guilty of this as anyone else... Cheesy

Seriously though, it's a big problem.  These priests lead you on a string and never follow through.  I don't care so much if you can't do your job, just TELL ME!!!! suck it up and be honest to YOURSELF, to GOD and to me, but they won't.  They can't acknowledge the fact that they don't feel like doing their job.  And even when they know it, they won't say anything in public, OR PRIVATE, which I think is rediculous. ÂÂ

The danger of saying things, of course, is having people focus on YOUR problem (as a priest) instead of the problems of the church, and the focus on the sacraments, etc.  This is very dangerous and needs to be thought about when discussing such issues...
Odd you should say that, because although it's an Antiochian Orthodox church, the priest is Serb

But what really got my goat was his underwhelming response to my mum getting cancer
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« Reply #74 on: March 12, 2006, 05:54:27 AM »

Hehe BasilCan, my priest doesn't fit the pofile, I guess! He is a convert priest, out-going, and in the OCA. He always returns calls (sometimes within minutes!), always has time to hear confession, and is certainly not afraid of being blunt! He helps in the Church school, has a large family, and still gives exra time to the parish! I really don't the education/salary/situation are ever too much to blame.
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« Reply #75 on: March 12, 2006, 03:42:13 PM »

I do believe that in a perfect world we should be confessing and communing frequently. The early Christians were people of enormous spiritual fortitude, I have a lot of respect for them and what they had to live through.

Today is no different from apostolic times.  I don't need to remind you that it's the same Church now as it was then.  We are offered exactly the same chance for holiness and witness that the early Christians were.

Quote
For many of us, to leap into such frequency suddenly isn't easy nor spiritually beneficial in my view.

Who said it should be done suddenly?  With some people there's no reason why it can't be done.  With others, it may take some time and pastoral care.

Quote
I strongly feel that by linking confession and communion together we are maximising the benefit of both sacraments.

Well, this is your personal view, and not the patristic one.

Quote
Say a person communes every week. They get used to the fact that they are communing every Sunday. It can fall into a routine, and a person who isn't spiritually strong enough to be mindful and isn't taking the sacrament with "fear and faith" may begin viewing the sacrament more like the antidor.

It's also a  routine to commune once or twice a year.  I repeat: this is a great abuse of the sacrament.  While you are totally correct in saying that we have to discern what we are doing when we commune, I would like to emphasize that there is never a time when one is "worthy" to commune of the Gifts.  I don't mean by this that we shouldn't take it very  seriously and prepare to receive the Holy Mysteries.  I just want to say that we have to remember that there is never a time when communion is not given or received by a sinner.  To say that we are somehow "worthy" after having read several canons, gone to confession etc. and only approaching the gifts on an irregular basis is pride of the worst kind.  This can be eating and drinking condemnation unto ourselves just like when we don't discern what we are eating and drinking.

Quote
I know one person who used to commune regularly, this person no longer goes to any Church. When I spoke to him, he didn't even understand what confession was for - and this was an OCA parishioner where confession is not linked with the sacrament. This kind of spiritual neglect happens too often, we don't treasure what we have.

This is bad too.  This person has not received spiritual guidance, and it's clearly not right.  

Quote
I don't think, Serb, that I disagree with you so drastically. It's not a big deal, I don't have a problem with people who commune without confessing every time. I'm not insisting that this has to be the rule for everyone everywhere.

I appreciate the sentiment you express here, but it contradicts the support you show for confession before every communion that you express elsewhere in your post.
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« Reply #76 on: March 12, 2006, 04:15:01 PM »

Quote
Today is no different from apostolic times.  I don't need to remind you that it's the same Church now as it was then.  We are offered exactly the same chance for holiness and witness that the early Christians were.

To those of us living in America, Canada, Australia, the EU etc. we do not have any chance of being executed or imprisoned for being Christians.  Just like Roman times, eh?
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« Reply #77 on: March 12, 2006, 04:24:17 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8315.msg111197#msg111197 date=1142194501]
To those of us living in America, Canada, Australia, the EU etc. we do not have any chance of being executed or imprisoned for being Christians.  Just like Roman times, eh?
[/quote]

{ASIDE}
You're right - we're not under physical persection... but we are under social and spiritual persecution, with Orthodoxy portrayed as being strange and foreign and even dangerous (remember the thread about the news report on St. Anthony's?)

I think the comment that the Church is the same is pertinent to a discussion on the communing and confessing practices, because in one sense "The Body of Christ" is the same always - which Is the Church.  We can't just look back to the early times and sing "glory days" while reminiscing to a time which most of us wouldn't have survived in.{/ASIDE}
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« Reply #78 on: March 12, 2006, 04:46:31 PM »

Quote
(remember the thread about the news report on St. Anthony's?)

Yeah but being called weird and strange is a far cry from physical torture and death.  

Without that impetus of sudden death most of us live much more laxly than during the first 300 years of Christianity.  
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« Reply #79 on: March 12, 2006, 04:55:24 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8315.msg111197#msg111197 date=1142194501]
To those of us living in America, Canada, Australia, the EU etc. we do not have any chance of being executed or imprisoned for being Christians.  Just like Roman times, eh?
[/quote]

My point is that the Church today is exactly the same Church today as it was then.  We have exactly the same apostolic witness now that the early Christians had.  Otherwise, the whole point of having an apostolic succession appears to me to be moot.  And yes, there have been thousands upon thousands of witnesses for Christ who have shed their blood in the last 100 years for Christ, although not in the countries you mention.  As you are fully aware, some of us still have the ability to choose the white martyrdom of monasticism, if we feel that we are able to do this.  It's very hard to be a Christian in this world of rampant secularism and individualism too, as you know.  I'm not saying that the times now are exactly as the times were then.  Every age has its challenge for the Christian.  But I am saying that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow."
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« Reply #80 on: March 12, 2006, 05:01:26 PM »

I think the comment that the Church is the same is pertinent to a discussion on the communing and confessing practices, because in one sense "The Body of Christ" is the same always - which Is the Church.  We can't just look back to the early times and sing "glory days" while reminiscing to a time which most of us wouldn't have survived in.

Exactly.  
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« Reply #81 on: March 12, 2006, 05:06:17 PM »

[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8315.msg111203#msg111203 date=1142196391]
Yeah but being called weird and strange is a far cry from physical torture and death.  

Without that impetus of sudden death most of us live much more laxly than during the first 300 years of Christianity.  
[/quote]

True, we do live more laxly; I'm sure in the first few centuries, though, you had many people who weren't 100% committed to the faith; we just don't read about them because many apostacized officially or they strengthened their faith in the face of the persecutions.  That is essentially what we need to do now (and we're not really disagreeing on this point) - that we need to convince people that they are being persecuted for their souls.
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« Reply #82 on: March 12, 2006, 10:45:30 PM »

...If he is an outgoing, gregarious fellow, he is accused of being a "neo-evangelical Antiochian priest" who doesn't know what he is doing or isn't "very Orthodox"

Oh, I'm sure the are some "neo-evangelical [fill in a jurisdiction] priests" out there as well.

The Antiochian accusations are probably rightfully so in many cases.
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« Reply #83 on: March 13, 2006, 12:42:37 AM »

That is essentially what we need to do now (and we're not really disagreeing on this point) - that we need to convince people that they are being persecuted for their souls.

Ah, but how do we achieve this?
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« Reply #84 on: March 13, 2006, 03:31:41 AM »

Oh,  boy, there's the million dollar question.  If I could answer that, I'd probably already be out in a parish doing it.
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« Reply #85 on: March 13, 2006, 06:00:36 PM »

I know how I would solve these problems  Wink

too bad there's not enough psychlogists in the world to deal with the results.... Grin

Just start slapping people around....none of this codling BS
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« Reply #86 on: March 21, 2006, 05:16:00 PM »

Has anyone had a situation where the priest was nice and then got very mad that you were not praying enough?  I mean a situation where you explain a difficulty and instead of gentle support you get yelled at.
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« Reply #87 on: March 21, 2006, 08:23:40 PM »

Welcome to my world my friend.  haha.  

No seriously, I have experienced that, but I kept my mouth shut.  In fact i've never pointed out the problems of the priest, to the priest.....ever.  Being that my dad is a priest that is probobly why I have such an aversion to confrontation.  

However, I believe strongly in speaking to the issue, i've just never been able to do it myself.  If you look at the earlier posts in this topic, you'll see that some other people have pointed out very nice and fairly good ways of addressing issues.  I would suggest those over anything I'm going to say... Cool
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« Reply #88 on: March 21, 2006, 08:41:27 PM »






Thanks!
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