11 May 2014

"You are not owners of doctrine!"

Wise words from the Holy Father to newly ordained priests:

The Holy Father spoke to the men of his sadness at hearing of people who had the experience of being “thrashed” or “yelled at” in the confessional and never returned because they felt that “the doors of the Church were closed in their face!”

“Please, don’t do this!” he exclaimed.

[AMEN! This has got to be one of the dumbest things a priest can do. Confession is hard enough w/o adding another dose of fear to the equation. Anyone who approaches The Box is there b/c the Holy Spirit sent them there. And they should be treated as co-operators with the Spirit's grace.]
[. . .]

Pope Francis also reminded those seeking ordination to be faithful to the gospel they were taught rather than creating their own ideas.

“Teach that which you have learned in the faith, live that which you have taught. A nourishment to the people of God will therefore be your doctrine, which is not yours: you are not owners of doctrine! It is the doctrine of the Lord, and you must be faithful to the doctrine of the Lord!

[AMEN! No one owns the doctrine of the faith. Not even the Pope. Clergy and religious who treat the faith like a personal possession need to find another line of work. All this nonsense about "creative dissent" is just cover for plain ole dissent. Father shouldn't be teaching and preaching his personal theology.]
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  1. I think perhaps I've had some bad confessional experiences so I could encourage others! I must be a glutton for punishment, because I kept coming back until I found a good confessor. I clearly remember being scolded soundly by one old priest, and exiting the confessional in tears - but it taught me how to find a good confessor without necessarily having to go to confession to find out if he was decent.

  2. Anonymous7:40 AM

    Amen, Shelly.
    There is one I don't like the way he treats me but I have figured out we all fare better when I just give general, don't go into detail (unless he asks and there has to be a DANG good reason to explain). I even told my children this, warning them to just say it and get out, and don't be specific or go into detail! To me, it is like dealing with difficult people at the parish.

  3. I think a buttchewing can be beneficial IF IT'S DESERVED! Having been on the receiving end of a few makes me think theres a definite time for them. This isn't to say "Father" should garner the reputation of being nothing but teeth and eyeballs once he goes "in the box". But don't we all know folks who treat Reconciliation/Confession as just another chore to get done and over with? THOSE folks (and sometimes I'm in that crowd) definetly need the verbal equivalent of a slap upside the head.

    1. Subvet, that's what spiritual direction is for. . .and also why I'm not a very popular spiritual director. ;-)

    2. I never got anything in the confessional that I didn't deserve.

    3. Fr. Philip, I take it no one should ask you a question they might not like the answer to.

    4. Christian LeBlanc, ditto. Didn't say I liked what I heard but deserved it. One priest apologized for not being diplomatic. I responded by saying, "Father, I didn't come here for diplomacy." That may have been a mistake, he seemed to take it as a go-ahead to shift into high gear.

    5. Subvet, I try not to sugar-coat things. I'm not mean or anything, but I do tend to cut thru the BS and get to the meat of things rather quickly.

    6. I am following this with interest - I think there is a need to be careful of how we use the word "deserve". I shudder to think what I would receive if I were to receive what I "deserved!" The best confessors I have experienced are those who tend to be forthright and honest from the pulpit, faithful to the prayers/actions of the Mass, and who have an understanding of their own need for God's mercy. They are compassionate(in the true sense of the word) in "the box" - which does not mean they sugar-coat or try to make me feel better - rather, they speak the truth plainly, which is sometimes difficult to hear but always better in the long (and short) run.