Discussing Concerns with new-ish Pastor, without creating SheepAttack
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,224
    Ok, so,

    Many people, devout people, people who have over many, many years, devoted much time, talent, and treasure as Altar Boys, Readers, Choir-members, Catechists, Sacristans, etc., have come to me with many concerns about some of the liturgical things done by our new-ish Pastor (who just celebrated his 10th ordination anniversary, and is about to celebrate his 2nd anniversary as Pastor). These include such things as unreasonably long homilies -- by which I mean 25-30 minutes; improvised and "preachy" General Intercessions, sometime lasting 10 minutes; and overly-long introductory remarks, which on certain Saints' Days have become 10 minute sermons in themselves; then compensating for this by rushing through the Super Oblata, Preface, and Eucharistic Prayer.

    Also of concern, and this greatly bothers me, as well, is that he will occasionally, in the same opening remarks, come up with some "clever" pun off the saint's name. Additionally, he will occasionally, when giving a blessing or something, make a joke out of it.

    The problem is that many of the people who have come to this parish came specifically to get away from things like this.

    And the thing is, I don't entirely blame him, personally---it is his lack of formation at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary for Delayed Vocations, combined with a lack of knowledge about the pre-Concilliar Church, as he is a convert from the Baptist church (Our former Pastor was also non-formed at the same institution, but could supplement from his memory of the Old Ways). I know that he has good intentions -- he is learning the TLM -- and he has been open to other suggestions of mine, but those haven't impinged directly on his ars celebrandi (or lack thereof).

    I know that these things are causing problems--our attendance at the Sunday High Mass has gone from 200 to 60; I am losing choir members because they can't take the length of the Masses: 1 1/2 hrs. on most weeks, mainly taken up by the sermons (!) and general intercessions.

    People are coming to me, being a point of continuity between the Ancienne Regime and the New Guy, as if I am the Pastor and he is my wayward Curate. I know that something needs to be done, but I'm not sure what, or how. I don't want to be the leader of a Sheep Attack, but I also don't want the parish to collapse.

    So, in sum: HELP!!!!
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,528
    This is simpler than you realize and you already have part of the answer here:

    1. You are not the pastor, and he is not your wayward curate.

    2. You don't actually know that something needs to be done, because you don't what it is, or how. And unless people have somewhere else to go, collapse is less likely than loss of good energy, and miasma setting in.

    Thanked by 2Salieri CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,224
    Thank you, Liam. Sometimes it just takes someone who is completely outside of the situation to see the solution.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,528
    Can't tell if you were being ... ironic, but I was serious, not snarky. People need to take responsibility for communicating their issues with the pastor to the pastor; for them to try to deputize you as their advocate is a form of injustice to you. If he's demonstrated a pattern of blowing his flock off, then to the vicar forane or regional bishop, if any, though that's really something that doesn't have traction with the kinds of things you've listed.
    Thanked by 1tsoapm
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,224
    No, I was being honest. What you say is absolutely correct, and I hope that I didn't come across as being sarcastic or anything, it was certainly NOT my intention.

    Sometimes when a person is so closely involved with things, it becomes a situation of not seeing the forest for the trees type of thing---I'm sure that's not the right metaphor. It is difficult seeing attendance at all the Masses plummeting, and hearing the same complaints from vastly different people, and feeling like you HAVE to do something, but the truth is, there is nothing I CAN do. It's not my place--and they should take their concerns to him directly. I am not their spokesman. I have been causing myself a great deal of anguish over this, and fretting about what to do--but, I'm not going to do anything, it's not worth an ulcer.

    Again, I hope this doesn't sound sarcastic, I don't intend it to be.
  • People do need to talk directly with the new pastor.

    If he is not responsive, they then need to meet directly with the Bishop - telephone calls to a chancery may be pretty much a waste of time 'cause things get "filtered" before they get to him.

    The bishop KNOWS that giving has dropped in the parish and possibly putting this guy there may be a move to close the parish down.
  • Noel,

    I didn't get the sense that giving was down before this pastor arrived, but that it had dropped because of this pastor. Did I misunderstand?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,224
    (On paper, giving has actually stayed fairly consistent--this has to do with a diocese-wide increased-giving campaign a year ago, plus new practices put in place when after a 'sting' operation we confirmed our suspicions that someone was nicking from the till, but that's not the topic being discussed--despite the exodus of tuchuses from pews, so money isn't an issue---if you just look at figures on paper it looks like the campaign was basically a failure because we're all too cheap to give more, those stat.s don't show pew-count.)
  • toddevoss
    Posts: 48
    Quite frankly with such a massive drop in attendance, I am surprised he hasn't asked someone "why do you think this is happening" (and you would be a good candidate since you have had a leading role in the parish for many years). If he does ask you, I would just be honest about what you have heard.
  • I have noticed a trend among younger priests--no matter where they went to seminary--to stretch the homily longer than it should. This, in spite of admonitions to the contrary by Pope Francis and several bishops. I have no objections to a long homily as long as it says something. Having a captive audience must be tempting!

    As for the extra commentary and joking around, there is no place for this.

    Salieri, the fact that your pastor is making the effort to learn the Latin Mass is impressive. Maybe, that is a starting point for you to have an honest discussion with him.