Bullying in the Church
  • What is the worst case of bullying that you have seen in your church? We get it all the time. It is not fun.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Passive aggressive priests who refuse to answer your emails about a given issue.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,641
    I'm not sure this is the best idea of a topic.
  • We've never had a problem with the priests at our church, but we are a constant target of abuse and disrespect by the administrators of the church elementary school, which our children attend. The finance director (who is no longer in charge of handling the school tuition, not even sure he's working for the church anymore) called me one day to say that we owed an absurd and invented amount of money, and-in his words-"Other people here who give their time and talent(i.e. Money) make it possible for PEOPLE LIKE YOU to be here." I immediately called the pastor, who was furious, and this person was told never to contact or speak to us ever again. We did not owe anything and had paid exactly what we had to pay, as we always had. Further abuses come regularly from the school principal, who is now going so far as to demand that our oldest son, who has mild learning disabilities and has a service plan, be given an "official" diagnosis because the services the school is providing are "no longer sufficient". Again this is all about money, and she is seeking to recoup whatever losses she thinks we create by being on parish tuition assistance. Never mind that we've had many tests done over the years and no doctor will give her what she's looking for. It's particularly bad this year because the pastor, who has always been kind and supportive of us, and who knows we are active members of the church, does not get along with the principal and frequently overrides her "authority" on school issues. But he can do that, he's the pastor. He significantly reduced our tuition this year because we were having a very hard time making the payments we used to have to make.

    Yeah...sorry to unload. If anyone out there experiences this kind of stuff all I can say is stay calm, be the bigger person, don't let anger destroy your own peace and grace. Easier said than done I know.
  • whatever losses she thinks we create


    Perception and image are huge issues with some people: they are overly concerned about it, and do everything they can to improve it and keep any damage under control. These are the types of people that also like to have tight control over what information people receive and how they receive it.
  • Chonak,

    Recognizing that some people need to have a place to vent (sometimes quite legitimately) I must ask if this topic seems appropriate for the CMAA forum.
    Thanked by 3Liam CCooze Gavin
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    A fair question.

    Anyone who wishes to comment in this topic should be especially careful not to identify any individuals. For example, do not identify parishes, schools, etc., where incidents took place.

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,641
    I once felt bullied by Chonak when he insisted we go to some awful restaurant where they serve FRENCH FRIES INSIDE the SANDWICH.
  • Staff in Catholic churches often are ill-suited to dealing with the public. It's always best to work with a priest who is a micromanager for that reason, otherwise staff members can carry too much weight in their influence over a priest.
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  • @matthewj: PRIMANTI BROS!!!!!
  • @ClergetKubisz: You hit the proverbial nail on the head there. Historically I've been the one to get in the ring and fight, and I'm not afraid to speak my mind when necessary. Bullies do eventually go away if you fight back. But now they try to target my husband, even when he's at the school for work-related tasks and NOT there to discuss our kids. The principal will see him in the halls or office (husband works in special education and is usually there for IEP meetings for other students) and will INSIST on discussing issues about our son-of course because I'm not there. Well I put a stop to that too, and she tried it just last week. My husband told her "I'd rather discuss this with my wife present. I'll call and schedule a meeting with you later." She's definitely a control freak, but a bad one LOL...
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 352
    FRENCH FRIES INSIDE the SANDWICH?????
    That sounds to me like that delicious northern English delicacy, the chip buttie. Yum!
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Some places do that with Döner kebab or schwarma (one is Turkish, the other Arabic).
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,641
    CHONAK forced me to go with him to THE DREADED AND NOTORIOUS Primanti Brothers Sandwiches. I agreed and went along with him (despite his TERRIFYING DRIVING). Then I ate the below average sandwich and purchased the entire order since he was giving me a (deathly terrifying) ride to the Colloquium hotel. The sandwich was not delicious. I couldnt tell if the fries were good since they were INSIDE THE SANDWICH. I felt bullied and I will not be eating sandwiches with the NEFARIOUS Chonak anytime soon.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    I used my driving intimidation skills by zooming down Troy Hill at, oh, 25 MPH after the Meloche approached me for a ride at St. Anthony Chapel, home of the famous relic collection. Perhaps he thought he might end up contributing his own relics to the collection sooner than necessary.

    I will agree, though, that Primanti's was not at its best that day.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    To return to the topic, many of us probably work in dioceses with codes of conduct that forbid intimidating behavior.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    I like onion rings very much.
  • @Fidem: I work with some people like that so I know exactly the situation you are referring g to.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,641
    25mph? More like 70mph!
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  • doneill
    Posts: 191
    To return to the topic, many of us probably work in dioceses with codes of conduct that forbid intimidating behavior.


    I was intimidated by a diocese that wrote such a code of conduct.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • Yes, the people who wish to perpetrate this type of abuse (and that is exactly what it is: abuse) will do so with blatant disregard for any "codes of conduct" that are published. Usually, it's because they are poorly enforced.
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  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    I'm trying to remember the verse in Mt 18:15-20 that deals with public shaming of those who do us wrong.

    It doesn't seem to be there, actually. Hmm...
    Thanked by 2chonak Gavin
  • @Abbot Jonathan: Unfortunately, the school was featured on Dateline NBC a number of years ago as part of a high profile bullying case and held as an example in the national spotlight of how certain school or church or whatever cultures promote bullying and tacitly encourage it in some cases. The ironic part of this is that the current principal was hired to FIX the school's notorious "identity crisis", then realized the problems were so deeply embedded in the existing power structure there wasn't anything she felt she could do to change things, and basically just gave up and gave in. I would happily provide the name and place to anyone who wanted it. They've already had their names dragged through national mud anyway.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    Abbot Jonathan wrote:
    Am I wrong and am I missing something?


    Perhaps. There are some reasons why I call for restraint about naming individuals and their private faults. I'm sure these prudential considerations will not be foreign to you: they're not something exclusive to the Catholic Church and unknown to everyone else.

    (1) Even when a complaint is completely true, users have to avoid committing the sin of detraction.

    The Catechism says that a person is guilty of detraction "who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them" (#2477).

    This doesn't imply that such faults are never to be disclosed; but not without a reason. For instance, someone applying for a job might deserve to be warned about specific difficult persons and situations.

    (2) Furthermore, I have to think about CMAA's role as the sponsor of this forum. If we were to let users criticize individuals for their private faults, it's possible that those criticisms might be erroneous in some way; so CMAA would be in the position of unwittingly helping to spread erroneous claims, and hurting reputations unjustly. That would be irresponsible. Of course, we are in no position to check out people's stories. We don't know the users' age or what job they hold. We don't even verify their identities; we only confirm that the e-mail address they give is working when they sign up.

    (3) Let's note that anonymous web messages can themselves be abused as a form of bullying.

    (4) Users are perfectly at liberty to write whatever they wish on their own websites, so I'm not stopping anyone's free speech.
  • Put a stop, O Lord, upon our lips,
    That they may not speak that which is untrue;
    Or which, being true, is only half true;
    Or which, being wholly true, is merciless.
    - Anonymous
  • (deleted)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    If I understand aright, you're thinking of cases that are already well known. That sounds different from the original question on this thread, namely:
    What is the worst case of bullying that you have seen in your church? We get it all the time. It is not fun.

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  • However, not to bright problems and situations into the light of day is precisely what has harmed the Church universally. In my opinion, this is precisely what is wrong with many things in the world and in the Church - an attitude of go along to get along and cover-ups.


    Much evil is done when good men stand by and do nothing.
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  • I recently had a choir director go at another one and it was really bad. The guy being targeted was so hurt and I don't know if I even want to remain in the music ministry at this church.
  • (deleted)
  • Yes, no matter how hard some people try to push others around and hide the truth, the truth has a way of surfacing. No matter what.
  • Sooner or later, yes.
    But sometimes that means centuries (if not millenia) of suffering - as in the clergy abuse scandals.
    And, of course, the sort of bullying being discussed here has doubtless been going on at all levels for the better part of two thousand years.
    We always have something of a catharsis when some badness is exposed, but we never seem to ensure that it is never again permitted. Somehow, we just don't want to implement permanent solutions. There are certain types, high and low, who seem to prefer a climate in which their badness can be perpetrated insouciantly - and! accepted as normative.
  • Yes, MJO, you're right: some people are very good at hiding the truth and can keep it hidden for quite some time. Sometimes, they can drag other people into helping them do it, which complicates the situation. However, they can't hide it forever. The troubling aspect is exactly what you described: people suffer in the mean time.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    "people suffer in the mean time."

    An apt slip of the fingers.
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  • Then those same tiny little groups of wealthy control freaks turned on the pastors and the rest of the employees until they had gotten just what they all wanted. And all of this was supported by the bishops in each case because of the enormous financial wealthy and power of these few people.


    When Sheep Attacks can eliminate this from happening.
  • but we are a constant target of abuse and disrespect by the administrators of the church elementary school,


    There is a huge disconnect between parish school and the parish office and all staff members in many places.