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Comments made by priest during adult baptism class

(11 Posts)
Scarydinosaurs Sun 18-Oct-15 07:50:42

I am attending a course for adults to be baptised in my church. I am already baptised and confirmed in a different denomination, but I have married someone from a different denomination, we have children baptised in this church, and so I have made the decision to also join as I attend mass each week and feel the need to fully belong to the church. It took me three years to make this decision, and I'm very sure this is what I want to do.

The course is six months long, and in our session last week we had the new priest to our church lead the session. I don't know him at all, this was the first time I had listened to him speak. He said some things that really shocked me, and made me feel very upset and uncomfortable.

On the topic of redemption, he said that some people are fake Christians- they do not have God in their heart, and he can smell their falseness, it is obvious to him, and he can't stand it. It makes him feel sick. And the worst people for this was the clergy themselves.

I've never ever heard a priest talk like this- I've attended church since I was a baby, I've done many different classes and religious study groups, I've spent lots of time with priests of many different denominations and NEVER have I heard any speak as harshly about their own parishioners and their fellow priests.

I would like to speak to the other priest about this- it made me feel like I didn't want to go back. Am I overreacting? He later commented that people may not like his honesty, and this made me question myself.

It totally feels at odds with love, forgiveness, tolerance and 'judge not' that we normally hear.

I would really appreciate any views on this.

capsium Sun 18-Oct-15 15:24:01

He may have been hurt by some people who were hypocritical but from what you have said he does sound incredibly bitter about it.

This is so ironic though, he seems to judging them for being judgemental about others. You seem to be judging him for being judgemental about them. grin

Thing is, we are all fallible....

mummytime Sun 18-Oct-15 15:30:59

Is there another Priest you can talk to?

Viviennemary Sun 18-Oct-15 15:39:59

You can't judge a whole church by one priest you disagree with. It doesn't surprise me he thinks this way. Here is a man who has dedicated his life to the church so I personally wouldn't blame him for feeling this way. By all means speak to the other priest if you are having difficulty with this. You probably caught him on a bad day.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Sun 18-Oct-15 16:47:03

I would suggest that you talk to your own priest about this. Matthew 7 1-5 is quite clear about who judges and it isn't us, ordained or not.

I'm sorry that you have had this experience and can only apologise on behalf of my fellow clergy. We are fallible and broken and mess up, sometimes in public.

VocationalGoat Sun 18-Oct-15 17:06:04

It's very difficult because your priest is your priest and how he interprets faith and the Gospel is very influential. It's easy to tar all priests with the same brush. So if you've got an oddball neg head for a priest, which it sounds like you have, it's very off-putting and uninspiring. Do you just have to deal with the one priest? Is there another church you can start going to? Because it's really important that you get something encouraging and enlightening out of this. I put off my son's Confirmation for a year because I wasn't happy with the priest's approach. It was anything but joyful and compassionate. He will start his course at another church under the guidance of a much more suitable priest. I want my kids to celebrate their faith and use it as a source of love and empowerment. Faith should encourage your spiritual self to thrive. If that's not happening, make a change. Faith is enriching and influential when love and compassion are the driving force behind it.

Fink Mon 19-Oct-15 10:25:48

It seems like there's two separate issues:
1) Some people claim to be Christians and are outwardly practising but make no attempt at real conversion of life. This is true and is something all Christians should be wary of in our own lives.

2) This priest claims to know which particular people are 'fake Christians'. Completely out of order. I would definitely speak to the other priest.

You probably won't get the priest to change his opinions, but if the other priest is the parish priest he might consider removing the other one from the baptism class, or at least stick to teaching doctrine rather than his personal opinions.

specialsubject Mon 19-Oct-15 11:31:00

Christian values, eh?

doesn't sound like he holds them. You don't want six months of this intolerance and hatred. Speak to the other priest.

Scarydinosaurs Mon 19-Oct-15 19:13:48

Thank you so much for all your thoughts. I am going to have a good long pray on this and speak to the other priest.

springydaffs Tue 20-Oct-15 19:17:10

I like the sound of him! But each to their own of course...

Being angry and hurt doesn't mean there is judgement or isn't forgiveness. We are human after all - the very humanity God embraced in its totality on the cross. Imo God cherishes our humanity - which 'religion' has a deathly tendency to quash.

Hang around Christian circles for a very short while and you will find some revolting behaviour rumbling under a pious exterior - making it all the more repugnant. At least he's open about what noone will talk about - but whether he needs to go into quite as much detail in a teaching class is a moot point.

But let's not judge him for being judgemental. He may not be being judgemental at all. He may or may not be hurt but, even if he is, it doesn't automatically follow he is unforgiving.

Djelibeyb Thu 05-Nov-15 16:33:15

I'm still taking in 6 MONTHS for baptism classes... We had 3 30 min classes over 3 weeks to make sure we understood what it meant and why we were doing it.

I would find that unnerving and I think I would have to raise it tbh. It sounds not only judgemental but incredibly creepy.

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