GUEST POST – A priest writes: “My skin is beginning to thicken.”

I received this from a priest, in an undisclosed location (edited and with my emphases and comments):

Over the past year of my ordination I have found myself facing many things I was seriously not prepared to face. They are in a sense, small minute things one might never think become a cloud to overshadow the zeal and joy of the priesthood, but in fact they are. They are temptations to discouragement and not for those with thin-skin. My skin is beginning to thicken. [This is what happens.  The trick is not to let the heart harden.  That is usually a liberal trait, but it can happen to the more traditional as well.  And because the traditional side is the better side, the hard of heart on the traditional side are even uglier than liberals.  Corruptio optimi pessima.]

Since I’ve been in the parish I have been assaulted with judgments about the clothing I wear. For some, they assume the utter worst in a priest who wears his clerics. [This generally means a black shirt or suit with the "roman" collar. Let's not rule out cassock, which is the true garment of the cleric, even today.] It means he is judgmental or a clericalist. It can’t possibly mean that he loves being a priest and that he wants to always be available to others. If that were not bad enough, a priest sometimes wears a cassock. For many things reminds them of the pre-Vatican II days, where priests apparently were disciplinarians to the point of abuse. [And in their dreams, or faulty imaginings or memories - but sometimes in fact - that could have been true.] Now today, most people in my generation think they look cool and remind us of the Matrix. But of course, it is far more common-sense for people in my generation to be more Pre-Vatican II-meanies (even though most people my age don’t even know what Vatican II is). [See my posts about why liberals of a certain age freak out if they see black.  In essence, it is an attack on their identity, because their identity was formed in a period of anti-authoritarianism tied up with Vatican II, the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, drugs, sexual revolution, etc.  They have a knee-jerk reaction.  They think you are criticizing them when you wear a collar or if the hear Latin or a Greek kyrie or a certain style of vestment.  It's all about them, not you.  They can't help it.]

I was reading the documents on the Liturgy and noticed that Vatican II taught that Latin was to be preserved to some degree in the liturgy, [a great degree!] and Gregorian chant was preferred. So I introduced the Kyrie (which falls under the same spirit of maintaining the Latin) and these three little Greek words started world war III – because no one understood them apparently. [They don't understand Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus either, even though they seem to be okay with Spanish Santo Santo Santo.  See my comments, above.  It's okay if it is la voz del Pueblo, but if it is in Latin, you are attacking them on the ground floor of their identity.  They are irrational.  There is nothing we can do about them but persevere.  These are the same people who were willing to break people's hearts and stomp on their faith back when the great "spirit of Vatican II" revolution was underway.  They didn't care about anyone else then, but we are supposed to really care about what they feel now. Some people are more equal than others.] Three words…and I’m pretty sure that most people could figure out at least one of them (Christi). And if people actually read the bulletin…problem would have been solved. The worst part of it all has been the anonymous letters and essays, the “behind your back” complaints to the Pastor and Higher-Up folks and then the smiling faces and complete disregard for the principle of subsidiarity or the Gospel of Matthew which teaches us to go to the person we have a problem with directly.  [Yes, my young Jedi.  You are beginning to get it.  Welcome to the battle for the Faith.]

When I step out on the street, generally now I assume people are assessing my clothing, wondering when …. or they may wonder why I’m eating out and why the cook (who no longer is present here) isn’t making my meals. [I like the Italian word "ficcanaso" ... a "nose-sticker-in-er".]

People are nosey, and many of them are incredibly rude, judgmental and place heavy burdens on their leaders. They take Christ’s criticisms on the leaders of the Church and perpetually apply them to justify themselves. They gossip and this is by far the more grievous sin of all of it.

If they talk during the liturgy and then are corrected, they make the priest to feel as if the offensive behaviour was on the part of the priest who unfortunately interrupted their conversation during mass, with the Homily. People are furious that one teaches what the Church teaches because, “That is not why I come to Church.” I now understand why priests leave the Church in the first five years. Both brother priests gossiping and parishioners who handle a younger priest can’t tell them they need to repent are the source of incredible discouragement to the priesthood these days. And if the priest has a weak faith, he will allow all of it to send him running away from his cross like the coward he is. And we all have a little coward in us, it’s our sinful inclination. But alas, endurance and harassment builds character. So a shout out to all the naysayers, you will make a saint out of me by the grace of God!

Hang in there, Father.  People here will read this and stop – now – and say a prayer for you.

Also, know that you are not alone.

One piece of advice. Try to cultivate in yourself a light spirit about these people and a measure of spiritual care for them, which they need. But try not to give a damn about what they do or say.  Most of the time we will get ourselves into more of a pickle because we made the mistake of caring what they do or say enough to react and give them something else to pick at.

There are some people who are happy only when they are unhappy.  You are meeting some.  You will meet a great many more.

Be of good cheer and know that the Biological Solution, which is working on all of us, will take care of a few of these problems in short order.

Keep smiling and be that Roman Catholic priest you were meant to be.

I’ll keep the combox open, but I will turn on the moderation feature.  I’ll check from time to time and release the comments which it pleaseth me to release.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, HONORED GUESTS, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood. Bookmark the permalink.

130 Responses to GUEST POST – A priest writes: “My skin is beginning to thicken.”

  1. Fr AJ says:

    Most priests I know wear black clerics. Many Lutheran and Episcopal ministers I know wear black. These libs need to get a grip and stop attacking this priest over a very normal thing.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Prayers offered. It has been my experience that even in a far-gone Spirit of Vatican II parish, there will be some who value such a priest, and will offer encouragement. Certainly I have found myself in the small minority in the parishes with which I have experience, and I have made it a point to encourage and support any priest who takes seriously his vocation. Wearing clerical dress, especially the cassock, is an action which brings hope to those who see such a priest. Giving strong homilies, with hard teachings, the truth we need to hear, is another action which brings hope.

    Inevitably, these also will invite nasty comments from some. Decades of catechesis taken from Time and the Fishwrap are to blame, Father, not your commitment to the duties of your vocation.

  3. haribo says:

    He sums up perfectly why I was never able to become a priest. I’ve been told for years that I have all the signs of a vocation, but I can’t imagine how agonizing it must be to be ordained and immediately thrown into a position like this. When it comes to preaching tough love, like asking couples to move out before getting married, or introducing more rigorous catechesis, or asking remarried people not to receive communion, you can’t count on the support of your pastor and bishop. And how is are you supposed to live your priesthood authentically when you’re expected to simply cater to the expectations of a post-Christian culture to keep the peace? No priest should have to be persecuted by his own Church for following Christ’s example. I worry I’d lose my faith!

  4. JonPatrick says:

    I said a prayer for this anonymous Father and for all priests that try to do their job in such trying circumstances. I hope that those of his parishioners who support him will write to the pastor or bishop to let them know they appreciate the job he is doing.

  5. jameeka says:

    Amen.

  6. Random Friar says:

    Three words, brother: Saint. John. Vianney. He is your patron, and a great spiritual guide. Go back to his life and refresh. He understands well the same trials you, and many of us, face.

  7. Joy says:

    Those who respond negatively are often the loudest. I for the longest time thought I was the only person in my parish who appreciated and desired a more reverent and traditional Liturgy, because those who felt otherwise were so loud and aggressive in their loudness. Then I started wearing a veil during the Mass, trained my son as an altar server (he is the only one here, no one else to train him properly so I took up the challenge) and purchased a cassock/surplice for him. I have received several positive comments on my veiling. My son has received comments on his serving – one man came up to him and thanked him for using the bells, because “no one seems to know what they are for anymore.” The more traditional-minded are out there, but are quieter – probably because we have been ridiculed too many times. When we have a more traditional/orthodox priest visit, I always make sure to write a letter to him afterward thanking him. It seems to be slow progress, but don’t miss the small strides made – they mean so much more than the angry/frustrated comments which are bound to be in greater quantity. And if I see a priest in clerics or habit, etc… at a restaurant, his lunch/dinner is on me :-).

  8. everett says:

    Father, may God bless you for your service and response to His call to the priesthood. As a layperson in a parish trying to get changes made, I’ve found it frustrating, I’m not sure I can even imagine how much more frustrating it would to be a Parochial Vicar who’s caught between the laity and the Pastor and just wants to do what is right. I definitely agree with Fr. Z in regards to focusing on your care for the laity’s souls and the charity required therein, while not worrying too much about what they say/think they want or need.

    When I spent a couple of years in the seminary, one of the most valuable/practical things we were taught was how to communicate with many of these types of people, and how to play their games. Knowing when to just keep your head down until you can get into a position of authority, and when to try to do something has been invaluable even in my life as a layperson in a parish. Similarly, learning how to talk about these things (“I really would feel more comfortable if…” or “The kyrie really moved me) in an affective manner has been very valuable in trying to slowly move people. My wife using language like that is what allowed her to use the Faith & Life series in her CCD class rather than the other goofy books that they normally used. While we’re trying to communicate objective truth, finding subjective language to do it with can be very helpful, as it doesn’t immediately raise all of their red flags at once. The last thing I’ve found very helpful in our parish is trying to identify and cultivate allies so that I’m not doing it alone.

    Know that you are in our prayers, and may God grant you perseverance.

  9. Phil_NL says:

    Part of these problems – though not the persons causing them – will disappear shortly indeed: I’m amazed at how often posts on this blog refer to a parish having a priest who serves as assistant. In big chunks of Europe, that’s unheard of. The US will evevitably follow. For better or worse, father will in any case soon be delivered from behind-his-back moves towards the pastor (who perhaps deserves some flak for not telling those people to talk to the assistant himself). He’ll be the pastor soon.

    Till then, endure, padre.

  10. Michael_Thoma says:

    Father, it is quite telling that you mention “priests leave the Church in the first five years”. Psychologists and marriage counselors now mention that the first five years of a marriage are the hardest to get through, but those who can go through the difficulties of this period end up with a much stronger, more committed marriage. I suppose the same holds true for a celibate priest to his church.

    I imagine it to be twice as difficult, even with spousal support, for our married deacons and priests – some of whom get to go through their first parish assignment while learning who their sometimes new spouse and new fatherly duties are, all at once.

  11. jcr says:

    Priests who have trouble finding the courage to wear a cassock can now pray to Bl. Rolando Rivi, beatified Saturday in Modena, Italy. This 14 year old martyr was “guilty only of wearing a cassock during that time of raging violence against the clergy,” as the Pope said on Sunday. When the seminary closed during the war (WW II), he continued wearing his cassock at home because he loved his vocation, undaunted by the insults of anti-clerical partisans. In 1945, the priest-hating leader of the local band of communist partisans kidnapped and executed him. There were many other victims of the anti-Catholic purge by communist partisans at the end of the war.

  12. Tradster says:

    Father,
    I am grateful for the chance to read this courageous priest’s letter and your comments. Tempered, of course, with sadness that he and so many other priests like him have need to write it. I am grateful because I often need a reminder to pray – and pray hard – for them (and you, of course). Grateful, too, for reminders such as this letter that for every accusation of mean-spirited traditionalists, so many more N.O. laity are at least as guilty, if not more so.

  13. michelekc says:

    Reading this made me so sad. This kind of treatment directed at the clergy is so foreign to me. I have several seminarian and priest friends, and the worst they have encountered is indifference, but I must live in a completely different area of the country.

    I hope this young priest has some kind of support system, and I pray that he will continue to persevere.

  14. FrMJPB says:

    Dear newly ordained priest…

    I’m recently ordained, as well–June 2007 at 27 years of age–now the pastor of 3 churches. You MUST have a game plan to cover yourself in Christ during this crucial time of your priesthood (NB–not saying that you don’t).

    1.) Faithfulness to the Liturgy of the Hours.
    2.) Daily Mass–even if you don’t have the parish Mass–even if you have to hide in your room from the prying eyes of …whoever.
    3.) Daily holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament.
    4.) Daily Rosary.
    5.) Regular Confession.

    Without the above, I dread to think what the state of my priesthood would be today–Thank you God for the gift of faithfulness and the grace to cooperate with it!

  15. The Sicilian Woman says:

    God bless that priest, and all new priests, who struggle in their vocations because of the sheep, and sometimes because of the chief shepherd in the parish.

    Whenever I hear about someone complaining to my tireless young pastor/sole priest, I try to put myself in his shoes and imagine what his life is like. Mass six days a week, four Masses between Saturday and Sunday. Running the church and the school. Hospital calls (often lasting through the night; he also counsels Protestants who approach him); counseling parishioners six days a week about various problems; meeting with engaged couples who probably haven’t stepped foot into church in years, have been having sex since Date #2, are using contraception, don’t understand the sacrament that they are about to undertake (this is about to happen in my family…sigh) and then have demands inappropriate for a Catholic ceremony; meeting with those who request other sacraments and yet have no clue what they’re really asking for and/or no intention of nurturing those sacraments (i.e. baptism, then not raising the child as a faithful, knowledgeable Catholic, and so on). And then, getting criticism for actually preaching the Gospel to counter the worldly error that our culture preaches, and enforces, and goodness knows what other slew of complaints. Oh, I forgot about being a moving target when wearing clerics. Society generally distrusts (or hates priests), so wearing clerics in public and regularly (as does my pastor) is a brave thing to do. All this, I assume, is only part of what our priests endure. If you think the evil one wants our souls, how badly must he want those of priests?

    Please pray for our priests, for those who are under attack for their adherence to the Faith, and for those who’ve given up, or worse, work against the faithful priests. Much thanks and encouragement (adding him to my Rosary) for this young priest to be always strong and vigilant in his vocation.

  16. acardnal says:

    I will most definitely pray for this priest.

    I couldn’t agree more with Father Z’s comments above. I recommend he follow Fr. Z’s advice and do not be disheartened by the sinfulness of others. The world is full of sinners and ignorant people. They will be with us until the end of time. Be of good cheer as the shepherd among the wolves.

    Also, I thank this priest for wearing his clerics! Remember, he is set apart because of his ordination. Although he is in the world, he is not a part of it. He is there to sanctify us and the wearing of his clerics should be a constant reminder of this to those who see him on the street and to himself, too.

    Set a good example by praying your Office and the rosary and saying Mass reverently. Say the black, do the red. Do not fear; the Lord is with you.

  17. lsclerkin says:

    Good Father ( and I do mean good),
    If you were in my parish, folks like this would have to go through me to do you such harm.
    And that wouldn’t be pretty.
    I’d have to go to confession to you afterward.
    Father, I thank God Almighty that you are still here and a priest. We need you. Boy, do we ever.
    And more like you. They’re on the way. I see that. Few.. But they’re on the way.
    And men like you will be there to meet them and help them. As they help you and all of us.
    It’s the younger men who have come up through all the lies and garbage and weakness who are making awesome priests. They know. God provides for His Church. He chose you for this time. You were born in this time for a reason. We need you. Courage. You are not alone.
    I’m heading up to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help today for the anniversary of the Great Peshtigo Fire, Holy Mass, Adoration and Rosary with procession all night. I will pray for you and place you under the Mantle of Our Lady.
    I think you’ll be covered in prayer after Fr. Z’s post here.
    Pax et bonem.

  18. Moro says:

    Thank God for fine priests like this. I think those of us who appreciate priests like this need to show it more and more. They need the encouragement from faithful lay people. Even if it is just a thank you or a taking him out for a cup of coffee.

  19. OrthodoxChick says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    First, a little something light-hearted. I like your use of the word “ficcanaso”. I come from a once heavily Italian-American area of the country, in which many variations of dialects could be heard. I never knew the correct word for a nosey person in Italian because I had never heard it or seen it correctly before. I’ve always heard the slang/dialect as “ficcanaz”.

    And now for the serious part…I would give my right arm to have a priest like this “guest” priest in a parish in my area. If he is assigned to a parish in New England, please email me privately sometime if/when you get a few minutes. It would be my honor and pleasure to attend Mass when he is celebrating it to offer him some support. And if I live close enough to his parish, I would also be willing to become active in that parish in order to get to know some of the naysayers and attempt to offer them some charitable but frank fraternal correction, as best as I am able.

  20. maryh says:

    Remember, Father, that there are probably many people in your congregation, even older ones, who like what you are doing, but perhaps are also afraid to say anything. Stay cheerful, and don’t forget the true reason you wear the clerics or cassock. Many of us see it the same way you do – as a sign you are happy to be a priest and that you want to be available.

    Also, another reminder to the people on this blog, although this is something you all know already and probably do. When you see a priest doing things like this young man, smile and compliment!!! And be sure you don’t make it a “glad you’re on our side” thing. Just something like “It’s so nice to see a priest looking like a priest, even outside the church.”

  21. cornelius74 says:

    I pray for this priest and for those like him who are struggling in their parishes. In the part of the world where I come from, the land of St.John of Nepomuk, we are happy to even have a priest in many parishes. We, Catholics are a minority now (10 percent roughly) in a country which used to be majority Catholic, which in turn does not exactly attract young men flocking into our seminaries. In my parish of Our Lady Assumption, there are not that many people who know what the V2 teaching actually is. But we are working on it. So, once more, let this Father rest assured of my prayers and I am sure of many more of those who come to read these pages with great joy. God bless you.

  22. Nordic Breed says:

    My heart goes out to this priest. Forge ahead, dear Father, and follow Father Z’s advice. You are not alone.

    We must consistently pray for priests. Every Sunday when I arrive at church, I thank the Lord for being there in the tabernacle, thank Him for letting me be there, and ask Him to bless the priest and all the people attending.

  23. VARoman says:

    What a sad, but awe-inspiring saga this young priest is enduring. I did pause and say a prayer for him.

    I have been blessed to work within two blocks of St. Matthew’s Cathedral in DC. During my time in that parish, I have gotten to know two young priests fresh from Rome. It was amazing to watch then grow from wide-eyed innocence to determined practitioners of the Faith. One, in particular, loves the Cossack. And it draws as much admiration as it does dirty looks!

    My only advice, young father, is to find like-minded religious and lay people in your community. They can help you weather the storm and better attend your entire flock.

    God bless you, Father!

  24. sw85 says:

    The discouragement I feel as a tradition-minded layman is bad enough; I often find myself having to fight feelings of bitterness, resentment, betrayal, alienation, etc. I cannot imagine how bad it can be as a tradition-minded priest. Your correspondent can be assured of my prayers.

  25. paterscotus says:

    We’re all in this together, Father. I’ve been ordained 7 years, am on my second parish, and recently (after receiving adverse feedback on a homily on sacrifice, the Cross, and the Eucharist, in which I had the temerity to suggest that Protestants should be converted to the Faith and that fallen away Catholics need confession), came to the realization that “I am the pastor of a protestant parish!” At a previous parish I received hate mail for throwing in a few Latin phrases in the Eucharistic Prayer. And, yes, I am highly suspect because I offer the traditional Mass, often wear the cassock, and rarely am seen not in (at least) clerics.

    So I am with you also in feeling a bit demoralized. But both my spiritual director and a nun recently pointed me to CCC 675-77. Here is an excerpt from the latter paragraph: “The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.” As Mother Teresa said, we are not called to be successful, but faithful.

    Keep up the fight. But love your people.

  26. polski says:

    I’m sorry to hear this Father. It seems all to common these days. I was raised to respect Priests and never say anything bad about them. My parents told me it was a sin. I’m only 34 so it’s not like I was raised in the old Church. My Dad couldn’t stomach the post Vatican II changes in the church so he opted for the Byzantine rite, Ukrainian Catholic Church, and that is the church I grew up in and love. Unfortunately, any priest we ever had was run out by some parishioner or another either complaining to the bishop, gossiping about them, hurting the priest so bad they asked the bishop to leave,which is so sad because I genuinely loved all of our priests since I was a child. One Priest we had several years ago had health issues that would flare up when stressed, so his doctor told him that when he was confronted by someone that was going to cause him stress to look at them, smile and say have a nice day….and continue to walk away. haha. That’s always an option father.

  27. Rich says:

    I agree with Fr. Z.’s advice about not giving a damn about what such people do or say. They don’t like such priests and what they stand for and they find continued self-affirmation of what they themselves stand for by beating such priests down emotionally as they make the priests feel guilty and shame-ridden about being who they are. The hook they use is the presupposition that a priest, of all people, should be sympathetic to the way they feel about anything, and if the priest doesn’t feel sympathetic, then they communicate, verbally or non-verbally, that he is a bad person, and if he does feel sympathetic toward how they feel about anything, then he has taken the hook to be reeled into their little game whereby his sympathy is used as a door through which they send their criticism, in one form or another, of who he is, his being who he is in some way always being against who they are, for which the priest should feel ashamed of himself.

    The best way to avoid such little games is not to play them altogether, and the only way to do this is to not give a damn about what such people do or say. Because entertaining their presupposition that the priest should be sympathetic to anything they do or say will reinforce their behavior; they get the response they are going for and take the game one step further. The most likely chance for them to take a step back and reassess their behavior will be when they see that their attempts to play little games aren’t working. And, the most they will basically have when they try to go to a bishop or pastor is that Fr. So-and-So did not do what I wanted him to when I told him he should started doing X, Y, or Z. The more a priest engages such people on their own terms, the more opportunity he gives them to get ammo for when they do go to the bishop or pastor. As when Jesus did not directly address the actual questions of the Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead, and that of the Pharisees when they asked him about taxes, so such priests learn to overcome such little games by not even playing them.

  28. iPadre says:

    My dear friend Fr. Bernardino always used to say: “Coraggio!”

    Back when Fr. Z, and I and a number of others were ordained it was actually much worse. Things are slooowly improving. You guys are a great sign of hope for us all and for the entire Church. Strength in numbers.

    Remember when you get a wound, the skin grows to be much stronger. Offer the sufferings for the sanctification of the Church. You have my prayers!

  29. Bob B. says:

    The same applies to many who have tried to serve the Church by teaching. Many of the things you experienced are also experienced by others – though many teachers learn to keep quiet to save their jobs, just as others do.
    There are a few of us of the Vietnam generation who suffered through the spirit of Vatican II, though I have found most of us who actually went to war are not very liberal in Church matters – our Catholicity was strengthened (and some went into the priesthood – or at least thought about it, but look at the clergy at the time in the headlines).
    I wasn’t done teaching in Catholic schools when I was forced out by a system that, in some ways, is more insidious that the public schools. The system is run by a very few, who demand obedience and brook no interference or questioning of their decisions. Paperwork gets lost, people of their choosing are put into jobs that are technically the pastor’s prerogative and your name on an unofficial blacklist are among the potential consequences for non-conformance or rocking the boat by teaching the Magisterium.
    Unfortunately, many in the school hierarchy, in a word, lie. When few are within earshot, one may hear things such as support for same sex marriage, homosexuality, women priests, etc. Disagree and you’ll eventually be out of a job and out of a profession – unless working for a public school doesn’t bother you.
    You are not alone, Father, there are many of us and we will speak up for you.

  30. jmcj says:

    I would like to encourage my brother priest to hang in there! Pray for those who persecute you. Be humble in your dealings with them lest you give them reason for their complaints. Always remember that they can never take your priesthood away from you. It is the greatest gift that God has given you; cherish it every day! Even if the worst should happen and someone accuse you unjustly and you be deprived of the exercise of the priestly ministry, you will still be a man who is privileged to be conformed to Christ the Priest and you will be able to suffer with him as he suffered for us all. Cherish the gift of the priesthood and it will help you keep the petty complaints in perspective. Your reward will be great in heaven!

  31. Frank H says:

    Allow me to suggest to this young Father that there are quite likely many more in his parish who are edified and uplifted by his solid outward expression of his Catholic identity (attire and preaching) than the naysayers, but they are more than likely not as vocal.

    And may I suggest to my fellow readers that if we are blessed (as I am) with a good, solid young priest (or an older one for that matter) we should tell them how much we appreciate them! A little “thank you” note will probably be a real morale booster!

  32. pmullane says:

    Thanks be to God for Holy Priests – where would we be without them Prayers for this priest and for you Fr, and for all pastors of Souls.

    It has to be so difficult for Priests to have to deal with parishoners who go off like fireworks because he doesn’t cater to their particular whim. Its up to us, I suppose, to try and give Fr as much support as possible to counterbalance the lunacy. Which reminds me, I haven’t made enough of an effort with our new pastor, I will write him a note today.

  33. robtbrown says:

    It has been my:

    1. Experience that many who strongly object to priests wearing a collar/cassock or to any Latin or the Kyrie also don’t agree with the moral doctrine of the Church (read: Sexual morality). They want vernacular liturgy and vernacular morals.

    2. Surprising experience that dissenters are often more critical of priests than believers.

  34. Tony says:

    First: congratulations on your relatively recent ordination! I’ll say a prayer for you.

    Next, a piece of charitable feedback to the young Reverend Father: It seems to me that while your intentions may be good, that you are rushing into things rather quickly in a parish that you are not the pastor of, and that may very well need time to “adjust”. See St. Paul about becoming all things to all people so that they might see Jesus Christ.

    I am a fan of the more traditional liturgy. I went to a parish that was run by a religious order. They were holy men who were orthodox. Their liturgy was solidly middle of the road. By the book, but no smells and bells. They left within the past few years. The diocesan priests who came in were more traditional, but they also lacked tact. It turned me off, and I AGREED with a lot of the things they were doing. The issue was that they were going in very fast and changing things that did not need to be changed immediately, instead of working towards their goal “brick by brick”. The point is, Reverend Father, while you are ordained and most probably have a better understanding of liturgy and theology than the people you are complaining about, they have likely been at this parish for years and are not used to what you are doing. Easing people into something has advantages.

    Anyway, hope that my two cents provided some insight from the pews!

  35. ASPM Sem says:

    As a seminarian:

    Wow. I need to pray.

  36. Janol says:

    Let it be a constant prayer: “Lord, let me not harden my heart.”

    Fr. Z, thank you for sharing this with us.

  37. VexillaRegis says:

    Brrr!
    Here is what a happily married Lutheran minister-friend of mine did when the church janitor told him that some old ladies saying, that he (the minister) was having an affair with a 17 y/o girl from the youth group:

    At the end of a sunday service, my friend entered the pulpit and said:
    ” There are some gossipy and bitter women in this parish who are spreading a roumor about me and a young lady. Since these women are here today, I want to tell you (looked the women in the eyes), that this is a violation of the eighth commandment and you should have better things to do than to bear false witness about me and an innocent girl. If you do this again, I will expose you from here.”

    This aproach was VERY efficient!

  38. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr. Z: edit:…some old ladies *were* saying…

  39. Stu says:

    Sounds like what we call in the military, the “burden of command.” I’m quite confident that for every detractor out there, there are more supporter though admittedly they are often silent. But still, they are there. We are there.

    My eyes water whenever I think about the men who have answered the call. Perhaps again, the military experience makes it easy to recognize service and answering a call that isn’t always openly appreciated.

    So chin up Father. You have many who admire your service and pray for both your strength and protection. Thanks you wearing the cloth.

    And at least for me, whenever I hear Johnny Cash singing “Man in Black”, I think of my priests.

  40. Eonwe says:

    It is so encouraging for me, being a young man myself, to see a promising young priest who truly cares about his vocation and teaches what the Church teaches. I often get discouraged because there is so much negativity from the left or the far right with in the Church. Be strong Father, most importantly because it is the right thing to do but also for us who truly respect and desire good young priests.

  41. pray4truth says:

    Oh, Dear Priests… on behalf of all lay people… I AM SO SORRY FOR THE SELFISH, EVIL BEHAVIOR OF LAITY ATTACKING YOU. Please know that there are many of us who pray and sacrifice for you and all priests daily… You are under the greatest attack from Satan and his minions AND THE LAY PEOPLE WHO LET EVIL USE THEM TO ATTACK YOU because YOU BRING US CHRIST in the Eucharist and other sacraments! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR BEING A GOOD, HOLY, DEDICATED PRIEST!!! I hope you’ll listen to Father Z and take his advice! Please know that Our Blessed Mother protects you as you sacrifice your life for God and his miserable flock of dumb sheep :-) Hang in there, Father(s)… we love and appreciate you and GOD LOVES YOU and is in charge!

  42. msc says:

    I won’t presume to offer spiritual advice (but reading some of the more put-upon Church Fathers etc. might help). The Father should seek out other relatively new priests for companionship and solace. With the internet being the way it is, there should be no trouble keeping in touch with those undergoing similar trials he might meet, or might have met (are any of his fellow seminarians likely to feel like he does?). But he shouldn’t also neglect his parishioners. There will always be some to whom the Father can relate as a person and who will not be trying all the time to curry favour or show their piety or simply have the thrill of being near a priest. It might take time to find them, but they exist and will help to keep him grounded. Having decent, human relationships with some of his parishioners will go a long way to help him realize that the carpers and complainers are a minority that will almost never be happy with anything they don’t completely control.

  43. Elizabeth M says:

    Dear Fathers, offering up prayers for both of you.
    I can only say I am encouraged by our new Blessed Rolando Rivi. This holy young man knew the meaning of retaining his cassock. Please, please, for the sake of those you serve – do not shy away from presenting yourself as a priest in public! We need you. We need to be able to identify you. Non Catholics need to be able to identify you. It is embarrassing addressing someone, then finding out he is a priest – or bishop! I see a priest and offer a silent prayer.
    I am encouraged by this new priest’s last line – ” So a shout out to all the naysayers, you will make a saint out of me by the grace of God!” He understands it is a battle and has taken the side of God.
    Our Lady of the Eucharist, pray for us.

  44. thomas tucker says:

    This post reminds me of something I read recently. When people are acting uncharitably or irrationally towards you, don’t take it personally becasue it’s not really about you, it’s about them. They are the one with the issue. So I think your advice here to take it lightly is spot on.

  45. Imrahil says:

    I said it before, but…

    oh my boy, what an honor it was, when we were finally allowed to leave barracks in uniform.

    And that was under compulsory service conditions and did include the critical and reluctant recruits.

  46. I remember reading a story recently about a man who was visiting a Catholic shrine. This happened I believe in Emmitsburg, MD. While he was at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes he saw an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench by himself. He went over and sat down and struck up a conversation. The man told him about his struggles in life and how he was having a hard time making it through some tough issues. He then revealed that he was a Priest. As the conversation neared completion the man reached out to shake the Priests hand, but instead of grasping it, he flipped his hand over and kissed his palm where his he was anointed when he was ordained. The Priest broke out in tears, part of the struggles that he had spoken of to the man was how the world viewed him as a Priest and how he was persecuted and had to deal with all sorts of strange people. The Priest said that he was thinking about leaving the Priesthood, but the one action of this man reminded him why he was a Priest and it renewed his vocation and love for the Church.

    I think we (laity) forget how much our Priests sacrifice for us. It is so easy to pick them apart, to tear them down on how they live, what they eat, what their homilies are like, what they wear, what they drive, and how we think they should be working every single moment of each and every day. What we don’t realize is that they are not only carrying their own heavy cross, they are carrying each and every persons cross that they encounter and counsel. Just think for a moment on confessions. Recently I had a good friend reveal something that happened to him in his childhood that was very traumatic for him. I did my best to comfort him and then afterwards thought to myself (what am I to do with these memories and thoughts now that are bouncing around in my head). That was just one person and one experience. I cannot imagine what these good men go through every day hearing what they hear and seeing what they see. We must pray for them, have compassion, stop thinking about our own darn problems and instead reach out and thank our Priests.

    I would like to reach out to this good young Priest and say “Thank You” Thank you Father for saying YES to Christ. Thank you for your vocation! Thank you for all that you do to enrich the lives of us Christians and those other poor souls in the world.

    Thank You to ALL Priests… most especially you Fr. Z. Your blog has enriched my faith and devotion to God and Catholicism.

  47. Priam1184 says:

    God be with you in your struggles Father, both Fathers. This is the battle of the Lord, and you gentlemen have found yourself smack in the middle of it, but really, is there anywhere else you’d rather be?

  48. GregH says:

    We must pray for our priests every day. I am constantly using “Prayer Crusade for Priests” booklet published by Angelus Press.

  49. scarda says:

    Remember that sometimes a member of the flock will ask why you did something (new) because it is novel. They are not always attacking, sometimes they just want to understand something new. Of course once a particular member of the flock has nipped you a couple of times you may safely assume that one is a biter. That doesn’t mean all the other people who will ask that same question are also biters. Too bad there are not such things as armoured cassocks or electric ‘faithful-prods’.

  50. Del says:

    Let us appreciate that the Holy Spirit can use these abrasive persons as sandpaper to smooth the rough edges on a young priest. Certainly, the gripers and gossipers feel this way about themselves.

    The hard part is to discern what comes from God and what comes from Satan.

    Just keep praying. Fall in love with the Divine Office! And, as Fr. Z said — Don’t pay too much attention to the noise. Let the Holy Spirit point out what is from the Holy Spirit. Ignore the rest.

  51. TimG says:

    To the author of the email…..know that there are many people who LOVE the way you live the Faith and we are praying for you multiple times a day. This is the way to truly encourage vocations, my wife and I have 5 sons (at least one of which, God willing) will hear a call to the priesthood and they need to see that always….be (humble but proud and strong) that you are a Catholic priest and willing to “wear the uniform” that sets you apart! Viva Cristo Rey!

  52. kat says:

    Rest assured I will pray for this priest and all priests; but thanks for the reminder to pray for new priests. We have a newly-ordained assistant this year. It is easy to tell he is still a bit nervous and shy, even though many of us knew him from earlier times. Sometimes I do not think to say a special prayer for him. I hope this post helps me remember to to do so.

    To the priest who wrote this: it is so often when we want to complain about things that we get the loudest. Be assured there ARE quiet supporters around you, and you may be surprised some day to learn they “have your back” and may be defending you already in private conversations against the complainers.

    May Our Lord and Our Lady strengthen all of you priests who work for the salvation of souls.

  53. hicks says:

    Hang in there Fathers. We are praying for you.

  54. nykash says:

    As laypeople, we must support and defend our priests!

    I saw first hand with a recent pastor how the attacks pile on a good priest looking to support/promote tradition and the Magisterium. I find it appalling.

    How can we help? A few ideas:
    - Pray for them regularly! I ask my children to say a Hail Mary for Fr. every evening.
    - Offer your support at parish functions
    - Say ‘yes’ when he asks you for help (whenever possible)
    - Send a short letter to the bishop, thanking him for assigning Fr. to your parish.

  55. Nancy D. says:

    God Bless our Faithful priests and nuns, and thank you for not being afraid to lead us in The Truth of Love.

  56. Bea says:

    YES, hang in there Father.
    Remember John Chapter 15
    “[18] If the world hates you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. … If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you:”
    Give thanks to God for the persecution.
    “They” will indeed, make a saint out of you.
    If you’re being criticized, it means you’re doing something right.
    You only get flak when you’re over the target.

    People want their priests to be perfect. The problem is that everyone has a different view of “perfection”. The only perfection you need pay any attention to is the one that Christ, Himself, calls us to.

    ALSO
    We, laypeople, get persecuted, too, so you’re not alone. We get it from fellow Catholics and sometimes from our very own priests, for being Traditional, for loving God’s Word, for being “too Catholic”, etc.
    We just move on, silently, knowing that what we do or say is for Love of God, for His Greater Glory and Honor and hoping we might touch or teach someone to put GOD in the First Place that He deserves to be, no matter how others may have judged us.

    None of us will ever see any good we may have touched in others in this world in word or deed, but only in the next.

    God Bless you and know our prayers are with you.

  57. SQ says:

    Father, Thank you for answering the call to the priesthood. Without you guys we wouldn’t have the Blessed Sacrament, and just imagine what a sad, hopeless world that would be. Do not loose heart, there are people out here who love you and are praying for you!

    Cling to Our Lady! May she walk next to you always, and wrap you in the mantle of her love and comfort.

  58. acricketchirps says:

    Perhaps a key message here for the type of Catholic that reads Fr. Z’s blog is that we have also to be careful how we treat the liberal-progressive priest that vex us. Some of them are even more fragile.

  59. An American Mother says:

    Prayers, Father!

    . . . I tell our priests – if I do or say something that upsets you, or my large enthusiasm (or larger mouth) gets me into trouble, speak to me. I’m probably oblivious to what I’ve done and didn’t intend it in the first place. I may be dismayed or taken aback at first, but I honor your position as my shepherd and I will accept correction humbly and do my best to do the right thing.

  60. Cordelio says:

    Wow. I’d like to think that “traditional” parishes don’t treat their priests this way, but perhaps we do and our petty gripes and backbiting merely differ in content (sometimes – I think I’ve heard people complain about priests eating out before, or doing anything entertaining that was not overtly clerical).

    Per instructions, I stopped and said a prayer for this priest (three prayers, in fact, but that’s counting… ;-).

  61. James says:

    I cannot understand such a negative reaction to a bit of Greek or Latin.

    I am the music director / organist at my parish, and we routinely sing in both languages. Admittedly, not very much. Oftentimes the Kyrie, Sanctus, or Agnus Dei. And many weeks we sing something like “Ave Maria” (the simple and beautiful chanted version) or “Ubi Caritas.” [Review my posts on why liberals of a certain age hate these things.]

    Our hymnal provides English translations of all of these things, so people can see what the words mean (though I think most of them know). If we’re going to sing something in Latin that’s new to the congregation, we usually put something about it in the bulletin the week before.

    You would have to be insane to think we used “too much Latin,” since it really amounts to just a small amount of the liturgy. And it is such a delightful language to sing in with all those wonderful vowels! I have never had a complaint from a parishioner on the matter; perhaps ours are simply more pleasant than most…

  62. James Joseph says:

    Regarding how many folks react to the black.

    I listened to Fr. Chad Ripperger last night, as I often do, when I am loafing around the house, having listened to his lectures and homilies countless times. In the lecture on the Four Last Things he gets around to relating how folks who have been married for a long, long time react to their spouses out of the years of living together; similar to muscle memory.

    I have heard it said that one should always make an Act of Contrition just before he closes his eyes to sleep. Perhaps we could find a remedy to this issue along the lines of the After the Ball technique.

    1. Desensitize.
    2. Jam.
    3. Convert.

    1. Wear black cassocks all of the time.
    2. Talk incessantly about the holy titles of Our Blessed Lady.
    3. Hand out copies of the ‘Practice of Virtues’ by Alphonsus Rodriguez.

  63. AGA says:

    Priests today must truly love the unlovable. Traditional, conservative, or just a run-of-mill parish, it doesn’t matter. We, the people, are unlovable. Each of us are our own yardstick of orthopraxy. Everyone else, including the priests, are either too liberal or too conservative. We, however, are just right. So don’t expect any obedience over matters of prudence as you try and lead the community. So what you’re an Alter Christus. You can’t boss me around. And certainly don’t expect any appreciation for your priestly service. Toe the line in accordance with my stylistic preferences or I’ll be sending a letter to the bishop!

    Truly the Missionaries of Charity in the ugliest gutter of Calcutta have a more lovable flock than a priest in the USA!

  64. ajf1984 says:

    Praying for the anonymous Reverend Father, for this blog’s generous patron, and for all priests who are committed to Hard Identity priesthood! Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them (and us!).

  65. Joe in Canada says:

    Yes, the “father likes his golf” crowd. Another one is to be ‘blamed’ for things other priests do. “You priests like your scotch don’t you.” As you say, Father Z, don’t let it get to your heart! There are a lot of people out there who need the love of God. [There is a certain sort of person who criticizes priests who don't rub gravel in their hair and drink from puddles on the sidewalk. Not that they themselves do. This what I call the "Your life doesn't suck enough!" crowd. Bless them and their little hearts. It is as if no priest can every see, taste or smell anything beautiful - otherwise they are surely cheating the poor from something. In economic terms, these are the people who think that if I have something, that means there is less for others. My piece of pie means you can have more pie. No. We make the pie bigger. Always bigger!]

  66. Woody79 says:

    You’re in my daily rosary now, Father. Hang in there.

  67. Joseph-Mary says:

    I am thinking of something along the lines of …love your enemies and be good to those who hate you.

    I know a priest under tremendous opposition such that some folks actually went into schism and invented their own church and that included ex-priests because the new pastor towed the line. But he did back down and even though he prayed and fasted and dialogued with those folks, they still left to do their own thing. They did not truly wish to practice the Roman Catholic faith. Yet he kept his humor and in two years has transformed that parish with two daily Masses, daily confessions, making the multi-purpose worship space look like a church and so on.

    Hang in there, fathers, and be true to Our Lord and His holy Church!

    It is hard for just like this priest I have mentioned, the opposition also came from brother priests.

  68. Mike says:

    All the complaints–that’s exactly why I would thank this priest if I were in his parish.

  69. NBW says:

    My prayers go out to the priest who wrote the guest post. It is a hard time for priests especially when they have to deal with the Vatican II – Kumbaya crowd. They are a stiff-necked people who think they are in charge of the parish and the Church. They are under the impression that the priest is just like them; a very communistic view I think. Without the priest there is no Mass, period. He is our shepherd and we should be thankful and respectful that he has chosen to be a priest.
    Why do the Kumbaya crowd go ballistic when they see a Traditional Mass or a priest wearing a cassock? Perhaps they are reminded of a time when the Church didn’t spare the rod and spoil the child ? It wasn’t the cafeteria Catholicism that they are used to.
    If Father faces resistance for doing things the Traditional way, then he is getting it right! It’s not pleasant, but neither was Christ’s journey on this earth.

  70. JayDeee says:

    To the (young) father – the fact that you care about these things says something good about you. I would take Father Z’s advice. Also, please know that plenty of people who see you in your clerics are pleased at the sight and say a silent prayer of thanks for your priesthood. Ha, come to our parish (loaded with converts, large families, and vocations). At the Sunday 11 a.m., we sing not only the Kyrie, but the Credo, Sanctus, Mortem Tuam Annuntiamus, etc. In Latin. And we are Norvus Ordo! Done ad orientem, which sounds like it would cause riots in your parish……. Sorry you are having such a hassle. But I am guessing there are others in your parish who are happy to enjoy these Catholic distinctives. Also, keep building a priest-friend network beyond your local area. You can pray for each other, and a lot of us civilians will pray for you too.

  71. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Persevere, good Father! Although most of your people seem either antagonistic or apathetic (I find the great majority are the latter: they wouldn’t care, for example, whether I emerged from the sacristy wearing a “fiddleback” chasuble and biretta, or the saffron robe of a Buddhist monk), there are those who appreciate your efforts to restore the undiluted Faith (“hard-identity Catholicism”) and a sense of the sacred where it has been lost or eroded. For many people, change in any direction is hard to take. Some will get used to your ways and even join the ranks of your supporters and maybe friends. I speak from experience. But in any event, God knows what you’re about — and pleasing Him is ultimately all that matters.

  72. churchlady says:

    To this young priest – Fr. Z. is correct, we stopped and prayed for you and for all the the newly ordained. I liken the priesthood in these situations to a doctor dealing with cranky people who don’t want to follow his directions even if it means better health for them. They want to control their lives, but deep down, they probably know you are right and it’s scary to them. So, they fight back, sometimes in such nasty ways. Please keep yourself visible in your beautiful clerics, you are not only a sign to others of the beauty of Christ and Church, but you make a powerful statement to other young boys and men who are wondering, even slightly, if God is calling them. Soon there will be more in your army to help you.

  73. rcg says:

    I have been in similar situations, although I am not a priest. He is suffering a little from projection, but nothing bad. I suspect there are those in the congregation who are thrilled at his very minor initiatives and hunger for more. They have faithfully attended the parish hoping for the day that has come. They are friends with the naysayers, probably relatives, and can help soften attitudes through loving assurance. You are right, of course, Fr. Z, that there is a threat although I think most of the threat is simply to embarrassment rather than anything as deep as a world view. Many people have gone along with the Spirit of Vatican II put of laziness and avoiding conflict with the more zealous insurgents. There is also a threat to the priest just as you described. Along with a heartened heart is the risk of contempt, however soft, for the intellect, sincerity, and motives of the laity. If he can resist that temptation and develop a cadre of faithful who can work with him and for him in the congregation in their homes he will develop strong leadership skills.

  74. Anabela says:

    May Our Lord help this poor young Priest. He is surely suffering for the Church. It is horrible the way he is treated. Discouragement is a deadly thing in the spiritual life. Can I just leave you with this message from Our Lord to St. Faustina from her Diary

    My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self-love. You should not become discouraged, but strive to make My love reign in place of your self-love. Have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1488

  75. Marine Mom says:

    Place on your heart one drop of the Precious Blood of Jesus and fear nothing.

  76. Anabela says:

    I will pray for this Priest that he may not lose hope or give in too much to discouragement. God bless you Fr.

  77. Menagerie says:

    My heart and prayers go out to all priests. Our pastor has been a priest for many years and he is quite formidable in a formal way. He suffers no fools and runs the parish with an iron hand. We are all much better off for his skills and command. I had the unfortunate experience of being in a parish run wild once. It was miserable and not a lot got done well.

  78. av8er says:

    Prayer sent. To him and all priests who meet these challenges and stand firm for the truth.

  79. mimicaterina says:

    Wow. I thank this priest for sharing his heart with us. I am on the younger side of the generation of which he writes, and if it is of any comfort to him, I simply cannot relate to them. I am sorry for this priest’s pain and for the way he is being treated. We need priests like him. In moments of discouragement I hope he remembers this. This post has reminded me to pray for our priests. May God bless and encourage him, may our Lady wrap her mantle around him, may St Michael defend him in this battle – for he is in the midst of a great spiritual battle.

  80. kpoterack says:

    Hang in there, Father. You sound like a very good priest! I just said a prayer for you.

  81. Amy Giglio says:

    Dear Father, I just offered a Memorare for you. Please know that there are so many of us who wish you were at our parishes. Know that these experiences are temptations from the devil. At your ordination, he drew a target on your back. Do not let him win by becoming discouraged. Be cheerful, love all, forgive everything. Pray for them. Be humble as Our Lord is humble. I will continue to pray for you.

  82. LadyMarchmain says:

    Please be encouraged, Father. I wish you could see how faces lit up in my family when we read that you were wearing a cassock and clerical garb and re-introducing the Kyrie. I would be certain that there are members of your parish who feel the same way as we do and welcome the light and beauty you bring with even these small steps and signs. The meanness of going behind your back rather than speaking with you directly and the gossiping are all so very hard to take. We are sincerely grateful for your courage and gentleness, and for your perseverance and faith. We are praying for you now and will continue to pray for you every day.

  83. Liz says:

    God bless this good, young priest. We used to (and still do) pray for “suffering priests,” but I’ve noticed lately that seems to be ALL of the good ones. Priests seem to be suffering terribly.

    I did stop and say a prayer for him just now and added him as one of the priests I will pray for on an upcoming pilgrimage.

  84. Tamquam says:

    Dear Father;

    It is a joy to see a faithful priest full of faith and zeal. Be assured that it is not only the cafeteria Catholics who notice your public witness, there are many others who see, rejoice and cheer you on in their prayers. I’m a catechist out here in the trenches, and I find that the youth respond very well to authentic Catholic teaching. I make bold to suggest that you might find a great deal of joy and consolation working with the teens; I find them to be spiritually hungry and unburdened by the sour prejudices of their parents and grandparents.

    Jer 1: 17″Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them. 18″Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. 19″They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.

    Amen, and again, Amen.

  85. anilwang says:

    I think this quote from Fulton J. Sheen might help, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

    In the past, those ignorantly anti-Catholics used to be largely outside the Church, but unfortunately since Vatican II such ignorance is common within the Church. They need our prayers, and our help. Thankfully they are still within the Church even though they are there for the wrong reasons. You might be their only living connection to orthodoxy they have, so you have an extraordinary privilege to shepherd souls and perform the Spirtual Fruits of mercy on a people who despirately need it. Of course these days, you also have the privileged of sharing in our Lord’s passion since no servant is above his master and Jesus didn’t exactly have an easy time at reaching his people.

    Just know that you are appreciated. Lay people like myself have an extraordinarily difficult time reaching people close to me without the support of priests (who while not liberal, tend to avoid ruffling feathers). Please seek out faithful lay people in your parish. Together you can strengthen each other and do more than either of you can do on your own.

  86. lizaanne says:

    Thank you Fr GuestPost, and Fr Z – for your priesthood.

    You endure so much more than any of us will ever know. You bring us Christ, and we push you away, you save us from hell (via Confession), and we mock your holiness.

    Just as we are not worthy of Christ’s sacrifice, we are not worth of His priests either.

    May we all – every one of us – give thanks daily for the blessing and gift of the priesthood, and pray that we can live a life to be worthy of the gift and the Giver.

    Thank you — you mean so much to us.

  87. yatzer says:

    I’m more than happy to pray for you…young Jedi indeed!

  88. Hughie says:

    Being from the West of Scotland, I have no knowledge of how things are in parishes in the USA, but I can well imagine what this young curate is going through. May I recommend Don Camillo’s rather unusual prayer? “Lord, help me blow my nose in a manner that will not cause a scandal!”

    I don’t know where you would access it in the USA but my bedside reading is “The Don Camillo Omnibus” published by The Companion Book Club, London. This prayer is to be found in the tale “Shotgun Wedding” in the chapter “Don Camillo and the Prodigal Son”. Obviously, as are all the tales from the Little World of Don Camillo penned by Giovanni Guareschi, this section of this volume was translated by Frances Frenaye. Read it, dear young Father, and take heart. Pope Emeritus Benedict apparently has a collection of the TV adaptation which he watches with his household on a regular basis. Seemingly, apart from Bayern Munich football games, he uses his TV for little else.

  89. Palladio says:

    A priest instituted such tradition and more that you mention, Father, some fifteen years ago. His parish is now all one could hope. He lost parishioners, at first. He was strong and bid them farewell. The encouragement I send is big: this was before beauty came back in season under Pope Benedict XVI. You will prevail, Father. You are in my prayers. God bless you.

  90. e.e. says:

    Dear Father, I said a prayer for you as I was reading Fr. Z’s post. May God bless you and give you the strength to persevere in doing good.

  91. benedetta says:

    I hope this priest keeps wearing his cassock, and I also hope that he keeps smiling. I will pray for him. For all our priests, Kyrie Eleison.

  92. DisturbedMary says:

    I will pray for you father and ask our Blessed Mother to give you some extra graces to live your priesthood faithfully. Some of us lay people are in the same position with our fellow parishioners. It is not easy to find Catholics who understand and hold to the Faith in a hard-wired traditional way.

  93. Magash says:

    I will certainly pray for you father.
    I am so glad that you have a platform here and hope all the encouragement you have received is helpful to you.
    As an aside I know that at one time, after the new translation had been approved, Fr. Z. wondered if he should continue the invest his time and effort in this blog. I wrote to tell him how much a seminarian of my acquaintance, now a priest, appreciated having some place he could get the kind of information available on Fr. Z’s blog.
    So as well as a prayer for this fine young priest I will be offering a prayer that God bless Fr. Z for making this platform available to him and all of the other priests and seminarians he helps on a regular basis.

  94. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    Many, many, many prayers for this young Priest.

    Hang in there, Father: for every layman who attacks you, there are 1,000 in the silent majority who pray for you.

    If you are reading these comments, try to find a group of like-minded priests to act a support group, either in real meetings or online. People like this: http://www.confraternityccb.org.uk/CCCB/Home.html why not email them for support and advice?

    Always remember we are truly grateful to God for you priesthood.

  95. Patti Day says:

    I can hardly imagine people would be so thoughtless and rude to their priest. How very fortunate they are to have you. Our priest is in his mid-70′s, although he works as hard as someone half his age. Our small, rural parish (and sister parish) would not exactly be considered a plum assignment, and I wonder what will happen in the coming years. Parishioners should bless the ground you walk on, Father.

  96. Cascade_Catholic says:

    There were so many nice and encouraging words posted here, that I am not sure how much more I can add. I wish people could understand, that there are many places where they have no priest or have one that visits sporadically to say Mass or administer sacraments. If they did, they would cherish this newly ordained priest.

    Hang in there Father, you are in the prayers of many.

  97. Jason Keener says:

    Keep up your good work, Father. I know of a young priest in the Milwaukee Archdiocese who literally went through hell when he introduced a bit of chant and Latin into the Sacred Liturgy at a typical suburban parish. Most of these complainers were despairing old grandmas in a tizzy because their confused vision of the Church is quickly falling apart. I would be charitable to these complainers, but don’t pay any attention to their wayward ideas. Good Catholics must defeat and root out the heresies and false spirit of Vatican II plaguing the Church. If people are upset by seeing a priest in a cassock, hearing chant at Mass, or the use of Latin in the Liturgy, they should charitably be told they are in error and that we aren’t Protestants. Again, as Benedict XVI taught, the Church needs to be leaner and more orthodox. Those who want destroy the Church from within must be cut off from the Body of Christ if they will not be converted.

  98. mamajen says:

    Prayers for you, Father! I am glad you are getting thicker skin rather than throwing in the towel. I think anyone would have a tough time being the subject of constant scrutiny. I think sometimes we lay people forget that priests are human just like us.

    Even though I am not in your parish, thank you for all that you do.

  99. q7swallows says:

    Dear Fathers who sympathize with Fr. Z’s writer: Please come to our area where you would find such a grateful welcome because there are so few of you here who see value in their clerics/religious garb, sacrificial mode of living, and favoring of Tradition. If you were here, you wouldn’t be eating out because a number of us layfolk would be competing for the honor of having you over for a meal so your good example could influence and teach our children. Know that we DO suffer without you! Nevertheless, “persecuted priests” are herewith added to our family’s daily rosary intentions.

  100. keithp says:

    I just want to add my own prayers for you Father. Pls persevere and know that you are appreciated.

    *If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. (Is 7:9)

  101. Long-Skirts says:

    PRIESTS’
    BLOOD

    “We would sign the Credo with our own blood.”

    Many a Convent
    Where good sisters pray
    Because of vocations
    The True Mass each day

    Many a school
    Which we pay for in tears
    But a Catholic culture
    Allays all our fears

    Retreats, Seminaries
    For souls to discern
    To hear Jesus call
    “Come, it’s your turn.”

    And then there’s those prelates
    Who stop and deter
    Yet worse our own kind
    Who ignore and defer

    Preserving not
    The Whole Truth inherited
    Believing the liars
    Who assert they’ve not merited

    As souls still drown
    In their waterless flood
    I stick with the Credo
    Signed in Priests’ blood!

  102. Andrew says:

    This is a true story from the life of St. John Vianney: a letter written by a jelous priest, listing a litany of presumed defects of the Cure of Ars, was circulated from parish to parish. Other priests were asked to add their signature to the letter in order to indicate their agreement with the letter’s content. Somehow, the letter was accidently routed to the Cure himself. He read it, then he promptly signed it and passed it on to the next parish.

  103. RosaMystica says:

    Stopped and said a prayer for this wonderful young priest. And thanks to him for the reminder to give some encouragement to my own pastor. Kind words are never wasted.

  104. Sandy says:

    So many responses, young Father, and we’re all praying for you! Wish you were my pastor! Mother Mary will help Her sons, just ask.

  105. oldCatholigirl says:

    We are blessed in our diocese to have several young priests (and a few older ones) of the same “ilk” as the Guest Poster. My impression is that they all have terrific senses of humor and unaffectedly serious piety–and I bet they have to work on both traits. I think that nowadays anyone donning a Roman-collared black shirt or a cassock is putting on battle dress. (Fathers, didn’t you notice those targets painted right in the middle of your backs?) I think the young men entering the priesthood nowadays expect to be warriors, but maybe the wounds which are most unexpected and hardest to take are the “friendly fire” from within the fold. Keep up the good work, men! We laity will pray for you and try not to get in your way.

  106. RafqasRoad says:

    Young priests and your fellow brother priests (including Fr. Zuhlsdorf),

    I thank you sincerely for living out your vocation, for burning yourselves up every day for Christ. A quote from a dearly departed old Sydney Anglican pastor uttered some more than thirty years ago now from one who understood…’Never be ashamed of the King’s uniform’. I’d add to this, never be afraid of it either. Police, Firefighters, Ambulance officers, military personel and in Australia, the conspicuous ‘State Emergency Service’ personnel all wear their uniform for a reason. This indicates to we civies who they are, what they do and engenders trust, plus confidence. The flatteners would have a priest or nun never in clerics/habit but would they even presume to dictate to the cops or firies?? Remember this when you are sniped at. Our Maronite priests wear their robes without even blinking, far more distinct than the lower-key clericals (not that there’s anything wrong with said clericals, especially in parts such as Australia (40 degrees celcius tomorrow – I will say an extra prayer for all of you under your vestments saying mass in such conditions that must be literally exhausting). And as another poster has commented, perhaps a clever sermon about the dangerous impacts and results of gossip, especially that which is fomented by and generated from bitter blue rinse boomer biddies and their higher-ups may be in order…gossip and backbiting is right up there in St. Paul’s list of destructive behaviour that does not lead to paradise along with murder, drunknenness, party intrigue, sorcery, odolatry, sexual immorality and the like.

    And to those bitter boomer blue rinse biddies along with higher-ups who may be reading this, grow up, remember that the world does not revolve around you and your revolutionary clap-trap and start humbling yourselves before Christ and support this young priest for heaven’s sake!!

    Oh, and father, there’s this saying from my husband to the likes of these detractors…’when I grow up, I want to be just like you’..perhaps the Aussie delivery of this cannot be replicated in the US of A, but…

    Blessings and I’ll add you to my daily rosary to join the list of other priests I pray for (including Fr. Z).

    Finally…one more thing…a good solid friendship or two is essential and a way to detox and revive your spirits is a must if you don’t want to burn out within the first five years. and a good priest support structure also…who counsels the counsellors???

    Blessings,

    Soon to be South Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite)

  107. irishsmile says:

    My son is a priest in California. His pastor infomed him that a “trouble-making” mass attendee had recently complained to the pastor because he (my son)wore his stole crossed over his chest! I am amazed that my son has not walked away from this ridiculous micro-managing from ignorant, un-catechised lay Catholics. Support good priests! write letters of commendation for what they do right to their bishops! The troublemaking, complaining lib Catholics write the bishops non-stop!!!!! Be a part of the solution for God’s sake. If you don’t you are letting the good priests swing in the secular wind.

  108. Tantum Ergo says:

    You’ve been sent as light into the darkness:
    “Lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebre eam non comprehenderunt.”
    Father, you’re in very good company. Hang in there.

  109. Eyup. Many prayers for you, Father, even though you do sound very young in your letter.

    But I also must ask, ‘Under what rock did you spend much of your seminary years?’ You must have been protected from the worst of Modernist Catholic parish life while you were studying, which is kind of a shame, because it’s what you’re going to be neck-deep in for some years to come.

    But it’s good your hide is thickening, because you will need a hide at least as thick as that of Fr Z, which we now measure in rhinoceri (eg. ‘Fr Z’s hide is at least 3 rhinoceri by now’).

    But under that, your heart must stay open and tender. It will bleed, but so did your Brother-Master’s.

  110. lana says:

    Prayers are with you, Father!

    At our parish, any new song or small change in the liturgy is explained and practiced 5 mins before.
    And I heard a priest say that one ought to wait a year in a new parish before changing anything. Hope that helps! He also said a couple of strong homilies against abortion, which caused the more liberal parishioners to walk out, never to be seen again. Our parish is now quite conservative!

    Anyways, I will be sure to say some nice things to my pastor about his blacks and the Agnus Dei. Just in case he is getting things from the other side.

  111. Gail F says:

    These “small” things add up, and are so discouraging. I would like to tell this priest that it is the same in the vocation of marriage or parenthood — small things are harder than big ones. We all think we could be a martyr if we had to stand up to something big, but daily small discouragement wears you out and think, “Maybe I was wrong! I’m not cut out for this at all.” That is okay and normal! And when you are a leader, it’s often difficult to know whether you’re doing something wrong (too fast, too slow, not explaining correctly, etc.) or whether the group is a particularly difficult one NO ONE would be successful at. Sometimes you never do know. I would pray, bear with it for those first years, and try my best to love everyone. And when you get really down, try to imagine what it would be like to be a bishop! Talk about never being able to please anyone…

  112. MikeR says:

    I said a prayer for our new priest, a Pater, in Latin, :)

  113. tmhester says:

    God bless you, Father. More rosaries for all of our priests are in order.

  114. thetrog says:

    As noted, sometimes just wearing black will set off a certain segment of the parish. It is interesting how closely the idea of getting out of their clerics for some priests is related not with being more “with it,” or relating better with the parishioners, but with the notion of being “off the clock.” As someone who tries to be a consistent supporter of priests, I’ve struggled with finding this “punching out” to be off-putting. I think it would be galvanizing and endearing for that quiet, orthodox, pro-priest part (in and out) of the parish if the young Father were to not stop with the cassock and don the biretta, as well.

  115. Bea says:

    Another thought that came to mind, young Father et al.
    Flatterers are more to be feared than critics. [Good point.]
    Beware of them too.
    The honest and sincere you will recognize.
    “I am the good Shepherd, I know mine and mine know me” John 10:14

  116. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Dear brother priest:

    As newly ordained, we all took some kind of ribbing and critiquing. Remember that the troops always run down their officers at one time or other. But as Fr. Z said, you come back to the thought that Jesus has given them to you, they need you, and you have to strive to see the parishioners in the light of “I don’t care when they cop an attitude like that, so I will just have to be more creative in winning them over.”

    The newly ordained who acts “strange” as in taking himself very seriously, floating up on Mt. Carmel in displays of spiritualized aloofness, and not knowing how to laugh at things and have a sense of humor, is quickly ribbed and even bullied a little bit. The people at times want to toughen you up and snap you out of the “poor me, please feel sorry for me, I’m persecuted” complex.

    At times, in fatherly solicitude, you have to let people know they are being unreasonable, unCatholic, or just need to be put in their place with a little zinger of sarcasm or comeuppance. Dads do that to their kids all the time. But, at all costs, do not lose control (with anger or biting words) or allow people to strip you of confidence. You cannot lead them, as a priest or as any kind of leader, if you do not exercise a calm confidence and self-possession. As time goes on, the Lord will fine tune your leadership skills, and give you confidence without gumption, self-possession without apathy, and humor without having to kick the parishioners in the teeth.

  117. PA mom says:

    If it is any consolation, raising children forces one to develop a thick skin too, and requires one to be careful for toughness of the heart.
    I have taught my children the Kyrie, so this is far from impossible stuff. Maybe if your parish has a school, you could work some there too. The children love the sense that they are speaking mysterious stuff…
    About the difficult ones, can you look for a couple of them to start up a new parish walk for the poor, food bank, arm of meals on wheels, home visitations etc? Given a good outlet of their own, maybe they will find more reasons to support you, and have less time to discourage you.

  118. JuliB says:

    Good grief – I will pray for you specifically in my Rosary intentions. People are upset that you dress in clerics? You’re a priest, right? Should you dress like a fireman or doctor?

    I’ll also pray for those who persecute you and all the other good and holy priests. The Evil One has clouded their thinking, and they are lost without knowing it.

  119. bsjy says:

    May God bless you and all priests, particularly newly ordained priests, and especially those who serve in communities where the language used is not their native tongue. We have a number of young priests from South America, and it is wonderful to watch them grow in fluency every week! But we must listen to their English with the charity and patience we would ask of them should we try to speak in Spanish or Creole or Vietnamese.

    Dear young Fathers, you have the right and duty to correct the misbehavior of your sheep. When a parishioner is disrespectful, it can be a teaching moment. Many of us were spoiled by our parents and by the Church so that we do not even know the right way to behave. Help us learn even at this late date in our lives. Talk to the pastor beforehand to ensure consistency of message, of course.

  120. Torpedo1 says:

    I used to tell priests who were just like this writer and Fr. Z, “don’t stop. We would be nothing without priests like you.” I have to start doing that again. I prayed for you Father, for both of you. I can’t imagine how hard it is for you. I just got done with a marriage prep weekend retreat and wow, marriage is going to be work, but I’m sure the priesthood is much harder. Be assured of my support and prayers, and please don’t leave, we need you so very much.

  121. AV8R61 says:

    Ne illigitime carborundum esse!

    I am in airports a lot. Whenever I see nuns or priests in full habits or clericals, I make it a point to approach them and tell them how great it is to see them dressed that way, and that I pray for them.

  122. americangirl says:

    Dear Father, you are not alone, many of us who maybe are not as vocal as we should love and admire you for who you are and what you are tying to do: SAVE SOULS! Do not be discouraged rest in the peace of knowing you are doing God’s will. Also know you have a best friend and that is Jesus who is willing to assist you and carry you through difficult times if only you ask. Spend an hour with him everyday and tell him your hardships. HE WILL NEVER dessert his priests and will grant you what you need to deal with the difficult and trying people. Do not worry so much of what they say and think but always ask your self if what you are doing is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. It takes time to develop but it is worth the discipline because it will bear good fruit. Now you must carry the Cross but there is always a
    Resurrection. Seek out those with a like mind and heart who pray…. they will sustain you and will help you not to feel isolated and alone. We are in every parish, we love Jesus, we love our Church and we too in many ways suffer from what we are experiencing in our Churches overwrought with agendas. Consecrate your Priesthood to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Remember it was she who never deserted Jesus and stood by him, she will do the same for you. I will pray for you.

  123. departing contestant says:

    I think many of us should be mindful of the reflections in the mirror. I, for one, have not always been as supportive as I should have been. it is easy to discount the struggles of a priest if they do not agree with your particular ideologies. All Priests and Religious need our prayers

  124. rbbadger says:

    I certainly will pray for you Father. I don’t think many laypeople appreciate the stresses there are in the life of a priest. God bless you for saying yes and persevering through your many years of seminary formation. I’m not sure how many appreciate the difficulties in getting through the seminary. In some seminaries, a very adversarial relationship exists between formators and those being formed. Thank you for your vocation and for saying yes!

  125. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I think many of us should be mindful of the reflections in the mirror. ”

    Vampires, please disregard.

    The Chicken

  126. Matthew says:

    Father,

    You’d be more than welcome at my parish (as long as you don’t insist on playing the guitar during Mass)! What a refreshing change to have a good priest.

    You’d also be welcome to step out of the rectory in your cassock for a bite to eat at some of the local Polish or Italian or Irish places I frequent. Some places are honored to have a priest visit. Too bad all places don’t see it that way.

  127. chantgirl says:

    As a young mother of toddlers, I took a cue from President George W. Bush who said that he would not negotiate with terrorists. Toddlers throw terrible tantrums because you won’t let them do things like run out into the street after a ball, swim when there’s a thunderstorm, put a metal utensil in an electrical outlet, etc. You can’t reason with them, and the things they want could sometimes be dangerous enough to kill them. Some parishioners fall into this category. Love them, pray and do penance for them, but don’t let their whining change your desire to dish out some tough love when it’s necessary to save their souls. They’ll thank you in Heaven. Parents and priests both have to get used to delayed gratification!

    Some practical thoughts for this situation:

    1) Recruit a cloistered nun from a faithful order to be your spiritual prayer Mother. They are the special ops of the spiritual life.

    2) All of us laity who try to live by the Church’s teachings and would like to see holier priests and more reverent Liturgy- we need to become more vocal! Most of us don’t like being squeaky wheels, but we need to realize that most letters written to the Bishop about priests are complaints, so we need to be more vocal when we see priests doing good things. We need to catch priests doing good things, and make sure their superiors hear about it.

  128. avatquevale says:

    Courage, Dear Father,
    Thanks to a chance encounter with priest dressed in clerical blacks, I recently returned to the Church after a hiatus of several decades. . I was walking past a Church in my city, as I had many times. Briskly walking down the street was a priest wearing black suit and roman collar, just like I remembered from my childhood. This, in a (Scandinavian) country that has long treated Catholics as suspicious, subversive, or just plain weird. The priest said a friendly hello to me, a stanger. And I though of this as this as an outreach and decided attend Mass at this (Jesuit) priest’s Church. To my delight, the Kyrie was sung in Greek, and the Credo, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei i Latin.
    It is good to be “home” again.
    Hang in there, Father. You have the admiration and support of what I think of of as a silent majority.The Church needs more like you.

  129. Toan says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for reminding us that the Biological Solution is still in effect! As confused as much of the public may be as a result of MSM reports on Pope Francis and as elated as Call-to-Action-types may be at certain money quotes (at least for now), seminarians and young priests remain solid as ever, and their influence will only increase as more of them become pastors of parishes and, later on, bishops. (Of course, solid Catholics will probably be more persecuted by then, so we’ll see how things develop.)

  130. cl00bie says:

    I’m probably a little late on this one, but I would like to say “thank you!” to the young Father who wears the outward signs of his vocation. I know two priests who when they are on vacation, dress in their “civvies” and refer to each other as “Tim and Tom”.

    This strikes me like a man who takes off his wedding ring to go to bars and flirt with women.

    I love seeing priest out in their clericals (and though I joke with Father Erik R. about “wearing a dress”, I love seeing a priest in his cassock. This also applies to nuns in habits. I still consider the polyester pantsuit and mannish haircut as “civvies”.

    Also, I refuse to refer to my priest as “Tim or Tom or who knows who”. I prefer Father Lastname. If I have to, I’ll use Father Firstname. This applies to deacons also.

    So Father Anonymous, keep up the good work. You allow people to know that Jesus walks among them, and that gives me, for one, a very warm and secure feeling.