Catechetics and the Authority of the Parish Priest

Q: Our pastor implemented a new faith formation program.  It is extremely rigorous and has been met with anger and frustration from all parents. In a nutshell, the program is “taught” by the parents…. There are pages and pages of study material, study questions, articles and also various media requirements, such as movies, book chapters, and audio books.

Can our pastor deny First Penance to those students who he feels have not complied with the new program requirements to his satisfaction?  And, can he ask that parents fill out a form before he hears the confession, which includes information such as name, family number, date and priest’s signature?  Our diocese says that the pastor can do whatever he wants as long as he’s not breaking the law. –Monica Continue reading

Posted in Catholic Education, Clergy Issues, Confession, Parish Life | Tagged , , , ,

Excommunication and the Authority of the Parish Priest

Q: What course do parishioners have to ask the bishop to correct, reprimand or otherwise relocate a priest who refuses to baptize children of parents that he doesn’t “recognize” as parishioners, even though they are on the parish roll?  He has cut the Mass schedule, making it nearly impossible for shift workers to attend Mass.  And he won’t offer English-language baptism classes, confirmation classes and CCD.

This priest threatened to excommunicate the last person who sat down to try to discuss their “concerns” with him. –Andrea Continue reading

Posted in Baptism, Catholic Education, Clergy Issues, Crimes and Sanctions, Holy Mass, Parish Life, Rights of the Faithful | Tagged , , ,

Annulments and the Authority of the Parish Priest

Q: In 1987, I was married in the Catholic Church. Both of us were Catholics.  We civilly divorced after three years of marriage. In 1994, I explained the previous marriage situation to a priest who was helping me and my new fiancée get married in the Catholic Church.  He had me begin the annulment process, but it took too long and was not completed, no determination was made.  The priest…told me that getting an annulment was a “formality,” and married us in Church in 1995 even though I had not had my previous marriage in the Catholic Church declared null by the Tribunal of our diocese.

Am I validly, licitly married under Canon Law?  Do I still need to get an annulment? –Patrick Continue reading

Posted in Clergy Issues, Marriage | Tagged , , , , ,

Why Can’t a Deacon Celebrate This Marriage?

Q: My fiancé is a baptized, faithful Greek Orthodox and I am Roman Catholic. We are about two weeks away from our wedding and received an email that the priest at my church, the location of our wedding, will no longer be able to perform the ceremony.

In a panic, we reached out to a deacon that we have a relationship with and would love to be our officiant.  However, we are being told that we are not allowed to have a deacon as an officiant because my fiancé is Greek Orthodox.  We are not having Communion or a Mass at our wedding. Can you please provide us some clarity? –Michelle Continue reading

Posted in Canonical Issues Involving Non-Catholics, Clergy Issues, Marriage | Tagged , , , ,

Repost: Confession and General Absolution

(The following column was originally posted some time ago–but recent email-queries indicate that this problem is unfortunately still with us, particularly before Christmas. Consequently, it seems worthwhile to address this issue once again. A blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to all readers!)

Q: Last year, I visited my relatives at Christmas time, and we all went to their parish to a communal penance service before Christmas. There were probably almost a hundred people there, and only one priest. He didn’t hear each person’s confession, as we expected. Instead, he stood near the altar, said some prayers, and blessed all of us. Then he told us we were absolved of our sins, and that was it. Was that priest wrong to do what he did? Did God really forgive us our sins?  –Robert Continue reading

Posted in Confession, Parish Life | Tagged , , ,