Monday, July 20, 2015

Priests Deal With Crap You Probably Don't

I hear quite frequently refrains such as:

"I left the Church because Father so and so looked at me wrong" or "Father didn't react in the way I'd hoped he would" etc.

Look, folks, we deal with both actually mentally ill people, and also some who are somewhere else on the spectrum but are definitely malicious.  So you might want to ask yourself if your Faith is really so shallow as to be affected by the mood of a priest at a particular moment in time.


A couple of examples:

1) I know a priest that someone anonymously went to the trouble of creating an entire website of pictures of this priest's face photoshopped onto pornographic male photos (please don't go looking for the site).  People still regularly report the site to his chancery, and the chancery has to explain the situation to another distressed caller.

That's really messed up



2) I know another priest, and I am cc'd on emails to him from a person who sends rambling horrendous diatribes all the time.  When I see an email from her in my inbox, of course I don't read them, and I know he doesn't either, but just knowing someone out there is that messed up...


3) Recently in my priesthood someone had fake email addresses for multiple people, fake twitter accounts etc. in order to create this narrative of how this person needed help.  I spent some considerable time and energy into helping this "person" until I started noticing the story coming apart.   Then, a few weeks later, I got a call from another Archdiocese letting me know "hey, that person you interacted with has played similar games with several other priests, and has tried to bring lawsuits against them saying these priests got her pregnant etc."


So when a priest doesn't smile at you in the right way, or when he is a little more cautious than you'd like him to be when he first hears about a person in distress, or when said priest doesn't skip down the aisle like Mary Poppins at a particular Mass, before you leave the Catholic Church over it, just take a breath.  He may have just finished, 2 minutes earlier, dealing with a completely malicious person trying to play mind games.