Faith/Spirituality Forum: Modernist Priest
Modernist Priest QUESTION from Peter on January 22, 2003 There is a priest at a nearby parish that dissents against papal doctrine. He considers contraception to be acceptable, believes that the crusades and inquisitions as institutions were wrong, believes that women should be able to be priests, and protests a complete banning on all abortion. Also, he believes that the pope does not have to be followed that that the real authority of the Church resides in the consent of pope, bishops, and laity combined. He stated that if the pope cannot obtain the consent of the laity he has no right to define a doctrine.
My question is.... how do I handle this priest? Would it be a sin to attend his parish (scriptures say to avoid heretics and dissenters). Should I go and just deal as best I can with him, because apparently the bishop doesn't care that he holds these views? Should I warn people against his teachings?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on January 27, 2003 Dear Peter:
I would make notes of these things and ask the priest about them just in case you are misinterpreting. Be prepared to show him the Church teaching from the Catechism or other documents. But do not argue. Rather find out what he thinks and why. Take notes of the meeting.
If he answers the questions in a way that appears heretical then express your concerns about that RESPECTFULLY. If he does not wish to ammend his errant teachings, then tell him that you will be reporting to the bishop.
Prepare detailed notes of all conversations, copies of all correspondance, and be sure to behave yourself -- do not argue or accuse. Calmly ask the questions, calmly gather the information.
Then write a report to the bishop. The report should be business-like noting FACTS, not your opinions or feelings.
Express you concern that this priest is not teaching the Catholic faith.
Then see what happens.
Pray for the man.
If you need to go to another parish, you can do that. But remember that even if the priest is teaching heresy, the Mass is still valid if the priest is doing what the Church intends and the substance of the Sacrament is valid.
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