Be On Your Guard Against Priests Who Shower You With Praise

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

People forget that priests, like the rest of us are on a journey towards God. We shouldn’t just brush aside priests responsibility here to take the lead spiritually, but be careful of what priest you allow to do that. I have personally witnessed the devastating effects of priests putting others on the wrong path without knowing it. Some priests are not doing it out of malice, but do not realize what spirit is working in them never mind the person they’re sitting across from.

I once came across a family of whom I already suspected of being very strict and Amish in their behaviour. They belonged to a Latin group community. When the discussion arose around a certain sin, I told them that the Church teaches because the children are under the age of reason, this cannot be counted as a mortal sin. They suddenly tried to prove themselves right by sending me papal documents they’d found. Looking at the source of the documents, when I noticed they were from an American fundamentalist Catholic website very hostile to the Pope, I didn’t even read a word from it.

The husband was aggressive with me, and wouldn’t listen. Eventually he said to me, “I appreciate that you’ve learned and studied this subject, but we are married and have been given the Holy Spirit to be able to discern the truth.” Immediately I recognized the spirit of spiritual pride, the worst of all the spirits, and I cut off the conversation and never returned to that community.

I was trying to understand why they were behaving like this. I did not wreck my brain about it too much, as I’ve met many like this who belong to the Latin communities, and so I just left it. A few days later, my wife comes to me, hugs me and says “my Holy Husband”. I broke away from her in shock, as she’s never addressed me like this before. I said, “why did you call me your Holy Husband?” Not realizing her words, she replied “Fr.X from the Latin community told me you were a very Holy and God fearing man.”

I told her not to listen to these words, “I am not Holy and neither are you. You must immediately reject any attempt by any priest to label either you or me Holy. And please don’t ever call me Holy again.” Then I understood why the demon of pride was nesting in the married couple. It is most likely this priest has been telling them they’re holy, thus they swelled up with pride.

It may not sound like much, but to constantly tell someone they’re holy and doing a great job, telling them that the Holy Spirit is with them and doing great things in them, is not healthy at all. What you’re – sometimes unwittingly – doing is tempting them to spiritual pride. When such people swallow what you’re saying whole, they begin to believe themselves to be Holy and dare to presume that the Holy Spirit would give them gifts of discernment or any gift at all.

This is what happened the family I spoke of earlier. All of their boys were altar boys, they came and opened the Church gates and closed them. They were given positions of responsibility which didn’t help. Their children under the age of reason were all kneeling perfectly throughout mass without budging. For a child under the age of reason to sit so still is a sign of a control freak for a father. It’s not normal for kids to behave like this. How I know this is because my mother was a social worker trained in this. I suddenly realized that the root of their problems was perhaps the spiritual direction of this one hermit priest. This direction almost got my wife too.

If you come across a priest doing this, don’t argue with him. Confession is not a place of debate and argument. What you do is listen, leave, and find a different confessor. Why? because it’s rare they’ll accept the rebuke. It’s very important to find a confessor (where possible) that will not tempt you with such things. Sometimes a priest can give off the impression he’s Holy because he lives a solitary life, but it’s not always the case. Like the rest of us, he can make mistakes too and rather than directing them to proper Holiness, instead puts them on the path to perdition.

1 Peter 5:8 Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat.

Vigilance in our spiritual life is very important. Coming from a world that encourages self esteem, it’s easy then to be caught with spiritual pride. If the devil can’t get you one way by leading you away from God back into the modern world, he’ll change tactics, and seeing you’re growing closer to God, take you away using spiritual pride. You then have the impression that you’re on the path to God, but in actual fact are nowhere near Him. That is not a nice position to be in. It’s a very sneaky demon, so do be careful.

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