Is A Priest Not Being Liked By Other Priests A Good Indication He Is Holy?

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When we hear of a priest or monk being refused entry into certain monasteries or other communities and parishes of his own kind rejecting him, it sounds as if he is being persecuted. This is especially true if the priest is very Orthodox in his doctrine and appears very sincere and religious.

We can’t rule out the possibility he is refused entry or hopped around the place from one parish to the other because he preaches the truth and he annoys them somewhat. But it’s not good to assume this because I came across a priest like this before and sometimes it’s justified.

People told me he was bounced from one parish to the next because nobody would have him. But it may be because he’s too strict and strictness is not always a good thing. A priest who has a bad personality disorder is not beyond the realm of possibilities, you know?. Priests who reject other priests in these communities are often treated like they’re Pharisees, but that is an unfair assessment. Although many of us like to have recourse to the Pharisees when we view priests we forget that they’re not always wrong.

Priests (the ones who are theologically balanced) are trained to watch peoples spiritual disposition. This is especially true of vocational directors given the task to help men discern their vocation to the priesthood. The potential candidates are observed in their spiritual life and if they be too strict and are extreme in their prayers to the neglect of domestic and worldly duties, then this is a bad sign. There may be deeper problems at work here both spiritual and psychological.

People who are too loose in their faith and are not praying enough and spending too much time in recreational activity to the neglect of their spiritual life also don’t go unnoticed. However, the former is much worse than the latter, because the spirit of rigidity is much more sneaky, stubborn and difficult to reason with or get rid of. Every priest must have balance and so it’s possible that priests who are disliked are often so for good reason.

The unsuspecting laity who lack a trained eye for these imperfections in a priest are easily fooled into assuming such a one is Holy. But to the trained eye, on appearance the priest may seem wholesome, but a little prodding, a little jostling about of the spirits unfortunately can uncover many demons that did not seem present before.

Once a family of 10 came to Church. The children below the age of reason were sitting kneeling and rigid with their prayerful posture fixed in an upright angelic position. I was troubled by this because children below the age of reason don’t behave like that unless someone has and with with much rigors trained them to do so. It’s a bit like those child prodigies who play the piano really well, but while we find it entertaining, most of us know there’s a parent who has trained them to do so and with much effort.

My wife nudged me, “Look at their perfect children, they’re so holy”. I replied, “No, something is not right there, it is the sign of a control freak and a strict father.” It turned out I was right, and some weeks later, the father became aggressive as I observed his behavior at various functions and conversed with him. He was into all these strict Anti-Pope Francis communities on YouTube and the internet.

It is normal for children to cry, laugh and squirm a bit when they have not yet reached the level of maturity required of them to learn good behavior at Church. If you don’t see a child of this age being a child, something is out of the ordinary and although we shouldn’t prematurely judge, we should not be so gullible to presume everything is fine either.

None of us are perfect. We all have our demons and imperfections that we must bear with patience, however, if a person is not aware of these imperfections he cannot uproot or at best manage them. Many are we who wander aimlessly through life unaware of the imperfections that damage our spiritual well being.

It becomes all too easy that when a person sees a priest being rejected by his community, through his own blindness to see holiness in such a cleric. I am not saying I see, but certainly here we have a perfect example, after careful observation, of two blind men leading one another into the pit.

Be kind to all priests no matter how balanced or imbalanced they are one way or another. They were not called because they were perfect, but at the same time, we must not forget that while many are called, few are chosen.

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