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Catholic Weddings

Love my priest, but...

he is driving me CRAZY.

I really need some moral support and good advice (as harsh as it may be) so I'm just going to lay it out for you all...

FI have been together for 3 1/2 years now, we've known our priest for 2 years. FI is military, and this priest is a retired chaplain who works kind of on an "as needed" basis. So he doesn’t really have a home church and I get the feeling that this makes him really lonely because he doesn’t have a community or a church full of people to support and love him… so we have made him part of our family. We invite him to all events, over to dinner, go wherever he is doing mass that week (which means we also don’t have a home church, which makes me sad as I grew up in a wonderful church community and I miss that).

 

The reason we stick by him so much is because of the mentor he has become to FI. This was a bit of a problem area in the beginning, because the priest used to constantly suggest that maybe FI should become a priest. It made me really uncomfortable, was he saying that we shouldn’t get married… that sort of thing.

 

Anyway, he’s not your average priest. He makes a lot of really indecent jokes and has been known to swear a bit, even in a homily, which I was originally REALLY put off with, but I understand that being a priest to a military crowd of rowdy young men might make you resort to anything to get their attention… so I can overlook the occasional slip. My mom can’t though. They just met him for the first time a few weeks ago, the first thing he did, literally 5 minutes after meeting my parents, was to start telling dirty jokes, which just made my parents incredibly uncomfortable, even though I explained to them why (I think) he does it.

 

More anyway… FI was divorced over 10 years ago. He was born catholic, but never finished confirmation and fell away from the church after joining the military. (he is getting confirmed in a few weeks actually, thanks to this priest, but only after making him jump through ALL sorts of hoops that even converts don't have to go through). When he got married they just did it in a courthouse. Our priest told us this was not a big deal, a very simple annulment process because of lack of form and that we only needed to wait a couple of months out from our wedding to submit the forms to get it. That was 2 years ago. I have been begging and pleading for him to get it done sooner, so that I can stop worrying, but it has all been “oh you are worrying too much, it’s no big deal, trust in God” VERY FRUSTRATING - I trust in God, but come on, there are things that need to be done, a process that needs to be completed, and God isn’t going to fill the form out. The form is finally complete, we have less than 4 months to go until the wedding. Everything is paid for, invites are ordered, etc. But now I have to sit around and bite my nails and PRAY that it gets back to us in time, I don’t even want to think about what will happen if it doesn’t.

 

So there’s the first problem I suppose.

 

NOW though, he is relaying these little messages to FI (who goes to mass at a base chapel every day while at work) to tell to me. Saying “tell her that she better realize that the ceremony is MINE and that she has nothing to say about it,” and other good little tid bits like that. This all started because I innocently asked how long he thought the ceremony would be so that I could plan a timeline. My reception venue wanted to know what time to serve dinner, well I need to know what time I can expect guests to be leaving the ceremony and making their way across the street (literally) to the venue to give them a time. Plus I wanted to figure out what time to actually start the mass (with no help from him, I blindly picked 4:00 – there is no Saturday mass at the chapel so we have it from 3-6) He said he’ll take as long as he pleases and was VERY offended that I asked and also said that if I was so worried about taking all of my pictures maybe I wasn’t ready to get married in the church – I NEVER said anything about pictures, I am likely going to do pictures beforehand just to help things move smoothly, and was really offended that he was making me sound so superficial. I tried to explain to him that I don’t mind how long he wants to take, it is completely up to him, I just wanted a timeframe – is that really unreasonable??? He normally goes pretty long with the homily so I was going for the safe side of 1.5 hours and asked if that was enough, he wouldn’t even so much as answer!!!!!!!!

 

And maybe I need to go back and read my catechism, but I thought that the married couple were the officiants of the mass, so where is all this “the mass is MINE” business coming from? Don’t we get some say???

 

There are other problems but it is late and I am just really tired and frustrated. That’s about all I’ve got for right now, this is really just the tip of the iceberg… I guess I am wondering, should I just find another priest? Is that like forum shopping – priest shopping? FI is at the breaking point with him too. Ever since we stopped donating money to him he has been acting 10 times worse about everything, but we just cannot afford to donate money right now, I have no job, and my student loans have just become due. (we had been doing 10 percent of FI income for 2 years now). Our wedding money was set aside 2 years ago and we do not touch it, but it isn’t much. He even suggested to FI just this past week that we were spending too much money on the wedding and maybe if we cut back and didn’t serve fancy dinners then we could start donating to him again (he is building a shrine somewhere outside the US). The dinner we are having is sit down (cheaper than buffet) and only 18 a head, which was the best deal I found, what am I supposed to skimp on – we are being as tight as we can!!!!!!!

 

Sorry for the long rant, I had to get it out to someone. If anyone has any advice or opinions, I'm listening...

Re: Love my priest, but...

  • ExpatPumpkinExpatPumpkin member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    I'm sorry you're going through this, but it really sounds like he's overstepped his boundaries as a priest.  None of what you're saying - the dirty jokes, asking for personal tithes, and the lack of communication about the ceremony - sounds normal. 

    I wonder if he's fallen out of good standing with the church...  Honestly, I feel like we have a priest shortage in the States - so why doesn't he have a church?

    I would find a new priest.  Sorry :(

  • MeegePVchickMeegePVchick member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    There are many churches up here that are sharing priests.  I would ask around and find a priest to go talk to about this situation.  His behavior seems very erratic and destructive to your relationship.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • woodiewoodie member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I am sorry you're going through this stress!  It seems like this Father is crossing the line. 
    You are right about worrying about the annulment form.  The church is pretty slow on processing  the paperwork.  It requires you to be proactive and call for updates and status.  Otherwise, it could sit there for 4 months.


  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Wow.

    First, do you think you can find another priest last minute?  You'll have to go through another parish and get a date through them and you'll need another location as well because the priest will probably want to do the wedding at his own parish.  Secondly, are your parents a member of any parish close by?  It will be difficult to find another parish to marry you when you are not a member of that parish.  Thirdly, you'll have to change the time of your wedding to when that parish can accomodate you.  IS there another chaplain at where your fiance works? SOmeone else affiliated with that chapel that could marry you?  That would be the easiest route.  If not, I think it's going to be pretty difficult for you to switch at this time.  

    You need to weigh your options.  Call a bunch of churches and decide if it's worth switching locations and times to get a different priest and even if they will allow you to with less than six months to go.  If you were a year out, I would say definitely switch churches. It would give you time to become a parishioner at the other church and set up the date and time.  But,you are so close that you're going to have to sacrifice something either way.  

    I understand, however, why you would want to switch priests.  I would too in your situation.  
  • unplainjaneunplainjane member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    sorry to hear about this. personally i don't find his behavior acceptable. if your FI is starting to get bothered by it too you should at least talk to another priest to see what your options are now and ask for guidance. because it's only 4 months away it could be tough to find another priest. though has your priest submitted all the paperwork to bless the marriage? if he has maybe another priest can do the ceremony though i think he would freak out if you tell him this idea unfortunately. as for the swearing that is not appropriate for anyone in a public family situation. as well he should not treat you different because you stopped donating as much. and as for the "this is my mass" thing that is not right. for the wedding ceremony you pick most of the readings not the priest. and he definitely should be able to tell you about the timing. this is all not "normal" behavior for a priest. talk to another local priest to see what you can do right away.
  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    the couple are ministers of the sacrament of marriage to each other (Latin rite only). They do not officiate the mass. The priest is officiates the mass.

    however, his behavior is bizarre.
  • edited December 2011
    There is another priest on the base where we are getting married, I have never met him but I think that chaplains have to work with active duty and it's probably part of his job to take care of last minute things, but I don't know for sure, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask... The biggest problem with that then is maybe we couldn't get it to work out, and it got back to our current priest that we were looking for someone else and he FREAKS out and won't perform the ceremony anymore. Then what?!? Things get out in the smaller military communities pretty quickly.

    I just don't know how to work with him, I feel like he is being complicated and rude on purpose and that maybe he just doesn't want us to get married at all. We've done everything he's asked though. He wanted us to do engaged encounter and we went, we took the FOCCUS test and had very high scores, and he also wants us to meet weekly with him for 2 MONTHS leading up to the wedding for 2 hours every Friday. I just don't understand why that is necessary, and I told FI I thought it was excessive, but he said we'll just do whatever we have to in order to get married. It seems that we are just always jumping through hoops.

    I am glad that I am not crazy though, I know there are some different types of priests out there, but I've been in the Church my whole life and I've never seen anyone like this.

    One of you mentioned paper work to bless the marriage? What is this and when would he be filing it?? He has never mentioned it. He just told us that we needed to get the engaged encounter certificate and an annulment and we would be fine. Should I go ahead and just call the diocease every day to find out the status of the annulment or is that going too far? It kills me because this priest has been in the military since he was very young, and he knows how to go through all theses processes, and he had us go through a local diocease where we are now, which required extensive paperwork, whole life stories, etc, which is fine, but took forever - where if we would have gone through the military diocease (which he was a part of for 50 years - and is still associated with) all we would have had to do is fill out a form and attach marriage/baptism/divorce certificates - that's it. HE KNEW THAT and still had us take the more complicated and time consuming route. WHY??? He told us about how easy the military diocease was only after we had already submitted with the local diocease - FI said he almost sounded proud of himself - and here's some justice for you, he was driving while he told FI  about this over the phone and got a speeding ticket.

    I think that this Sunday we will go to the base chapel where we are getting married for their mass and maybe try to approach the priest there and ask if he knows our priest (a monsignor - ordained by the pope, as he likes to remind us) and feel him out maybe?

    Thanks for all your support and advice, I feel better just letting go of all this frustration, I feel like I bite my tongue in order to not hurt FI's feelings but now he's finally starting to see my side of things, so maybe we can fix it before it gets much further out of hand..
  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I'm so sorry you're going through this! It seems like your priest just likes exuding power over you, maybe since he's retired and somewhat inactive/secluded. It's like he likes the company and likes that there are people actively communicating with him, so he's going to take advantage of your situation and have you go above and beyond what most priests ask.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd speak to a non-military base priest IMMEDIATELY. You don't need to mention who your current priest is, just explain everything that has happened and what your concerns are. You may not need to switch priests in the end, but you can get assurance from another priest whether or not your priest is acting appropriately. I hope it works out! Keep us posted!
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Honestly, I would switch priests.  It really does sound like he doesn't want you to get married and is trying to sabotage it and his behavior is not acceptable.  First, I'd try to call other parishes immediately.  Tell them you are completing pre cana with another church but it has not worked out and you'll need to have the ceremony at a different church.  See if anyone will let you schedule it but don't tell them about your priest.  If that doesn't work, go to the other priest at the base.  If that doesn't work, can you move the date and change it to another church for six months from now?  Or you could have a civil ceremony and have the catholic ceremony later.  
  • unplainjaneunplainjane member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    there is paperwork involved that the priest needs to submit to the diocese. basically at one of your meetings it would be an interview where he asked you guys a bunch of questions to make sure you are both free to marry. maybe he's done this with you more informally and submitted the paperwork afterwards. i think it's called a prenuptual inquiry form. below is an example of one. i'm doing this with my priest in november.

    meeting every week for two hours is excessive and not necessary. i think that before a wedding you are to meet formally with your priest arond 3 times. talk to another priest about all this. this is not normal.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:c7fsmKliJ_UJ:www.diobr.org/documents/pni.pdf+Form+1%27s+%28Prenuptial+Inquiry%29&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESifOIrHY1YaY8om8lUOI2dA_PtBa-tRBUvvlztF5hx13WbNcaJ-BO9GLw4Xz7T4XDuFWnq8j7t4gfRfxvod8soPHziEAO9iWqDp7TC7sPFlG5fdvxmXAThMN0OoXV-uHN-BegJt&sig=AHIEtbRRtYP0gU303LvDJ8kwh3cXi_tBaQ
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    yeah, i agree. Meeting for two hours every fri. is absolutely ridiculous.  I don't know anyone else who's been asked to do this and in liight of everything else you've told us, it sounds a little bit abusive. (abusive of his power, I mean not physically)
  • Jay+MarissaJay+Marissa member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Definitely excessive, and they first thing I would do with a new priest is make sure your annulment gets down NOW. You are quickly running out of time for that!
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