Catholic Q&A

I am having a tough time getting along with the newly appointed Parish Priest. Can I shift to another Church?

Actually this is another question I often receive. As a Catholic priest I find it sad to be told of something like this. In Japan, where Christianity is still in its infancy, one cannot evade the fact that the nature and disposition of missionaries and priests who lead the Church will have a decisive influence on it, either good or bad. Tales of people entering the faith because they chanced to meet a good priest, or conversely, of leaving the Church because of an awkward relationship with the Parish Priest, are a common occurrence.

Nevertheless however, here too we need first of all to bear in mind as to what the Christian faith is all about. We do not believe in Jesus Christ because the priest who instructed us is a nice person, or because he tells good stories. Of course, we will not be able to learn the Gospel unless someone communicates it to us, and through that person we encounter Christ. Those who convey the Gospel to us, are so to speak, the vessels. Initially we may be moved to accept the contents because the vessels holding them are good. Yet, once we encounter Christ, it the content of the vessel, namely Christ, who begins to draw our souls, and so the personality of the priest who served as the vessel, should take second place.

So, if you had a quarrel with a priest or an experience where you did not get along with your new Parish Priest, consider it a chance to grow in your faith. Even the holiest of priests have their faults and failings. Some people are able to adapt to the nature of their Parish Priests, but certain people cannot. However, faith consists in growing by transcending such human standards.

Back to list