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Author Topic: What are the limits to the authority of a priest in civil and personal matters?  (Read 1174 times)

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Offline Giovanni Berto

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Motivated by a curious case on which a certain priest prohibited the faithful to share the e-mails he sends about mass times on message groups, I began to wonder what are the limits to priestly authority.

I mean, the faithful are required to obey the priests about spiritual matters only. At least that's my understanding.

For instance, can a priest order you to quit your job (presuming it is not an immoral work)? Can a priest prohibit you from wearing red shoes? Can a priest give orders to a Catholic monarch about state affairs?

I could not find any good resources about this.

Offline Mr G

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  • Forbidding the sharing of e-mails would not fall under the priestly authority but could fall under the e-mail privacy laws of your State.

    Either way, if the Priest specifically mentions not to share the e-mail to anyone, then out of respect you should obey the request. Same respect as you would give to your parents or family when they trust you to keep information confidential. 

    If you feel it is important to share the information, then ask the priest for permission.


    Offline epiphany

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  • Motivated by a curious case on which a certain priest prohibited the faithful to share the e-mails he sends about mass times on message groups, I began to wonder what are the limits to priestly authority.

    I mean, the faithful are required to obey the priests about spiritual matters only. At least that's my understanding.

    For instance, can a priest order you to quit your job (presuming it is not an immoral work)? Can a priest prohibit you from wearing red shoes? Can a priest give orders to a Catholic monarch about state affairs?

    I could not find any good resources about this.
    If he is your diocesan priest, he has more authority over you than an sspx, fssp, independent, etc.

    For the latter, he has authority over you only in the confessional and at the altar rail.  You can give him authority over you on other matters, if you choose.

    Common civility is demanded, at least.  If you would post info from a friend if they asked you not to, you should give the priest at least the same respect.

    Offline Ladislaus

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  • Forbidding the sharing of e-mails would not fall under the priestly authority but could fall under the e-mail privacy laws of your State.

    This^^^.  If a priest tried to command you not to send an e-mail with your own personal thoughts to some other individual, he wouldn't have any strict authority to do so.  But these are e-mail HE sent out, so ethics/morals would require abiding by his intentions.

    Offline Yeti

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  • If he is your diocesan priest, he has more authority over you than an sspx, fssp, independent, etc.
    .
    What you call a "diocesan priest" doesn't have the authority to command a dog to roll over. He is a heretic posing as a Catholic priest.


    Offline epiphany

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    What you call a "diocesan priest" doesn't have the authority to command a dog to roll over. He is a heretic posing as a Catholic priest.
    Not to someone who attends "mass" there and believes it is the true Faith.

    Offline ElwinRansom1970

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    What you call a "diocesan priest" doesn't have the authority to command a dog to roll over. He is a heretic posing as a Catholic priest.
    As the occupant of an ecclesial office, a Novus Ordo "parish pastor" does possesses numerous juridical powers and authority even should his Holy Orders be invalid. These are powers derived from office rather than from ordination. The same holds true for Novus Ordo bishops ordinary as well as Bergoglio as putative Bishop of Rome. This necessary distinction between juridical and sacramental powers is partly what distinguishes a sedeprivationist like myself from a sedevacantist.
    "There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one."   - C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

    Offline Yeti

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  • As the occupant of an ecclesial office, a Novus Ordo "parish pastor" does possesses numerous juridical powers and authority even should his Holy Orders be invalid. These are powers derived from office rather than from ordination. The same holds true for Novus Ordo bishops ordinary as well as Bergoglio as putative Bishop of Rome. This necessary distinction between juridical and sacramental powers is partly what distinguishes a sedeprivationist like myself from a sedevacantist.
    .
    This is news to me. I know quite a bit about the Thesis, and I know a lot of people that adhere to it, and as far as I know it doesn't propose that Novus Ordo hierarchs have any authority. The Thesis says they only hold material possession of the see, whereas having actual jurisdiction over Catholics requires formal possession. I'd be happy to read the text you're referring to, though.


    Offline Seraphina

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  • If a priest (or anyone worthy of respect) requests not to share emails, you should respect the request.  It’s not a matter of ecclesiastical authority.  A priest may not abuse ecclesiastical authority by demanding information or actions not pertaining to faith or morals.  Example, a priest may withhold absolution if a penitent lacks contrition or shows no effort in eliminating a persistent mortal sin.  He may skip over a person who presents for Communion while wearing certainly immodest or inappropriate clothing.  He may ban a person from Mass or from entering the church or premises in extreme situations, usually involving the civil authorities, but also if disturbing the Faith or well-being of others.  
    A priest may not impose ecclesiastical restrictions in personal or private matters.  Example, the case of an elderly woman banned from the Sacraments because she included the priest’s rival in a group of people invited for tea.  He told her she must confess this as a mortal sin before being readmitted to receiving Our Lord.  A priest may not impose unreasonable penances because of his personal dislike of a parishioner.  A priest may not inquire into parishioners’ private lives without a reason to do with the salvation of his soul.  He may not demand to know someone’s income, the worth of his home or other possessions, command that he cut off friendship with a non-Catholic for the sole reason that he is not Catholic.  A priest may not gain private information about others by asking his family or friends.  
    It’s really not complicated.  A priest should confine himself to the duties of the priesthood, the salvation of the souls under his care.  In turn, a parishioner should show the priest like respect.  

    Offline Melanie

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    This is news to me. I know quite a bit about the Thesis, and I know a lot of people that adhere to it, and as far as I know it doesn't propose that Novus Ordo hierarchs have any authority. The Thesis says they only hold material possession of the see, whereas having actual jurisdiction over Catholics requires formal possession. I'd be happy to read the text you're referring to, though.
    Perhaps as uninitiated we lack the familiarity with the fine philosophical and theological distinctions necessary to grasp the authority and juridical powers held by New Order laymen occupying  ecclesial office.  I mean the dogma of the Papacy and the Sacrament of Holy Orders has always been a mystery of the faith like the Blessed Trinity right?  Like so much straw, how can one grasp these things? If only I could move to Brooksville, I could join the initiated in the great mystery of sedeprivationism.

    Offline epiphany

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  •   He may skip over a person who presents for Communion while wearing certainly immodest or inappropriate clothing. 

    He may ban a person from Mass or from entering the church or premises in extreme situations, usually involving the civil authorities, but also if disturbing the Faith or well-being of others. 
    Regarding the first point, you are absolutely wrong.  A priest is allowed to skip someone who presents himself for Holy Communion if and only if the person is a public mortal sinner.

    Regarding the second point, you may want to inform sspx priests of such.  A friend was barred entry, specifically by name in an announcement posted on the outside front door of an sspx chapel, for attending mass of a sedevecanti priest when he came to town once a month.  This lasted 6 months or more, 15 years ago. 


    Offline epiphany

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  • Perhaps as uninitiated we lack the familiarity with the fine philosophical and theological distinctions necessary to grasp the authority and juridical powers held by New Order laymen occupying  ecclesial office.  I mean the dogma of the Papacy and the Sacrament of Holy Orders has always been a mystery of the faith like the Blessed Trinity right?  Like so much straw, how can one grasp these things? If only I could move to Brooksville, I could join the initiated in the great mystery of sedeprivationism.
    We just need to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, priest or no priest.
    God knows the heart.

    Offline Emile

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  • If a priest (or anyone worthy of respect) requests not to share emails, you should respect the request.  It’s not a matter of ecclesiastical authority.  A priest may not abuse ecclesiastical authority by demanding information or actions not pertaining to faith or morals.  Example, a priest may withhold absolution if a penitent lacks contrition or shows no effort in eliminating a persistent mortal sin.  He may skip over a person who presents for Communion while wearing certainly immodest or inappropriate clothing.  He may ban a person from Mass or from entering the church or premises in extreme situations, usually involving the civil authorities, but also if disturbing the Faith or well-being of others. 
    A priest may not impose ecclesiastical restrictions in personal or private matters.  Example, the case of an elderly woman banned from the Sacraments because she included the priest’s rival in a group of people invited for tea.  He told her she must confess this as a mortal sin before being readmitted to receiving Our Lord.  A priest may not impose unreasonable penances because of his personal dislike of a parishioner.  A priest may not inquire into parishioners’ private lives without a reason to do with the salvation of his soul.  He may not demand to know someone’s income, the worth of his home or other possessions, command that he cut off friendship with a non-Catholic for the sole reason that he is not Catholic.  A priest may not gain private information about others by asking his family or friends. 
    It’s really not complicated.  A priest should confine himself to the duties of the priesthood, the salvation of the souls under his care.  In turn, a parishioner should show the priest like respect. 
    Just a footnote to confirm the bolded statement (happened to have read it recently)

    A PAPAL DECREE CONCERNING MODESTY

    HIS HOLINESS POPE PIUS XI,  12 January 1930


    Quote
    ...
    9. Women and girls who wear immodest clothes are to be prohibited from Holy Communion and from the office of sponsor in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and in certain cases, they are to be prohibited even from entry into the church.
    ...


    Patience is a conquering virtue. The learned say that, if it not desert you, It vanquishes what force can never reach; Why answer back at every angry speech? No, learn forbearance or, I'll tell you what, You will be taught it, whether you will or not.
    -Geoffrey Chaucer

    Offline Seraphina

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  • Wearing clearly immodest clothes in the church and at the Communion rail in front of Our Lord and the entire congregation IS a public mortal sin.  I’m speaking of extreme cases, not clothing that is merely questionable or too casual.

    As for a priest putting someone’s name on the door denying entry because he went to the Mass of a sedevacantist priest 15 years ago is ridiculous.  First of all, that doesn’t make him a notorious public sinner.   The priest may know who he is, but the majority of parishioners after 15 years?  Hardly!  Secondly, if the priest thinks it’s a mortal sin to attend the Mass of a  sedevacantist, who is he to commit another mortal sin by detraction?  Thirdly, it’s lacking in class, totally tasteless, and immature.

    Offline Marcellinus

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  • " for attending mass of a sedevecanti priest when he came to town once a month"
    SedevacanTIST.  Sedevacanti (if it were Latin) would either be plural, meaning "many sedevacantists" or genitive singular, meaning "of a/the sedevacantist"

    You give yourself away by using the term in that (incorrect) way ;)