St. Blog’s resident Canadian priest (is there more than one?), Fr. Tom Dowd blogs an interesting point about the life of a priest. He replies to the inquiry, “Are there things a person should not ask a priest?” He says that there are several things, but one that comes to mind is people who ask specific questions about his pastoral activities. In other words, a priest meets with many people who have a right to privacy, even to the fact that they met with the priest at all, and so the priest has to keep it to himself.
Yet I’ve noticed sometimes that people treat priests a little funny, as if he answers to them. Older ladies will treat them like their adopted sons (especially if the priests are fairly young) and some men treat them like employees. But the priest is the father and should be accorded that respect in pastoral matters. Read Fr. Dowd’s blog because he puts it better than I do, of course.
I just wanted to add that having lived with priests over several years, I can understand where he’s coming from. You’d be amazed at the number and variety of people that came to the rectory door at all hours of the day and night seeking counsel. Of course, I kept and keep my observations to myself, feeling some of the priest’s obligation to confidentiality. They put their trust in me as a boarder and I want to repay that trust.