My dad was an evangelical pastor for most of my childhood. Watching him lead a church made me acutely aware of the ways church members could be wonderful servants or horrible distractions for the pastor. As a new Catholic, I’ve found that the principles are the same. Below are five actions you can take during this holiday season to make your priest miserable.
1. Complain: Did Father leave the lights on? Was his homily too long or too short? Let him know, frequently. Is the music not up to par, a door unlocked, the Knights of Columbus breakfast not announced, a call not returned? Send a mountain of e-mails! Even better, make them anonymous. Remember, the priest is at your parish to be your personal servant and meet all of your needs.
2. Gossip: If the priest isn’t listening to your wants, let others know about his failures (the less significant the better.) Was he late to confession, not interested in your ministry idea? Let others know through “prayer requests.” Turn the parish against him—you’ll be better off with no priest at all, right?
3. Hoard your time, talent, and treasure: Whatever you do, don’t give 10% of your income to the church. Don’t even give 3%. Throw in a buck every couple weeks. This way, the parish will have a small budget and you’ll be able to complain about the ministries you can’t do. Don’t volunteer, either. Just be a critic. It’s what Pope Francis would do.
4. Forget he is a person: Father does not have a family, does not get stressed, does not have doubts, does not have hobbies—he is a Catholic machine. Keep that perspective in your dialogue with him.
5. Neglect praying for him: Spend your time doing #1-4 and you’ll certainly have no time or desire to pray for him.
That’s it! 5 simple steps. If you diligently follow the instructions detailed above, you will not only succeed in making your priest miserable, but also discourage other discerning boys and young men from ever taking his place.