“Ask a Priest: What If a Parishioner Complains About Me?”

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Q: I got into a dispute with a parishioner who frequently runs to our priest in tears to complain about others in the parish. I don’t feel comfortable talking to our parish priest about the issue because it would be hard for me to be objective. I am worried that she painted me in a poor light to our priest, who I greatly respect. I pray for her and for my priest to have the wisdom to know he is only getting one side. Is that enough? I don’t want to bother him with silliness. -C.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Whenever there is disunity in a parish or diocese, it is probably a sign that the devil is stirring up things.

My guess is that, if this parishioner “frequently runs” to the priest “in tears to complain about others,” then he is probably taking her testimony with a big grain of salt. The poor woman sounds as if she is wrestling with a lot of personal problems. The pastor will probably sense that, and act accordingly.

Unless there is some pressing need to approach the pastor, it seems that you are doing the best thing right now: praying for the woman and for the priest. If you do that, and try to live your faith as best as possible, then you can leave the rest in God’s hands and rest secure. Moreover, you could unite yourself with the sufferings of Our Lord, who was also unjustly criticized and wrongly judged.

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