On the Problem of Arrested Spiritual Development

“Tiptoes”  by John Markos O'Neill from San Francisco, California  Licensed under  CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
“Tiptoes” by John Markos O’Neill from San Francisco, California Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Consider a five year old child who, though physically the size of a five year old, had not yet learned to talk or walk, who could only lay in his crib and who ate no solid food, only mother’s milk. Most of us would consider this a great tragedy. It would be a case of arrested development. And surely, as he failed to pass expected milestones and make the usual progress in maturity, his parents would consult doctors and experts in an anxious search for the cause of the problem and a cure. No one would fail to see the problem or shrug it off.

Now, compare the response above to the usual response to arrested development in the spiritual order.

Consider a young adult, say 25, who had gone on to physical maturity, and even earned a college degree. Perhaps he has just landed a job in a cutting edge field and is both technically smart and talented. But, despite being a highly trained expert in his secular field, his spiritual development is arrested and he has progressed little since second grade. In some ways he has even gone backward since, in second grade, he still knew his Act of Contrition and the Hail Mary.

Now, though thank God, he still goes to Mass, he is incapable of expressing much of anything about his faith. He knows there is a God and has heard about Jesus but does not know for sure if Jesus is God, he thinks so but he’s not sure. He is aware of the Bible’s existence but cannot name all four Gospels and would not even be sure exactly where to find them in the book. He’d eventually find them but it would take a lot of time. Names like Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Peter, Judas, et al., sound familiar to him, but he cannot tell you much about them, except that they are in the Bible. He has heard the word sacrament but cannot give an example of one and is not sure he’s received them or if that is just something priests and nuns get. Every now and then he thinks to pray but he really does not know what to say or how to do it. Sometimes he remembers a prayer from Mass, but when he tries to say it, he gets stuck since there aren’t other people around him saying it and helping him along. He DOES know the Our Father though! We have to give him that.

Now, mind you, this is a smart guy, he has a lot of knowledge in his field which is highly technical. A lot of people seek him for technical advice and he is a real problem solver in the corporation, keeping the computers and other critical peripherals updated and in good functioning order. But spiritually he is an infant.

The interesting question is, why did his parents and parishioners not experience alarm as they noted arrested spiritual development in him? As he began to go from second grade to third and forth, not only did NOT progress, but he actually got worse. Why did his parents not sound an alarm? Why did the pastor and catechists not experience shock that he seemed to show no progress in the Spiritual life? As his age drew him into high school, not only did his knowledge of the faith not increase but his moral life now began to slide. Soon his language grew bad, he resented authority, was looking at porn on the Internet. His parents were irritated by this, but not really alarmed enough to intensify his recourse to the sacraments or augment his spiritual training. Spiritually he was frozen in time. But no one seemed to notice or care.

But, by God, when almost failed a math course his parents went into action and hired a tutor! After all, this might threaten his getting into a good college! But his failure to grow spiritually never much fazed them. When he went to college they drove up with him, looked at the dorms, met a few of his teachers and attended orientation sessions for new students. But they never thought to meet the College Chaplain or ever to ask who would be spiritually teaching or pastoring their son. You know, that sort of stuff doesn’t really occur to you to ask about.

Well, you get the picture:

  1. It starts, really, with low expectations. Most people don’t really expect that they should grow much in their faith. Advanced knowledge and deep prayer are for priests and nuns. Too many lay people just don’t expect much, and thus are not alarmed when they and their kids know next to nothing about the faith.
  2. Further, the faith is sort of a side issue to many. What really matters is that you study hard to get a career that will unlike the American Dream. Never mind that worldly things don’t last, or that it’s pointless and harmful to climb the ladder of success when it is leaning up against the wrong wall. We’ll think about all that tomorrow. For now just keep pursuing your dreams.
  3. Finally the sense that faith really matters at all is muted today when many have an unbiblical view that almost everyone goes to heaven. This removes any motivation to grow in the faith or be serious about living it in a counter-cultural way. To put it in a worldly way: why work hard or seek to develop yourself when the paycheck has already been deposited, and you’ll get paid no matter what, and can never lose your job?

Scripture – So here we are with a lot Christians who have a very bad case of arrested development. Scripture says:

  1. We have much to say….but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:11-14)
  2. Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. (1 Cor 3:1-2)
  3. Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. (1 Cor 14:20)
  4. My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.” (Jer 4:22)
  5. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1 Cor 13:11)
  6. It was [the Lord] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Eph 4:11-15)

So then, Scripture is clear that the normal Christian life is

  • To be constantly growing in our faith.
  • To go from mother’s milk (of elementary doctrines) to the solid food of more advanced understanding.
  • To go from being young students to mature teachers.
  • To exhibit mature knowledge of the faith and also a behavior that bespeaks mature Christianity.
  • To go from being worldly in our priorities to being spiritual.
  • To be able to aptly distinguish false doctrine from true doctrine.
  • To show forth a stability of life and not be easily carried away by all the latest trends and ephemeral fads.

Yes, this is the normal Christian life. Maturity pertains to the human person in general and it certainly ought to pertain to men and women of faith. I pray you who read this blog are well along this path and are seeking to grow. I presume it, in fact.

But many are not Maturing. And I wonder if enough of us in the Church today see this as the horrifically strange and tragic phenomenon that it is. It is really far stranger and far more tragic than a five year old still lying in a crib, speechless and on mother’s milk. It is vastly more serious than the high schooler who is failing math and needs a tutor. To fail math may impact college and a career, but these are passing consequences. To fail in faith impacts eternity, not just for me but others.

Why are we so serious about passing worldly threats and not so about threats that have eternal consequences? In the end arrested spiritual development is by far the most serious of all developmental issues. A parent may give their child every good thing, but if they do not ensure the gift of strong and mature faith, they have given their children nothing but sand slipping thorough their fingers.

Only what you do for Christ will last. Pray God we get our priorities straight and make sure we ourselves and everyone grows up in the Lord. It is true that we must accept the Kingdom of God like a little child in order to enter it. But this text refers to our dependance not our ignorance. God made us to know him and to fail in this way is to miss the whole point and dignity of our life.


31 Replies to “On the Problem of Arrested Spiritual Development”

    1. It is a very sad reality, isn’t it? I live in Western Australia. My son attended our parochial Catholic primary school. The primary education here finishes with year 6 (or grade 6 in US). Because Catholic high schools here require from children the Sacrament of Confirmation before they enter the high school, the Sacrament is administered in year 6. You might know that school year begins in February in Australia and not as in Northern Hemisphere in August or September.

      My son had his Sacrament of Confirmation at the end of August three years ago. Circa two or three weeks after the Confirmation, the children had science class at school and were talking about Big Bang in little groups. My son and his close male friend started to discuss how Big Bang could be proof for God’s existence. One of the girls in his group suddenly asked who is God (as presumably God the Father) and who is God’s Father. Both boys were shocked. As mentioned, the children in that class had been confirmed just few weeks before.

      90% of parents of the boys and girls in my son’s class had never come to Mass expect for those special occasions such as First Holy Communion and Confirmation. I am pretty sure they didn’t know their faith either; therefore, their children couldn’t have learnt faith from them. Besides, Sunday is a time for more important activities: sports and kids parties.

      Unfortunately, school was not able to teach the basics of the faith, either. This leaves one wondering how on earth the children could have passed the tests to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Without knowing the faith, without practicing the faith, those future adults won’t be able to put the Armour of God and become the expected soldiers for Christ the King. At least your young man goes to a weekly Mass.

      1. Effective Catechesis needs a sound and solid basis, which is proper evangelization. That means before children are sacramentalised, they together with their parents should be evangelized to the extent that they have a genuine intimate relationship with the living presence of Christ in His Church. By and large this is not happening in the Church in Aus and in many countries across the world. Many children are sacramentalised without being effectively evangelized through nominal Catholic schools and inadequate parish preparation programmes. The Catholic life in essence is a mystagogical life, a life immersed in the mystery of the Trinity, Christ and His Church. Once a person has been initiated, their day to day living should express these mysteries. The only person with the authority to address this problem in a diocese is the bishop. Many of them simply refuse to, subsequently, the faith is dying in our country and many parts of the world. And it is the same situation with Catholic education.

  1. I taught religious education as my main subject in a Catholic school in the diocese of Sale in Australia for nearly 10 years. I raised this issue in the diocese in 1998 by taking the director of Catholic education to task in the diocesan paper Catholic Life for deceiving parents and betraying their children by not teaching them their faith as it is outlined in the CCC. All hell broke loose. The principal, the Catholic Education office, the majority of priests and the bishop, Jeremiah Coffey came down on me. After leaving that school, I applied for teaching positions at various Catholic schools across the country and was rejected with no reason given. You can read about this whole saga in Into the Deep at stoneswillshout.com, issue 122 and 128.

    1. Mr. Kingman, please. The Church has never been better off than it is right now. I am sure I read that someplace.

    2. Gregory,

      I am truly sorry for you. I know how you feel because I was thrown out twice at two different RCIA programs, because I was trying to stop the disgusting FILTH that were being promoted there. Both priests running the two different RICA were big time HERETICS, no kidding!

      At that time I couldn’t defense my faith too well. Through my sadness, God gave me something bold, something new, something unexpected! So after 3 years of Eucharistic Adoration for the reparation for the sins of the world, God gave me a plan. He inspired me to study theology and to search for clues left by Him, when He said, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.” – John 6:55
      I am in the process of launching this exciting theology at this very moment! It is a cutting edge theology with new insight, it is coming soon so DON’T DESPAIR, no kidding! We will take back the Church from the liberals/materialists and IT WILL BE GLORIOUS! This theology is so simple (not for me though, I spent 4 years on it), it’s unbelievable! You get the simple, easy theology while I slaved away like a monkey, ha!

      “And who shall know thy thought, except thou give wisdom, and send thy Holy Spirit from above:
      And so the ways of them that are upon earth may be corrected, and men may learn the things that please thee?” – Wisdom 9:17-18

    3. Yes, thank you and I am with you. During the school sacramental meeting for parents of the children receiving in the same year Sacraments of Penance, First Holy Communion and Confirmation, the representative of the Catholic Education Office in Perth (WA), told parents they can come to Mass whenever they “can”. Both, our permanent Deacon and the Parish Priest were present and did not correct her. Later she said that there was nobody in Hell “because Jesus is on the cross”, her exact words.

  2. This is a subject I find very engaging. Spiritual maturity is available – I see it modeled and spoken about by clergy, religious and lay people on a daily basis. It is available by ones own full-hearted participation in the basic practices common to the Church (engaged daily prayer, reading, the sacraments, etc.). It’s not a “secret” as such. It’s as if there were a free lunch being offered, but only a few notice, no matter how many large posters are hung announcing it. Given the Scripture quotes in the post, this is not a new problem!

    A few months ago I spent a day assisting a visiting bishop who was present to offer catechesis to a large group of teens and young adults. During the five hour session, the organizer led about 4 and a half hours of singing and “ice breaker” games. The bishop was given 20 minutes to speak, and he spoke profoundly about spiritual development. At the end of his talk a dozen hands shot up with questions and three youth were selected to ask very thoughtful questions demonstrating their engagement with their own spiritual development. Unfortunately, there “wasn’t time” for any more questions!!! There was also a wonderful priest available for all five hours to hear confessions. Seeing there was no line (in fact, only one person spoke to him at all), I went and had a good long informal talk with him and he demonstrated a personal understanding of the ups and downs of prayer life that was touching and encouraging. I was also able to spend 20 minutes talking privately to the bishop about spiritual combat, while he waited for his time slot for his talk. To have the opportunity was a bit mind-blowing.

    I found it honestly heart breaking that greater advantage wasn’t taken of the availability of these two very well-formed and open-hearted clergy to offer guidance and inspiration. On the other hand, I overheard a boy in the group mutter “I hope they don’t do more talking and just do more singing.”

    I don’t know how one inspires an interest in spirituality. Threats of eternal damnation may frighten some into deeper participation, but I suspect that engaged example is more effective. Perhaps the examples are too hard to find, if they are not found in ones home life, at school, and in the environment of ones daily life. The drawing of people into deeper engagement with their spiritual life seems to be a bit mysterious. How often, for instance, people are first moved to deepen their prayer life by some trauma or unusual event in their lives, which opens their eyes to a glimpse of something more than the routine they’ve been stuck in?

    And in light of this subject what do you think of “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him…” which Jesus says, if I recall correctly, more than once, and implies that there is a grace which acts in people that draws them to a deeper spiritual engagement?

    Then again, asking is a powerful thing. But the desire to ask… is also a grace, no? By our active engagement we can, I suppose, at least make ourselves more available to God’s hands and more likely to notice the bricks he’s chucking at us, trying to get our attention.

  3. The only question I have is that Jesus does call us to “let the little children come to Him”. That also includes those of us who are no longer are children.

  4. Cardinal Arinze did a wonderful talk on the Catechisim and called those with Arrested spiritual development ,
    “baby catholics”. I like your terminology. It sounds just clinical enough for people to take notice and they might seek treatment. ( I can just imagine the commercial..” do you have ASD?, fear not, theres a cure!”)
    This year of faith, is a call for us to grow in our faith. I have wondered if we were given a quiz at Mass, sort of Catholicism 101 type question, how we would do. 10 commandments anyone? What is grace? I know knowledge is not better than actions, but its not a bad place to start.

  5. I think that is a very common scenario, you grow up going to Mass, (usually day dreaming, watching the clock, etc. during Mass) then go home go about your life and come back next week to do it again. Some of the names and stories kind of stick in your mind, but you really don’t bother to further look into them. These types of things aren’t really discussed in public, you know, church, politics etc.

  6. Dear Msgr,
    I found your illustration with the boy and his father’s measurement very evocative. I realize that the main point of your blog post is to address spiritual formation. But may I suggest that along the way, spiritual knowledge is an important part of spiritual development. And that the “measurement” question is almost never discussed when it comes to catechism, CCD, and the instruction of children in the Faith. Perhaps it would be helpful to recall some history:

    About 30 years ago, the report “A Nation at Risk” found that poor teaching and poor testing practices created an educational crisis. Part of the crisis was averted in the schools after the report because of the much hated standardized testing. Testing has helped a lot because it improves teacher and principal accountability.

    There are meager testing practices in CCD programs or Catholic schools. Catechetical knowledge is almost never measured well. If we want basic catechetical knowledge to improve, we will have to do a better job of measuring it in our students and holding teachers and DREs accountable.

    Full disclosure: I work in the testing business.

  7. The spirtually immature adults who spent most their time in their carreer and do not see their need may be due to that they in the first place are not ‘born againi’. Possibly they have never ask Christ into their hearts. They may still be spiritually in the dark and without the Holy Spirit who is the Gift that God desires all to have.

    Baptising an infant does not make one a believer in Jesus Christ. It only is a testament that the parents will try their best to raise the child in the Christian faith, ‘admonition of the Lord’.

    I was raised Catholic and my father was a true believer in Jesus Christ. He would read the Bible to us after each dinner in the last seven years of his life. We went to Mass on Sunday’s. I was an altar boy, attended Catholic schools thru 9th grade, public schools afterwards. Yet in spite of all this, I was without Christ in my life, lost as a fish out of water and in the kindgom of darkness. I lived like the ways of the world unaware at least to some extent that I was following the prince of darkness.

    Whatever spiritual things the Church or the school taught went right over my head. It didn’t register. I was not seeking God, and was in fact very much afraid of Him and didn’t like Him. He seemed impossible.

    It wasn’t till I was 30 that the Holy Spirit got my attention and convicted me of my lost state and not connected to God. No one witness to me, I had never heard the Gospel message, but in that hour I turn to Christ and made Him my Lord and Savior. There is a point in time when one becomes ‘born again’ (see Scripture of Jesus speaking with Nicodemus). (I do believe that the unborn, babies and young children do go to heaven should they die early). I had to repent, admit I was a sinner in need of a Savior and in need of Jesus Christ forgiveness which He gives to all who ask because of His atonement on the cross. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. It’s very simple. The Christian life isn’t. In fact it is impossbile without the Holy Spririt and our obedience.

    Back in the 60s and 70s, I don’t recall the priests preaching on God’s Plan of Salvation. The Protestant and Bible believing churches do. One must get the horse before the cart. It needed to be because many of us never heard it until we were adults. Without a doubt because of my Catholic upbringing, I knew that Christ must have been God, the good one. How else could you miss it going to Mass. But I didn’t make it personal, I didn’t know of sin, (though I knew I was messed up or something was wrong) nor salvation or what actually happen on the Cross. He took the guilt of our sin and gave us His righteousness.. The great exchange. What a great God.

    The Catholic liturgy is beautiful and rich and likewise the Mass and the Bible readings. There are doctrinal differences between Protestant and Catholic theology but God can deal with that. The importance is the destiny’ of one soul.. For God so love the world that He gave His only begotton Son, that whosoever belives on Him shall not perish but have everlasting Life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.

    There are many true Catholic believers and they are lovable people. However it seem when growing up and well ito my adulthood that it was what you did for a living that made you acceptable and not what you are in Christ.
    Your articles here are great. Hope this is not too long a response. If you read this but not publish it, that’s Ok. I was hesitant in saying these things.

    1. “There are doctrinal differences between Protestant and Catholic theology but God can deal with that.”

      I like your post, but I must disagree with your quoted statement. GOD can not ‘deal with’ the doctrinal differences. For how do you deal with the verses below?

      “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, ABIDETH IN ME, and I in him.” – John 6:57

      “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, YOU SHALL NOT HAVE LIFE IN YOU.” – John 6:54

      Don’t skip over the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.

      How are we to witness to the world if we reject or ignore the very words of God coming from the Son of GOD? This is why we are church pathetic and not CHURCH MILITANT.

      Here is the ANSWER:

      “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, THAT YOU ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING, AND THAT THERE BE NO SCHISMS AMONG YOU; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10

  8. This is undoubtedly true:

    “Finally the sense that faith really matters at all is muted today when many have an unbiblical view that almost everyone goes to heaven. This removes any motivation to grow in the faith or be serious about living it in a counter-cultural way. To put it in a worldly way: why work hard or seek to develop yourself when the paycheck has already been deposited, and you’ll get paid no matter what, and can never lose your job?”

    Further, it undercuts a good amount in the Gospels where Jesus warns, admonishes, etc. I think it was Peter Kreeft who I first saw point out that there are far more references to Hell then Heaven in the Gospels. Not that everything is a numbers game, but it can’t be insignificant either.

  9. At least three of the books that Father Barron purchased are available for free on the internet. Neat post.

      1. The Summa Contra Gentiles (whatever the Latin plural for ‘Gentiles’ is) or something to that effect.

  10. I am finding it very hard to fit in anywhere in a parish. It seems that the majority of the people around me are spiritually immature and because of that, they do not know how to dress to go to Mass, how to be silent, how to pray without reading off a card or pre-printed program or, have any interest in discussing God or the Mass or even the homily that we just heard.
    I am not able to go to bible study groups or other similar functions because if I speak of things of God, no one has a clue what I am talking about and all I want to talk about is God.
    Forbid one should actually notice and bring up liturgical abuses or anything else. You will be the one attacked. Most people never see them.
    I am still looking for that parish where people go because they are in love with Jesus and want to praise and worship Him. I am fearing I won’t find it in the Catholic Church.

  11. This article is so timely. I am very discouraged about how little children know concerning our faith. Taught CCD last night and 5th graders had never heard of Adam and Eve(.well most of them).How does anything else make since if the kids don’t have a frame of reference? I know you have to start somewhere but sometimes it looks hopeless. Do you have any ideas?

    1. In Our Cross – Venerable Fulton Sheen (YouTube) states that catechism should be taught in Bible History by types,young people should be told the story in the Old Testament and then how it was fulfilled by Our Blessed Lord in the New Testament.


  12. Msgr. Pope:

    Please consider writing a post on Deb’s comment above:

    “I am finding it very hard to fit in anywhere in a parish… [I]f I speak of things of God, no one has a clue what I am talking about and all I want to talk about is God.”

    There are thousands of Catholics experiencing the same sense of isolation within their own parishes, the pain of knowing that so many of those around them regard “the normal Christian life” as weird, or Protestant, or even dangerous and bad.

    The Church, starting with her pastors, needs to do all she can to support her children whose spiritual development is arrested only by the indifference or hostility of their fellow baptized Catholics.

    1. Your comment is SO TRUE! The hostility is coming from the liberalization of the many parishes. These churches are no longer “Catholic” but FREAKISHLY protestant/secularist organizations. Catholics are no longer conforming to the Church’s teachings but are conforming to the world. And I guess you can point fingers at the theologians who promoted “universal salvation” and the “hidden Christian” (you can be a Buddhist and be a “hidden” Christian without knowing it nonsense). Boy, when the ROT is within, it fumigation time.

      I have to post this today, this diabolic HHS Mandate need to be stopped!
      Please read or spread the words-

      Bad Optics: Obama and HHS VS. Little Sisters of the Poor


      1. I would say rather that the liberalization of many parishes is a symptom of a more fundamental problem: that too many Catholics do not know Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus, you can make of His Church anything you want: a social club; an NGO; a temple to human wonderfulness; a structure of rules and mores.

        Even if you don’t want to make of His Church anything in particular, even if you’re just trying as best you’ve been taught to be a good Catholic, if you don’t know Jesus you won’t know how to be a good Catholic.

        Too many Catholics do not know Jesus because too many Catholics (myself included) do not talk about Him to our fellow parishioners. We might talk about parish activities, we might talk about anti-abortion initiatives, we might even say that we’ll pray for another parishioner who’s going through a tough time. But how often do we tell each other what difference Jesus has made in our lives?

        If Jesus hasn’t made a difference in my life, then why does anyone around me need to know about Him? And if He has made a difference in my life, then why doesn’t everyone around me already know about Him?

        1. I agree with you, however, there are those who think that they know Jesus but their “Jesus” is Richardo Montalban and Tatoo (St. Peter) from FANTASY ISLAND. Their “Jesus” is the Jesus of mercy and not Justice. Their “Jesus” is the Jesus that will let them SIN big time and they can eat their cake in Heaven too. This is the “Jesus” once saved always saved mentality, Protestant style nonsense that has entered into too many parishes.
          Boy the Protestant HERESY did a number on us. This is why you don’t let the fruit rot in the basket because it will affect the other fruits (my simple analogy).

    2. I am reminded of St. John Vianney who when he took over his parish, it was replete with the fallen away, sin, and empty pews. May we all seek to be a messenger of mercy like St. John Vianney and be willing to become “little” in order to bring back the lost.

  13. Please don’t feel sorry for me, feel sorry for the souls lost to Christ and His Church. These events have truly been a blessing and a grace in my/our marriage, thanks. As a corollary to the education saga: The only priest who publicly and practically supported me in the diocese was Fr John Speekman. The same orthodox priest whose homilies are read across the world at homiliesfromaustraliablogspot.com.au/. When he was appointed parish priest of Morwell, he employed me as his pastoral associate in 2003. In that same year he was removed, initially by Bishop Coffey and then ultimately by Bishop Christopher Prowse in 2009 because they did not like the way he catechised the staff in the schools under his governance and corrected the cafeteria Catholics in his parish. By association, I was duly sacked via the parish bulletin and from the pulpit by the administrator Fr Tom Cleary without any prior knowledge and warning. All because we took the Church’ mission and our responsibility seriously. You can read all about this wicked and scandalous saga at stoneswillshout.com in the July and August issues of 2003 onwards and in the July and August issues of 2009 onwards.

    1. Well, I’m sad that they mistreated you. Fake Christians mistreating true Christians are the WORST!

  14. Stellar topic, Msgr. Every parish has its mix of the mature and not so mature. The truly mature disciple understands that he is on a mission; and that this mission does not focus on his or her own wants but rather on bringing the message of salvation and God’s mercy to others. This involves patience in listening to others and keeping all conversations in perspective.

    May we all be eager to forget ourselves and seek to serve God and others.

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