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ink wench
10-08-2008, 04:19 PM
I'd rather not ask my in-laws this because they already think I'm borderline nuts for marrying their son.... And my DH slept his way through church and Sunday school so he's useless.

Question 1. If you wanted to talk to a priest about a personal issue, how would you go about doing that? I'm assuming you need to make an appointment. And where would you meet the priest - in the church, in an office connected to it?

Question 2. How would a fairly modern priest react if a respected (apparently stable) citizen came to him and said she saw demons and wanted help? He would only vaguely know the person because she's basically a Christmas and Easter churchgoer, but they live in a small town so they've met outside of church.

Thanks!

Alpha Echo
10-08-2008, 04:33 PM
I am not Catholic, so I don't have the answer, but I'm glad you started this thread because it could help me - the first question anyway! Thanks!

brainstrains
10-08-2008, 04:36 PM
1. Call the rectory, speak to a secretary, make an appointment. You'd probably meet the priest in the rectory office. Ours is a farmhouse, off to the side of the church, with one room as an office. Though it's a very homey office, looks like something out of the 70's-- no computers and rather shabby, second-hand furnishings.

2. I've never done this. :) Though I assume most priests would take it seriously as long as the "respected citizen" appeared to take it seriously as well.

TsukiRyoko
10-08-2008, 04:43 PM
He's be skeptical for sure, but he'd try to be understanding and give his best advice regardless.

EriRae
10-08-2008, 04:48 PM
1. If one didn't want to go through the trouble of making an appointment, one could always find out the times for confession and drop by a confessional...some still do this the private way, in the booth, but many priests now do confession face-to-face, so you could decide which you want. One could always ambush the priest after mass, too, after he's shaken everyone's hand.

2. Does it really matter what a real priest would say? What does the priest in your story say? (ETA: different people would react differently. An old priest could say, "I see demons, too, child, at the bottom of my flask." I had one priest nutty enough he might actually try an excorcism, right in front of the congregation, if that would get people to donate money to fix the roof. Priests are just people, and their belief in demons lies along the spectrum of literal and figurative.)

sheadakota
10-08-2008, 05:01 PM
I agree with the confessional suggestion- If its a face to face- simply ask if you could talk to him privately- he might ask you to wait until confession is over and then talk to you in the church-

I would imagine him being skeptical at first but keeping an open mind- I mean this is a man who believes in God and angles, it would only stand to reason that he also believes in demons-

Shea- who was raised catholic but is not one now-

ink wench
10-08-2008, 05:09 PM
Thanks, everyone. It's interesting to see the possibilities I could go with. :)

Brainstrains, I love the idea of the rectory being in a farm house. That so fits my setting. May use that even if this scene isn't set there.

Erin, I want to get an idea of what I could expect for a reaction. I was raised as a non-religious Jew, and if someone had mentioned demons to the couple rabbis I met, they'd have been told to see a psychologist.

johnnysannie
10-08-2008, 05:18 PM
I'd rather not ask my in-laws this because they already think I'm borderline nuts for marrying their son.... And my DH slept his way through church and Sunday school so he's useless.

Question 1. If you wanted to talk to a priest about a personal issue, how would you go about doing that? I'm assuming you need to make an appointment. And where would you meet the priest - in the church, in an office connected to it?

This can vary a great deal between different parishes and priests. In a small town parish (where I now live) it's possible to just walk into the church office and meet with the priest most of the time. I have, many times. Or visit the rectory after hours or talk with him after Mass. Of course, you can make appointments and depending on his schedule, you might be encouraged to do so. In a larger urban parish (where I grew up) things might be more formal but there are also usually more than one priest in a larger parish. Most priests will talk to anyone at about any time if the situtation seems to warrant immediate interaction. As to the where you might meet with the priest, again, it's variable but any of the following would be plausible and realistic: church office, rectory, church, parish hall (often the basement), where ever the person seeking counsel feels most comfortable or where the priest will be at that time.

Question 2. How would a fairly modern priest react if a respected (apparently stable) citizen came to him and said she saw demons and wanted help? He would only vaguely know the person because she's basically a Christmas and Easter churchgoer, but they live in a small town so they've met outside of church.

It would depend on the priest. The link I'll list at the bottom of the message will offer some insight on how a priest might feel. I would hazard a guess that the majority of modern priests would look for another reason that the parishioner would see demons, such as a mental health issue, and do their best to get help for that person. Some priests, however, would consider the possibility. In some of Father Andrew Greeley's best selling novels, the issue of demons arises. One book that comes to mind is "Angels of September". A priest would also consider how reliable the person telling him about demons was and even if he did not know them well, he would consider their standing in the community.

The Catholic Church does recognize the existence of evil and there are official church rites for exorcism (seldom used, however, but they are there). Here's a prayer to St. Michael, the archangel, which delves into the defense against evil. Before the prayer, here is also what the catechism says about this prayer:

PRAYER AGAINST SATAN and THE REBELLIOUS ANGELS
PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF H. H. POPE LEO XIII

The Holy Father exhorts priests to say this prayer as often as possible, as a simple exorcism to curb the power of the devil and prevent him from doing harm. The faithful also may say it in their own name, for the same purpose, as any approved prayer. Its use is recommended whenever action of the devil is suspected, causing malice in men, violent temptations and even storms and various calamities. It could be used as a solemn exorcism (an official and public ceremony, in Latin), to expel the devil: It would then be said by a priest, in the name of the Church and only with the Bishop's permission

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.


PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

Most glorious Prince of the Heavenly Armies, Saint Michael the Archangel. defend us in "our battle against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places" (Ephes. 6:12). Come to the assistance of men whom God has created to His likeness and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Holy Church venerates thee as her guardian and protector; to thee, the Lord has entrusted the souls of the redeemed to be led into heaven. Pray therefore the God of Peace to crush Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive and do injury to the Church. Offer our prayers unto the Most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us; take hold of "the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan." Bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit "so that he may no longer seduce the nations"



Thanks!

Link to one priest's views on demonology:

http://65.36.178.3/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7370

I hope this helps! If you have specific questions, PM me and I'll answer eventually. I am now working so my time online has been cut shorter than in the past.

dirtsider
10-08-2008, 05:20 PM
Actually, I don't think "skeptical" is the right word. Catholic priests would be trained to eliminate all other possiblities, such as physical explainations like gas leaks, power lines in the area, etc., or psychological problems that really need medical care, before they can proceed with an exorcism. Think the show "Ghost Hunters". They go in looking for logical explainations to the hauntings and then say, "ok, these are the things we can't explain."

There's a book on Exorcists. I'll have to get the title of it for you. Pretty interesting.

LaurieD
10-08-2008, 05:49 PM
I was brought up super Catholic and either setting up an appointment with the priest's secretary for a private meeting in the rectory - usually is a house off to the side/separate from the church - or a meeting completely confidential in a partitioned confessional are realistic approaches for your #1 question.

For #2, it really does depend on the priest - some I've known, older, conventional types, would probably begin by asking lots of questions, consulting the bishop, asking you to see a doctor to rule out anything physical or mental, taking you seriously, but again, approaching an actual exorcism as an absolute last resort and a priest must obtain permission from the bishop before performing an exorcism. The more modern priests I've known would most likely send you to a doctor first, then probably recommend a second opinion, then maybe send you to the bishop to talk to him yourself.

Basically, the differences I've noticed between "old" priests and those more modern, are that those with a more modern philosophy/attitude seem more hands off than those I've known with a more traditional/small town/"old" philosophy/attitude, who are more willing to get to know you, help you resolve whatever problem you face, etc...

Hope this helps some!

johnnysannie
10-08-2008, 05:52 PM
.....meeting completely confidential in a partitioned confessional are realistic approaches for your #1 question.

!

Just a quick FYI....partitioned confessionals where the priest is behind a screen and is unable to see the parishioner are very uncommon today. Although movies and television portray them as common, they are not. Confession is now called "The Sacrament of Reconcilition" and is normally done face-to-face, one-on-one. In the former confessional at my parish church, it is just a room with two chairs, no partitions, no anonymity.

stormie
10-08-2008, 05:56 PM
I had one priest nutty enough he might actually try an excorcism, right in front of the congregation, if that would get people to donate money to fix the roof. Priests are just people, and their belief in demons lies along the spectrum of literal and figurative.)
We had a youngish priest--he was only about 35--who told my husband and me he believed that mental illness was really the devil. Yep. Not too many believe that (thank goodness) but this one did. He's still a priest but in another parish.

Most priests would probably guide the parishoner toward outside counseling, if need be. There are a few priests who have a Ph.D in psychology.

Small parish or not, there aren't many priests anymore so their time is limited. You'd have to call the rectory to make an appointment, then you'd either meet him in the rectory office or the church when no one is there except for a few people praying.

ink wench
10-08-2008, 06:53 PM
Thank you all, this is very helpful.

So would it be reasonable to have my priest do a little counseling with my character (she does have some issues that would be good to get into for the story's sake), suggest she might want to a mental health professional, but also say a prayer for protection over her (like the one Jonnysannie suggested) - both to make her feel better and 'just in case'?

Stormie, thanks for reminding me about the priest shortage. I think she'll either need to plan on going during confession hours or call ahead. I'll figure out which works best for the story.

My character really is seeing things, but they're not demons in the traditional sense. She just doesn't know how else to think of them.

Priene
10-08-2008, 07:07 PM
Confession is now called "The Sacrament of Reconcilition" and is normally done face-to-face, one-on-one. In the former confessional at my parish church, it is just a room with two chairs, no partitions, no anonymity.

I have to admit I'm not up-to-date on confessional practices ('Bless me, Father, I have sinned, it is thirty-two years since my last confession' would make it seem like I'm not trying), but I noticed the other month in my local (http://www.stjohncathedral.co.uk/history.php) (English) RC Cathedral that confession boxes were still there and being used.

johnnysannie
10-08-2008, 07:15 PM
I have to admit I'm not up-to-date on confessional practices ('Bless me, Father, I have sinned, it is thirty-two years since my last confession' would make it seem like I'm not trying), but I noticed the other month in my local (http://www.stjohncathedral.co.uk/history.php) (English) RC Cathedral that confession boxes were still there and being used.

There are a few in some places here in the States but they are gone, for the most part. I've traveled a great deal and attended Mass in many places, noticing that the closed, screened boxes were absent more often than not.

RJK
10-08-2008, 08:57 PM
I was raised Catholic but now only attend churches for marriages and funerals. If you get hold of a copy of the Exorcist, you will have a good picture of how this would be handled. The priest would first want to go the psychiatric route, ruling out any medical problems. Then they called in the exorcist.

There were some good scenes in both the book and the movie, of the mother meeting the priest in the rectory office and later the priest visiting her home. If my memory serves me, she caught the priest after mass and asked if she could talk to him. This would be a believeable approach for a Christmas/Easter Catholic.

stormie
10-08-2008, 09:03 PM
There are a few in some places here in the States but they are gone, for the most part. I've traveled a great deal and attended Mass in many places, noticing that the closed, screened boxes were absent more often than not.
Maybe in most places, but here there are three RC churches within three miles and they all have both (and do use) the confessionals and the face-to-face Reconciliation. So it is possible to use a confessional in the story. (It would most likely be an older church, built before the '60s.)

IceCreamEmpress
10-08-2008, 11:47 PM
If the church in your story has the old-fashioned confessional booths, that would be quite possible but unusual in most parts of the US and Canada today. Of course, the character could have gone looking for a church that still had the old-style booths because she felt shy about talking with a priest face-to-face!

Catholic priests in the US are trained as pastoral counselors, and many hold master's or doctoral degrees in psychology. If someone came to most US priests saying they'd seen demons, the first thing the priest would investigate is the possibility of psychiatric or other medical illness (hallucinations, etc.).

Since there is a priest shortage in the US, quite a few priests who serve in US parishes come from countries in the developing world. It would be interesting to have your protag encounter a priest whose US training told him that she wasn't seeing demons, just having hallucinations, while his childhood memories of another culture's traditional stories of demons pointed him in another direction.

johnnysannie
10-09-2008, 12:20 AM
Since there is a priest shortage in the US, quite a few priests who serve in US parishes come from countries in the developing world. It would be interesting to have your protag encounter a priest whose US training told him that she wasn't seeing demons, just having hallucinations, while his childhood memories of another culture's traditional stories of demons pointed him in another direction.

True; our current parish priest is a native of Poland and many in our diocese are from Vietnam. In the last few years I've met priests from many foreign countries including Germany, Brazil, and Hawaii as well.

gwendy85
10-09-2008, 09:16 AM
I think this is a case to case / country to country basis. I can't say for sure for the US, but I believe it may be pretty much the same. I'm from the pre-dominantly Roman Catholic Philippines by the way.

1.) I'd go with what EriFae said in this part. You could make an appointment. Or, as a friend of mine had once done (though his problem ain't nothing to do with demons) was to wait until the priest finished the last mass and approached him. They talked it over in his office.

2.) This one too is subjective. It depends on your priest's character. They're still human after all, though as a suggestion, I'd make the priest believe...or pretend to believe. It seems they're OBLIGATED to believe in the supernatural. It's up to you of course, if the priest really does or not, either way he has to express belief in it. Can't have the priest suddenly dissuading your character by explaining the scientific impossibility of demonic existence :D

ink wench
10-09-2008, 03:55 PM
Thanks, ICE and Gwendy.


Since there is a priest shortage in the US, quite a few priests who serve in US parishes come from countries in the developing world. It would be interesting to have your protag encounter a priest whose US training told him that she wasn't seeing demons, just having hallucinations, while his childhood memories of another culture's traditional stories of demons pointed him in another direction.
ICE, I like this idea. It makes sense to me that a modern priest might first go the psychological route, but wouldn't want to rule out the possibility that something else is going on. I speak as someone who tends not to believe in anything supernatural, though, so what do I know.

It looks like I could run with this scene the story requires, so yay! Thanks everyone!

Smiling Ted
10-09-2008, 09:18 PM
Look up the Catholic Encyclopedia online (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05709a.htm).

Once you get past the derogatory remarks about other religions, you'll find hard-core information on Catholic dogma, procedure and ritual, including exorcism.

C.bronco
10-09-2008, 09:27 PM
I'd rather not ask my in-laws this because they already think I'm borderline nuts for marrying their son.... And my DH slept his way through church and Sunday school so he's useless.

Question 1. If you wanted to talk to a priest about a personal issue, how would you go about doing that? I'm assuming you need to make an appointment. And where would you meet the priest - in the church, in an office connected to it?

Question 2. How would a fairly modern priest react if a respected (apparently stable) citizen came to him and said she saw demons and wanted help? He would only vaguely know the person because she's basically a Christmas and Easter churchgoer, but they live in a small town so they've met outside of church.

Thanks!
1. "Hi, Father, can I speak to you for a few minutes..."
2. The priest recommends a good therapist.

mrockwell
10-10-2008, 01:57 AM
There are a few in some places here in the States but they are gone, for the most part. I've traveled a great deal and attended Mass in many places, noticing that the closed, screened boxes were absent more often than not.

Most confessionals I've been in, even in brand new churches, have a partition that you can kneel at if you don't want to do face-to-face, or you can walk around the partition and sit. Also, there is a sort of kneeler with a screen that a lot of priests use for confession when they're unable to take confessions in an actual confessional. I'm not sure if it has a specific name.

FWIW, I've never been in a confessional where the only option was face-to-face, and I've received the Sacrament of Reconciliation all over the U.S. and abroad.

-- Marcy

AnnieColleen
10-10-2008, 07:12 AM
Just a quick FYI....partitioned confessionals where the priest is behind a screen and is unable to see the parishioner are very uncommon today. Although movies and television portray them as common, they are not. Confession is now called "The Sacrament of Reconcilition" and is normally done face-to-face, one-on-one. In the former confessional at my parish church, it is just a room with two chairs, no partitions, no anonymity.

What I've commonly seen is a room with a half-partition by the door, priest sitting behind the partition. That way you have a choice to stay behind the screen or go around.

(Heh -- should've read the whole thread. Oops!)

mrockwell
10-10-2008, 08:02 AM
Confession is now called "The Sacrament of Reconciliation"

Actually, I believe the terms "Sacrament of Reconciliation" and "Sacrament of Penance" both predate "Confession" (i.e., are pre-Vatican II terms).

Wikipedia actually has a decent entry on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrament_of_Penance_(Catholic_Church)

-- Marcy

Stacia Kane
10-10-2008, 03:11 PM
Incidentally, I have a similar situation in one of my books (person asking the priest of they believe in demons) and the priest blows her off and tells her she just needs sleep. It was based on my own experiences attempting to get a priest to speak to me when I was trying to take RCIA classes and had a couple of very basic questions. It was absolutely heartbreaking for me; I cried for days.

I'm not saying at all that all priests are like that, not at all; but just because they're priests doesn't mean they're going to treat you like you matter to them or your questions are important to them in any way.

ink wench
10-10-2008, 03:38 PM
Ugh, sorry about your experience, December. Yeah, people are pretty much people regardless. Thanks for sharing the reminder.

Don Allen
10-10-2008, 03:41 PM
I have it much easier than you.. When I see the demon approach, I run away from my ex Wife as fast as possible, all the beast sees is "assholes and elbows".