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CHURCH MEMBERS NOT GETTING ALONG

  • 2 May 2019
  • Author: Benedict
  • Number of views: 263
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CHURCH MEMBERS NOT GETTING ALONG

Suppose you and another member of the Church are not getting along.  You are having problems.  What should you do?  Should you go right away to the top person to make a complaint? In extreme cases, going to the top right away is necessary.  Most of the time there is another approach.  The gospel according to Matthew offers such an approach.

Step 1.  “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.  If the member listens to you, you have regained that one (Matthew 18:15).”  In other words, try speaking with the person at an appropriate time and place.

Step 2.  “But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16).”  This meeting could help clarify a problem that could not be resolved in step one.  There is no longer one person’s word against another person’s word.

Step 3.  “If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen to them, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matthew 18:17).”  In some cases, the pastor is the one to try to resolve the conflict between the two members.  Specific personnel from the Archdiocese assist with very serious conflicts or issues. 

Another name for this type of process is subsidiarity.  One definition of subsidiarity is “the principle of authority whereby decisions are entrusted to the appropriate body and not assumed by a higher authority.  Issues are dealt with at the lowest proper level of responsibility and competency (Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, Policy No. 112).”  In other words, start at the lowest levels first. 

Try Matthew.  Something good might come out of it.  

Fr. Leo

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