In the recent bulletin for priests, a counseling priest psychologist has an article for the newly ordained priests. He congratulates them for the many years of seminary life, not always easy, and for reaching their goal. He wants to give them a gift of what he has learned over the years to be of help in their lives.
From his experience, a parish life, for the most part, depends on the priest. Some priests are assigned to parishes where the number of believers increase and the community is full of life, while others cultivate wormwood fields everywhere they go. The priest is a leader, the parish where the priest has the character of a good leader the parish is animated, but where the priest is not a true pastor you have chaos.
He describes four types of priests.
The ideal pastor is called 'smart and lazy priest'. Being lazy doesn't mean doing nothing, but always listening and waiting on the believers. These priests are close to the children. They are not only concerned with spirituality but with the whole person and are remembered longingly by the believers long after leaving the parish.
The second type of priest is the smart and diligent one. Pastors of this class get a conflicting type of appraisal from the parishioners. While he is evaluated as a priest who is eager to get involved in everything in the parish, he criticizes and nags about even the smallest things. They are difficult to approach. The biggest problem with these pastors is pride: they know; the believers don't know. Nevertheless, the parish continues to grow despite the pastor's failings.
The third class is very troublesome: a dumb and lazy priest. His sermons are cheeky, he says Mass because he has to, and his pastoral work is done with little love. The parishioners have to accept the insult and are greatly troubled. The priest does nothing and the parishioners don't know what to do. The parish is a chaotic mess.
The worst among the priests is the foolish but diligent one. They are stubborn, they spend money on things with no hope of succeeding or shouldn't be done, and if the believers oppose it: "What do they know?" They are lone rangers. Usually, they work only with persons they like, and those they don't like they ignore causing division in the parish and making many leave the community. The parishes in which they have passed through are left with a field of bitter herbs. Persons of this kind never admit their problems; they are persons with a personality disorder.
In conclusion, he quotes a believer who lamented: "I hope the new priest will be less holy and less intelligent." Pastors who comfort believers are the most desirable. They serve as spiritual fathers. The pastor of a parish, in many ways, is no different from the father of a family. Moreover, since most of the people who seek faith are lonely, the words of the priests can be both comforting and hurting. If one remembers that he is to be a father he will see correctly his position within the community of faith.