Damning Criticism?

October 11, 2007

A man is suing a priest who criticized him from the pulpit during a church service. The conflict began when the man left a message on the priest's answering machine:

I attended Mass on Sunday and I have seen poor homilies, but yesterday broke all records.
Not really sure how that criticism was supposed to be constructive or worthwhile, so the priest should have simply deleted the message. Instead, however, he played the message during church and then asked:
Should we send him to hell or to another parish?
Seriously? A priest suggested sending someone to hell (as if he had the power) for criticizing a sermon? The whole conflict is a mess and does nothing but hurt the Christian witness. These men need to learn how to offer constructive criticism and how to handle criticism, which are issues I deal with in my book (For God's Sake, Shut Up!). Let us not allow petty thoughts about sermons end up this badly. We need to learn how to offer and accept criticism.