Now hear this: priest orders kids out of mass for not singing loudly

Now I’ve heard everything — including a story about a priest who evidently didn’t hear enough.

Check this out:

Some parents with students in Nebraska’s largest Catholic grade school think their priest went too far in ordering 250 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders out of Mass because they weren’t singing loudly enough.

Incensed, the parents say they’re paying tuition so their kids can get Catholic instruction — not for the kids to be denied Holy Communion during Lent.

Other parents, however, back the action of the Rev. James Tiegs, pastor at St. Stephen the Martyr parish since 2004. They see him as a shepherd guiding the flock.

“If he thought that was necessary, my hat’s off for his courage,” said Bob Finger, who has a daughter in eighth grade at the southwest Omaha school.

The Archdiocese of Omaha is reviewing the week-old incident as a “personnel issue” and declined to comment on what steps, if any, might be taken. Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese, did say, however, that archdiocesan policy does not support the lesson.

“Trying to get children, or for that matter adults, to fully participate in the Mass is a 2,000-year-old issue in the church,” he said. “We would never suggest that 250 children be dismissed in the middle of Mass for not singing a song.”

The incident that has the 11,600-parishioner church abuzz raises broader questions, including: How best can a person of the cloth go about inspiring young people to make the most out of pew time?

Read on.

UPDATE: Comments on this thread are now closed.

Comments

  1. What. A. Jerk.

    Humiliating a group of kids at Mass and denying them the Eucharist because they weren’t singing loudly enough is wrong and sinful. I hope he is disciplined by his bishop and apologizes to those children.

  2. What an idiot.

    Pray the Mass, Father, and trust God to work in the hearts of the children.

    I repeat: what an idiot.

  3. Weird. I guess he’d like my daughter with Asperger’s who yells out her responses at the top of her lungs. At Christmas mass, the cantor stopped singing at one point and signalled for the congregation to stop singing because my daughters and their cousin were singing so loudly and beautifully that she (the cantor) just wanted everyone to listen.

    That said, full participation in the Mass is about what’s going on in the heart, and focusing too much on “doing” can often get in the way of that. Cardinal Ratzinger once said that the cliche “old lady saying her Rosary at Mass” is far closer to true participation in Mass than someone hopping around waiting for the chance to serve as an EMC or flipping through a hymnal or whatever.

  4. Idiot. Jerk. Nice names for a priest. Where Charity and love prevails…………

  5. I think it is disgusting. The role of the priest is to save souls, not kick out parishioners for not singing. If Iwere his bishop, I would have a frank discussion with him about what his duties are and what they are not.

  6. I understand not singing. Most of the songs at Church are sung so high that I can’t sing along even when I want to. In my parish its the sapranos in the choir that sing the melody line. I can’t hit the notes no matter how hard I try.
    A lot of songs are inane, “be all you are and all you a can be.”

    I’ve found it more prayerful to bring along copies of the entrance antiphon, offertory antiphon and communion antiphon and meditate on them while everyone else sings. I bring along my own materials because our pastor doesn’t approve of missalettes.

  7. Modern Catholics are much too obsessed with the volume level and not the inward aspect of participation, as if we are trying to mimic the shouting Baptists or Pentecostals down the block. Modern liturgists like those that formed Fr. Tiegs have been so successful in promoting this ideology that most of the comments were actually supportive of the pastor’s actions for punishing the apathy of some students. Interrupting the Mass only trivializes it. This is a liturgical abuse. I wasn’t there, but I think it would have been more pastoral to call attention to their pitiful participation in a humorous way during the homily.

  8. Hmm — can’t help but wonder if a loving word of encouragement that the kids join in would have had a more positive outcome?

  9. Dan Krischke says:

    I for one do not like singing at Mass. It can occupy space that is better attuned to the Eucharist.

  10. Throwing the kids out of Mass for being disruptive would have been appropriate. Throwing them out for being too quiet is ridiculous. This priest should be disciplined by the Bishop.

  11. Sherry Weddell says:

    I’ve worked with Fr. Tiegs and the staff of St. Stephen the Martyr at some diocesan events. St. Stephen is the biggest parish in 4 states (!) and puts tremendous emphasis on hospitality and welcoming people.

    I have no idea what happened in this instance, but it does seem to be contrary to the overall values and practice of the parish. I’m must say that I’m surprised.

  12. Larry Coty says:

    My note, just emailed to Fr Tiegs:

    Dear Father Tiegs,

    I read about your stunt, ordering 250 kids out of mass, on the Deacon’s Bench blog.

    Lovely.

    I’m sure you were embarrassed by their lack of enthusiasm.

    My suggestion is that you build their enthusiasm by exposing them to the CATHOLIC FAITH, rather than to the pablum of modernism and schlock psychology which you have no doubt been pushing all these years.

    The days of the Vatican II subversives are numbered, thanks be to God. I am grateful that we have waves of young, orthodox priests coming along now, and gradually gaining seniority in their parishes. Who knows? Maybe before my kids graduate from high school we’ll be able to drop in at our local parish without seeing a circus. As things are now, we must drive 30 minutes to reach a Byzantine Catholic liturgy and a priest who is a practicing Catholic.

    I hope you love your Inbox today. It should be interesting!

    cheers, ==Larry

  13. Very strange indeed…but I am sure that there is more to the story!

  14. Max Lindenman says:

    Let me get this straight. This guy has the unheard-of good fortune to find 250 junior high kids all being quiet at the same time, and he punishes them for it.

  15. I wonder which crappy “hymn” these young people were refusing to sing?

  16. Did anyone read the entire article at the link? The “headline” here is very misleading. He did not reprimand the children for not singing–he reprimanded them for being disrespectful and irreverent.
    The many comments that follow the original article include a majority praising his action and also for being a great priest and pastor.
    Follow the link and read the article and the comments before being so judgmental.

  17. naturgesetz says:

    I read the linked news story and the comments there. The difference is amazing. Most of the comments on the newspaper website are from parishioners who support Fr. Tiegs.

    I wonder if the kids’ failure to sing the responsorial psalm was a “last straw” for Fr. Tiegs after weeks or months of non-participation in various forms from the little darlings.

  18. Max Lindenman says:

    I have to admit, I was surprised to find so many people taking the side of the kids. Generally, any news of a priest or bishop dealing out discipline with a heavy hand draws rapturious cheers.

    But then I cracked the code. This guy erred not by being too harsh, but by being too harsh in the name of something that looks like a liberal reform. If he’d thrown those kids out for, say, improper attire, a lot of people here would be shouting, “Kicking the brats out was too good for them! Father should have beaten them like they owed him money!” Just goes to show that one man’s Hitler is another man’s hero.

    Me, I’ve never been much on singing. It’s not that I find it less than reverent, or a distraction from the Eucharist. I’m just lousy at it.

  19. Magistra Bona says:

    Gregorian chant, anyone?
    Our own tradition has a musical genre that the dumbest monk could sing and sing well enough. Kids can do it; old folks with creaky voices can do it, those who cannot read music can do it. (And that should cover just about everyone in the pews.)
    Because of the preponderance of professional music staff in many parishes, the music is done by the pros. Their tastes are flashy and difficult. (They want to earn their keep.)
    Don’t get mad if the people in the pews–who aren’t pros–can’t keep up.
    Yes, chant is easy. The tunes are no harder than “On Top of Old Smokey”. Why not pay the pros to train the peopleto sing these non-flashy tunes?
    Yes, they’d work themselves out of a job. But we’ve all got to tighten our belts these days.
    Monk the music!

  20. r-osaryfixer says:

    If the children were being asked to sing the typical sippy, sappy, and worse “hymns” that pass for “music” today, I don’t blame them a bit. I usually refrain from singing at a vernacular Mass, unless it is a tried and true hymn tune in English, or a Latin favorite (seldom happens, since the publishers of the missalettes do their darndest to dumb down the words and music for every occasion) Show tune rhythms, folk songs and worse abound. I pray that the new translation of the Ordinary Form of the Mass will bring about a revolution in the music for the Mass. I’ve seen only one advance copy of the new translation plus sung Masses, and they appear to be the same old, same old. Thank God for the Latin Mass on Sundays.

  21. Like it or not, I’ll bet at the next weekly school Mass they all sang!

  22. When I went to Catholic schools in the sixties, we rehearsed the songs before the Mass and we were expected to sing. I don’t think it sounds like the teachers are doing their job in religious education pointing out it is the duty of a good Catholic to participate actively and fully. Mass is about adoring God first and foremost.
    That is the problem with out Catholic education today…we think the priest must do it all and we have no responsibility in the matter to insist that our children will participate including in the singing. I wonder how many people take that to the softball park, play practice or other activities. And if parents think the priest job is to save souls, do they think it is their job to get them to confession at least once a month and to tell them they are expected to sing unless they have a good excuse for medical or other considerations? Do they understand their role in directing their child towards good conduct?

  23. If you would read the comments following the original article at the link you would see that many people like and respect this priest. Perhaps he could have been more diplomatic but no one knows how many times he asked them to behave before he blew his top. Even priests are human you know. Even some parents are supportive of his actions.
    Looking at the comments here and the names he was called, there is no wonder why no one is entering a seminary these days.

  24. Marion (Mael Muire) says:

    It would appear that, in response to a perceived lack of enthusiasm among the young singers, Father Tiegs experienced a reaction of testiness combined with what it is hoped is a lapse of otherwise good judgement. From these proceeded an unfortunate and unnecessary scene which almost certainly brought about and a state of bewilderment, confusion, and distress among the young people, as well as to the children and adults in the congregation. A very sad and disgraceful episode indeed.

  25. Chris Sullivan says:

    Fr. Tiegs walked up and down the aisles observing the kids and made a judgment call that the kids were not really respectfully participating in the Mass. He therefore decided to dismiss them.

    One can argue about the pastoral wisdom of his decision, but it does seem that he did it for a lot more then just the lack of singing volume.

    Read the whole article Dcn Greg linked to, and the parents comments.

    God Bless

  26. I don’t always sing either. Usually it is because either the piece is rather horrible ( as most of them are these days) or because no one else is singing either. I don’t think he wills win any souls by throwing them out of church. This guy is obviously troubled and needs prayers. Perhaps he is overworked.

  27. “Read the whole article Dcn Greg linked to, and the parents comments.”

    A wise comment Chris!

    Linus, from the comments posted on the original article (which you probably did not read) I don’t think he is troubled at all. He was teaching them something they should have learned from their parents if they ever go to mass on Sunday——reverence in Church.

    Marion, as for being a “disgraceful episode” I would agree if you were speaking of the childrens’ lack of respect at the Eucharist.

  28. “Trying to get children, or for that matter adults, to fully participate in the Mass is a 2,000-year-old issue in the church,”
    is a statement that is as historically and liturgically ignorant as it is patently stupid. On top of that, the overwhelming majority of music in the liturgy today is what I imagine the damned in Hell suffer for all eternity. Perhaps they just simply could not endure, i.e. “fully participate”, in singing the squishy, inane, vacuous, self-obsessed lyrics that the Church in 60s and 70s regurgitated on herself and her liturgy.

    If in fact the reason they did not sing was because whatever song was being sung at the time was just another piece of insipid nonsense, I hope they have enough of an understanding and appreciation of their human dignity to not yield to the juvenile and embarrassing antics of the priest.

  29. I have gathered that there was more to the negative behavior of the kids than just singing too quietly. Perhaps it should have been handled better (or maybe he’d tried reining in their behavior in gentler ways before), but it’s hard to really insist he shouldn’t have done what he did since a.) it was a school Mass and so shouldn’t have been their only chance to receive Communion that week and b.) a large number of the kids’ parents supported his actions and I’d say they’ve got more of the story than we do.
    Either way, what made my jaw drop was that our paper considered this to be front page news; it was one of three front-page Sunday stories – blown way out of proportion as they would have given it that same attention if he’d been accused of something illegal. All that happened was that a priest made a judgment call that the junior-high kids were misbehaving at Mass and sent them back to their classrooms. Why is this such a huge story?

  30. I don’t sing at Mass. I have a truly, amazingly, embarassinglyl, bad singing voice. I therefore do not sing but listen attentively to those who can sing beautifully. I suspect that my silence pleases the Lord more than my singing would. Please don’t judge my silence too harshly!

  31. Whatever the problems were, does it merit denying people the Eucharist? If it does, wouldn’t we have to deny it to everyone? After all, it’s not as if they were a group of politicians…

  32. Before the 60s, participation at mass had nothing to do with a public performance. The mistake the priest is making is assuming participation is best displayed outwardly. While a lot of us enjoy singing the mush hymns of Marty Haugen, the St louis jesuits and other songs from our”separated brethren”, once upon a time mass was prayed. We united our intentions to the priest, to the sacrifice at the altar, and with the church universally.

    Singing “All are Welcome” a few decibels higher isn’t what makes our breaks our participation. I also wonder how many pro abortion politicians he’d turn away from the blessed sacrament…..

  33. Ps – maybe the priest did it for volume reasons and maybe not, but as the official response indicates, the innovations of the 60s are at issue in some form. And calling a priest an idiot is mean. Thank you :)

  34. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    My two cents:

    This was a teachable moment. And that’s exactly what the priest did: he taught those kids something.

    Lesson of the day: if you don’t sing, you don’t have to sit through mass at 8:15 in the morning.

    Dcn. G.

  35. pagansister says:

    After attending mass with children once a month for the 10 years of teaching in an RC school, there were some times when the middle school kids did better with their singing than other times. (I was with 5 year olds, so they liked singing) However the priest never sent the older kids out when they didn’t sing. They weren’t denied the Euchrist. I do know that the teachers probably had something to say to them after they returned to the classrooms. Not as an excuse—but they are 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Not easy ages.

  36. Larry Coty says:

    brings to mind this classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwFJv-kmaCc

  37. Maybe the kids will actually learn a lesson. An interesting idea for school.

  38. All I can say is , WOW’. Deacon Greg, I agree with you. He certainly taught them a lesson! They probably won’t sing on Sundays, either, and ask their parents, ‘can you kick me out of Mass?’
    They are in Junior High for goodness’s sake! They are little cretins in need of education. I live that life every day with junior high Confirmation Candidates, and RCIA Candidates, and children whom we have to teach about Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, Mass and the Sacraments. Have you ever sat through 30 minutes of Adoration with grades 3-6 and two catechists per grade level? A teachable moment for sure, but certainly not easy!
    BUT- I think this priest gave in to anger. Let it go, Father, let it go. They are children- think of what adults tell you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and what children tell you in Reconciliation…you have bigger fish to fry.

  39. Such drama from so many comments!
    Way to go, Father! Mass was part of the School day, and it sounds like they were WASTING THE TIME– so Father had EVERY RIGHT to dismiss the kids. He was denying them the PRIVILEGE of attending Mass. It was not their RIGHT to be at Mass.
    In every Mass— Christ gives us His very best, He gives us Himself. All Catholics need to learn the important teaching, that Mass is this very precious give-and-take—-it is Christ giving His best self to us— and it is OUR TIME to give back— our very best! I hope these kids learned their lesson, and appreciate the great gift and privilege their school gives them, twice a week!

  40. So, if only ten students sing will Fr. Tiegs throw the whole lot out of Mass? If only five students sing will Fr. Tiegs throw the students out of Mass? If only two students sing will Fr. Tiegs throw the students out of Mass? …

  41. If the children were disruptive or disrespectful in Mass, I would have them removed as well.

    But – - – -
    (With the exception of Canon 915 – Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion) – - -
    This may be an issue of Can. 912 “Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.”

  42. I am kind of curious what the song actually was. I believe that for some of the pop-style songs and folk songs, females may be more likely to sing them than males. I also suspect males might be more inclined to sing chant if they knew it.

    Both of my parents learned to read music by sight in their Catholic school. They learned chant and traditional hymns. I’ve learned a lot of modern songs, but was not taught music in school and cannot sight read it.

  43. naturgesetz says:

    bt — from what I’ve read elsewhere, it was actually the Responsorial Psalm.

  44. I haven’t read anything but the headline here and the first 5 posts but what the hey, I’ll chime in on this one.

    Do we really know the full story here? Being a CCD teacher, when I hear about that many kids sitting together in church, my hair stands on end. I remember a 40 Hours Devotion where I had to Indian stalk a 13 year old who was making a paper airplane out of the hymn sheet. Turned out to be the same kid whose parents were texting during the Mass at Confirmation.

    Was it a case of irreverence combined with a lack of enthusiasm for participation? If it was then I applaud this guy. Should have thrown the parents out with them too. If it wasn’t, well, it seems a bit harsh.

  45. Solution = TLM There is no opportunity for this type of problem.

  46. So the article chose to focus on the fact that the children weren’t singing. Father’s focus was the irreverence and disrespect. One of the parents in attendance told me that Father had warned the children before he took the final step.
    The rest of the people who were in attendance at that Holy Mass had the right to not be disrupted. Supposedly ushers have the responsibility to keep order in the assembly if the teachers and parents can’t keep order then sadly it falls on the priest’s shoulders.
    Hurrah Fr. Tiegs! The Eucharist should be protected from profanation. That is one of the reasons catechumens were not admitted to “The Sacred Mysteries”.
    Remember what Holy Scripture says about “he who eats unworthily”. Maybe Fr. Tiegs actually has saved some young soul from that terrible fate.

  47. # 30 Charlie
    ” silence pleases the Lord ? ” that’s ok when in Ps 46:10 :
    ” be still and know that I am God “.
    Holy scriptures encourage ” singing ” and making music to the Lord.
    Charlie , i’m listing just a few that you can peruse at your
    convenience. Ps 9:11 , 18:49 , 47:6 , 68: 4 , Isa 12:2, 5
    James 5 : 13 ( there are many , many more !! )
    Charlie, sing HIS praises no matter how bad your voice is
    because the Lord is pleased when we give HIM all the praise and glory that HE rightly deserves !!
    Lastly, Charlie, when we lift His Name up high in praise and worship , in this life on earth , we are ” practicing ” for an eternity of singing as we meet Him face to face.
    It’s choir practice !! Revelation 5 : 11-13 . Sorry Charlie if this has been too harsh !

  48. Many churches these days have been protestant-ized, meaning that praying necessitates a loud, outward showing of “prayer” in the form of loud responses and singing. Ridiculous. I hope the Bishop makes him apologize at least.

  49. From the article, it seems it is the pastor’s opponents who are the “protestantizers” of the Church.

  50. Larry Coty says:

    I recommend the New Oxford Review as an antidote.

    http://www.newoxfordreview.org/covers-pdf/ead-sayitisnt.pdf

  51. Not funny, Larry Coty. Your link contributes nothing to a mature, civil discussion of this issue.

  52. ThirstforTruth says:

    While what the priest did seems extreme I have often wondered about the apparent “lackluster” congregations exhibit during this most participatory of liturgies. While as some have correctly pointed out here, there is both an outward and inward participation, but to look out upon a congregation of zombies ( as I said in our parish it is easy to see the rest of congregation)must be very dis-heartening to many of our celebrants! Perhaps when they had their backs turned to us they would not be so aware. Anyway, this priest deserves more charity than he is getting here and apparently in his parish. If he could do this all over again he would probably react differently. We all have those experiieces. Now he should be given the chance to talk with these youngsters. And those who are being so critical of the priest? What kind of lesson are THEY teaching the students! Thnk of this priest, and your own soul the next time you pray the Our Father!

  53. Larry Coty says:

    Sometimes, HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship?), ridicule is the best reply.

    Children respect authority, instinctively; and they are very good at detecting a vacuum and filling it with spitballs, etc.

    Fr Tiegs has his reward.

  54. The title was not misleading, as some reply-ers have stated. Unfortunately, Fr. Jim kicked them out for the simple fact that they were not singing “loudly” enough for him- notice I didn’t say they weren’t singing at all. The responsorial hymn was unfamiliar to many of the students, and like plenty of teens, they are uncomfortable singing new songs loudly for many reasons (i.e. squeaky voices). This middle school group is one of our most reverant and respectful groups we’ve had in a while. So, for those of you questioning whether or not this was the “last straw”… nope, sorry to burst your bubble, this is what it is- an angry outburst.

    I don’t see the Archbishop doing anything to mediate the situation, and many of the middle schoolers are uncomfortable during Mass now. The goal this year was to promote vocations- unfortunately, this has done the opposite.

  55. Donald White says:

    It is a given that one thing Catholics can not do is sing…and one of the main reasons is that at each mass, new and impossible to sing dregs of songs are introduced. As to many of the responses prior to the Gospel are just tacky when added to the verses the choir sings. Sing or not sing. A simple choice of the attendee. As to whether to refer to the good father as a jerk, ect., we have all been subject to the foibles of some really jerky personalities if we have been around very long.

    One of the things I notice is that the Latin – English songs which are traditional and other songs that are more common and more traditional, i.e., Holy God, we praise Thy Name, Tantum Ergo (sp), Amazing Grace, etc., are sung with gusto. Most of the new music since V2 are dreck. The same composer writing pansy voices for unreal people. Ugh!

    Some of us have voices that sound just horrible and try to sing any way while others of us know we sound like coyotes baying at the moon.

  56. More to the story says:

    There were students who were talking and generally being disrespectful. The lack of singing and refusing to respond to his requests just exacerbated the situation.
    Fr. im is the most caring priest I have ever met. People with political agendas are the ones who are crowing the loudest. Shame on them.

  57. Theresa Henderson says:

    I agree with one of the above posters. I bet they’ll pay more attention in Mass next time!

    I remember once going to confession and the priest sending me back out for “not being prepared”.

    Wow did that ever get my attention! I know he did it to others too, because they complained. And i asked them “Were you?”
    “What?”
    “So were you prepared? I wasn’t.”
    They went away grumbling.
    I wonder how many of the complainers in THIS case make excuses for the bad behavior of their young teens in church? I support the priest and I hope the children went back to their classrooms and pondered what they’d been doing.

  58. Most people despise teenagers, so why should this priest be any different.

    And remind me, again, why people my age are leaving the Church? Fortunately Jesus keeps me in His Church while most older people seem to try as hard as they can to drive me away. Fortunately I have gotten good at ignoring all of you.

  59. Magistra Bona says:

    To Megan: That’s how we know you haven’t grown up yet. You’re holding your breath ’til you turn blue or get your way. That’s what children do. That’s throwing a tantrum. Welcome to Catholicism! We do not get to bend it to our will. We accept it and conform to it. Taking Christ’s yoke upon ourselves is actually the most liberating thing we can do. Besides, the Church is way older than you and I, and will outlast both of us. A grown-up Catholic knows that “ignoring all of you” is not what real Christianity is about. If you remain Catholic, you will have to share the Church with older people–maybe even serve them. You, too, will be an older person eventually (God willing, and real old besides: like even 50 or so). You can exhale now.

  60. This situation at Father Songleader’s church is an example of how far off the rails the modern liturgy has gone.

    The mass is the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. The mass is not a community songfest. It is not a concert. It is not the priest’s personal party.

    The noisy, sloppy, disrespectful, ill-dressed, gum smacking, baseball uniform wearing, cheerio-chewing, mini-skirt wearing church of today is an insult to Our Lord.

    The lack of faith in the real presence is at an all-time high because we have tried to tailor the mass to entertainment instead of true worship. We worship the community now. We sing songs about ourselves. “We are ….etc.”

    I have been driven to the FSSP extraordinary form of the Mass where prayer and contemplation are possible. Christ does the work. We participate in his sacrifice as human beings, not human doings.

    Do yourself a favor and attend a real Mass of the Ages where tall ages including teenagers are not only welcome but prayerfully participate in prayer and worship, not silly noisemaking. By the way, Megan, nearly all of the girls who make up the choir at my parish are teenagers, and they are singing Mozart, Palestrina, Dubois, etc., not silly ditties written by hippie dissidents.

    Dear God, I pray you restore the liturgy before faith is destroyed completely.

  61. …and one more thing:

    A couple of Sundays ago while travelling, I went to a Novus Ordo in a very small town, pop 5500. There were SIXTEEN lay ministers running all over the place. (Greeters are now called hospitality ministers…good grief.) The mass was a noisy, disrespectful nightmare. Folks visited and texted all during mass. Young ladies were half-dressed and the teenaged boys were ogling.

    Remember, Christ does the work. He is the Sacrifice. Our work is to join him in the sacrifice, not to make noise. Yes, praise and song accompany this as they did at the Last Supper. However, Praise and Song are not the things we are worshiping. Please, catholics, let’s abandon the silliness and contrivances and get back to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What could be more beautiful? You don’t really need to dress it up with silly, loud, poorly performed music by people who are being pushed to sing it even though it is hideous.

  62. It was probably (I hope) a Marty Haugen ballad or something similar from the Saint Louis Jesuit hymnsters that the kids didn’t want to sing, in which case I stand with the kids, take back liturgical music!

    I bet if he let them sing Gregorian Chant in the “virile Roman style” it would be “problem solved”

  63. You bet there is more to the story. This is a man who needs total control of every situation at this parish. There are so many details not in the story. Like how the teachers are in 100% support of the children, how he had some of the teachers in tears (this is how violent his verbal tyrade was), how he has not said mass to this particular group of kids since this happened, how he has no intention of apologizing the children, teachers or parents (his words). The article failed to mention that our school is a nationally recoginized school with a Blue Ribbon award and amazing principal and the best staff that a parent could hope for. Fr. wants nothing to do with the school or the children in fact he rarely even enters that side of the building unless he is ready to wield his iron fist enough to scare the staff and children. His only interaction with the students is at an occasional mass and this is how he treats them. It is against Canon law to withold the Eucharist from anyone. Those active at the parish and school have watched this man lose control time and time again for at least 3 years! Unfortunately I believe the Archdiocese of Omaha is going to just “sweep this one under the rug” and not address what really needs to happen. This priest needs help.

  64. Michelle says:

    As a parent at SSM, I am in complete agreement with Larry! There is a lot more to this story, and there are countless other stories of intimidation that perhaps many others do not know about. My hope is the Archdiocese will do the right thing and remove Father from SSM and give him the help he deserves and needs.

  65. pagansister says:

    From the last 2 posts, (63 & 64) sounds like the priest is in the wrong parish. If children bother him that much, what is he doing in a parish with a school attached to it?

  66. SSM Parent says:

    As a SSM parent I can tell those of you who think they’ll “sing much better at the next Mass” that this hasn’t happened. I know..I’ve been to a mass since this happened…one of my kids is in the middle school who experienced this tragedy.

    This isn’t the first problem we’ve had with Fr. Jim. He has fired volunteers, practically the entire parish staff since he’s arrived and has his own mental issues – he admits to it. He even chased out a group of middle school from the gym a few months ago b/c they weren’t supposed to be in there (when if fact they were allowed) and refused to allow the kids to use a parish phone to call their parents.

    The faculty and staff live in fear of him and the Archdiocese refuses to acknowledge a problem. He has even gone as far as to violate our Archdiocesan Code of Conduct, yet nothing is done…makes it difficult to believe our code is effective. Not only has Fr. Jim failed our kids, but the Archdiocese has failed him in getting him the help he needs. I’m sure Jesus has tears on his face!!!

  67. To poster 30:
    Sorry, but when did not singing loudly become “negative behavior”?

    To poster 57:
    Since when did not singing as loud as some clearly childish priest insisted, mean that they were not paying attention?

  68. If everyone here who says they have first hand knowledge of the situation is telling the truth, then it sounds like the parish has real issues that need to be addressed by competent authority and the rest of us should refrain from uninformed opining based on our own issues.

  69. You people scandalizing Fr. Jim are deplorable. May God have mercy on you all. Furthermore, the secular news article left out MUCH of the story. I have close knowledge of the situation as well, but NOT as a parent of one of the over privileged brats in question. And I can tell you that this was not just a singing problem, this is a school year long problem that this man has had to contend with involving disruptive, irreverant behavior. The true issue here is parents who have failed to catechize their children at home, like PJPII drove home. But I can’t blame the children really, look at the examples they have as parents. Publicly scandalizing a priest, because your spoiled prince/princess was embarrassed, got called out, got chastised???? AND??? Hello, it’s called discipline, perhaps if these parents would have worked on their kids at home and set better examples, instead of creating their senses of entitlement, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. THe young lady who said people despise teenagers, yep, pretty much, but it’s because of the rearing the receive which creates the little monsters they become. So, you parents causing this stink, if you want them to be coddled, send them to public school, please, so that the parents who really WANT their children living the faith don’t have to deal with you or your kids. Iron fist?? REally, because he won’t put up with disrespect and irreverence of our Lord?? If he fires a volunteer, so what?? The problem in the American church today is that priests have gotten too lax, too touchy feeley. I am sorry, the ten commandments didn’t become suggestions with Vatican II. There are volunteers who don’t even go to Sunday mass, and have gone so far as to publicize that in classes, so if a volunteer isn’t living their Catholic faith, bye bye. I wish more priests were like him. I can tell you, I am not a parishioner at SSM, I used to be. I still go to daily mass there from time to time, and Sunday evening mass if we miss one of the mass times at our church. And I still have many holy, devout friends there who have filled me in on the TRUE details of this case, some who were at the mass in question. Part of the reason I left that parish was due to it’s gross irreverence. Parents and their teenagers having casual conversations during the consecration, young girls dressing like street walkers, gum chewing, mass exodus of ENTIRE families immediately after communion, eme’s spilling the precious Blood on the floor and using the purificator to wipe it up, with HER FOOT, then continuing to wipe the chalice, instead of alerting the priest. Fr. Tiegs has a big job at that parish, it is deplorable, and my hat goes off to him and his “iron fist”. Shame on those parents, and shame on you on here who don’t even live in this town who seem to have it all figured out. The Archbishop is getting flooded with support for Fr. Jim, and I can assure you all on here, that it far outweighs this small population that has put together this witch hunt. I think of Our Lady’s messages. So often she has asked us to not scandalize her priests, even if we disagree with them, and how it displeases her Son. Jesus surely has tears on his face, but I assure you, it isn’t because of the actions of Fr. Jim.

  70. One more thing, you people who keep trying to argue that these kids were denied communion??? This is the most ignorant argument of all. The kids didn’t ask for communion, therefore how could they be denied communion??? The liturgy of the Eucharist hadn’t even begun. If a bunch of clowns came in during mass and started doing acrobats in the aisles, they would be asked to leave. This is not denial of communion, this is asking a problematic element to leave so that those who WANTED to be there could receive the grace of the mass. So please, stop saying this was denial of communion, and I will stop questioning your intellect.


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