Originally posted by Jim:
Eli, thanks for your words. I've seen them in action when I was in an Orthodox parish, too.
There is also the matter of some people's being more careful about what they say to their priest than to someone else. People will ask me questions or complain to me RATHER THAN say something to Father. If I can help them, fine. If not, I refer they to Father.
Oh yes and in Orthodoxy Matushka gets to carry some of the those burdens as well. It takes a certain wisdom to know what to answer and what to refer. You've seen that work by observation and in action.
But that's also supportive of my point. Bishops know how all this works too and so they should be eager to keep their priests 'in the loop' so to speak while also protecting them from unnecessary pressures.
Part of our problem, again, as a whole Church is the fact that people loose sight of the fact that Father is not just there to "do stuff". The parish priest has as much, if not more, personal need to have time to pray, read and feed his spiritual life as anyone else. But that we don't see as "work."
It is amazing to me that so much of what we'd call "priceless" in public is really valued as worthless privately, since who can name its price?