When Father has a drinking problem

By Wendy Donahue

A priest’s alcoholism becomes the parish’s affliction, too.

Every week or so, Father Ray toted a suitcase past the rectory offices. “Dry cleaning,” he’d say.

“Liquor bottles,” feared both the pastor and Mary Catherine Meek, who worked in the suburban Chicago parish. People caught whiffs of alcohol on Father Ray (not his real name) at Mass. He had undergone treatment for alcoholism before this assignment.

Confronted by the pastor, Father Ray denied relapsing. The pastor expressed his concerns to the diocese.

“Then Father Ray had it out for the pastor because he was getting him in trouble,” Meek says. “Father Ray took it upon himself to go out and visit the sick so that he could say, ‘Look, I wouldn’t be doing this if I were drinking.’ He had the parish secretaries bedazzled with his charm and easygoing humor. He would sit chitchatting for an hour and actually interrupt their work, but he was forming a protective shield around himself.” Click here to read the FULL ARTICLE