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Celeste wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What would be the proper chain of command for filing a complaint at your parish?
  • What is the appropriate protocol?


  { What would be the proper chain of command (or protocol) for filing a complaint at your parish? }

Mary Ann replied:

Celeste —

First, if prudent, go to the person with whom you have the problem.

There may be:

  • a misunderstanding that can be cleared up,
  • education that can happen, or
  • repentance/forgiveness that can take place.

If this visit does not resolve the issue, go to the pastor. If the issue is clearly a serious moral or doctrinal one, and not a possible misunderstanding, the pastor should be consulted at the same time as the other person.

If something illegal has been done, the police should be consulted at the same time as the pastor.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Celeste —

To add to what Mary Ann has said, if the matter is a doctrinal one that deals with the teachings of the Church or deals with the manner in which the sacraments are celebrated, I would contact the local bishop, but only after trying to resolve the issue with the priest or pastor involved.

The local bishop will have expected you to first try to work the issue out with whatever priest or pastor is involved. Nevertheless, the bishop is ultimately responsible for his own flock.

Hope this helps,


Eric replied:

Dear Celeste —

If the pastor doesn't respond to your needs, you can go to the Vicar Forane (Dean) of the area. Figuring out who that is may not be easy, though a call to the diocese should confirm it.

If that doesn't help, and it's a serious issue, write to the bishop. If it's really serious, and the bishop, after much time and several letters, has not addressed your issue, you can go to the
Papal pro-nuncio (the Pope's ambassador) in Washington D.C.


Celeste replied:

Mary Ann, Mike, and Eric —

Thank you, so much, for responding so quickly to my question.

I will follow your advice.

In Christ Love,


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