After Concordia: The Priest and the Little White Lie

February 1, 2012 | By | 14 Comments

We’ve all done it. Maybe you slip away for a weekend without alerting your family. Maybe you feign feeling poorly to add an extra day onto a vacation. Maybe you take a week-long cruise, and tell the members of your congregation you’re off on a spiritual retreat.
Ok, not too many of us have done that last one, but that is what Father Massimo Donghi, a Roman Catholic priest in the Italian village of Besana Brianza located near Milan told his flock of faithful followers before boarding Costa Concordia on its ill-fated cruise.
Little knowing that the eyes of the world would soon be scrutinizing the details surrounding his holiday, 41-year-old Donghi boarded Concordia in Civitavecchia along with several family members, according to a report in London’s Daily Mail. Apparently, parishioners discovered the clergyman’s deceit when Donghi’s niece posted a notice on her Facebook page that the family, including Uncle Massimo, had survived the accident and were safe.
So what did the good father do when asked about his apparent transgression? He stood his ground and let higher powers be the judge.
“You all have the story,” said Massimo. “There is nothing to add. I’m still a little shocked, but everyone who I was with is okay. I will explain everything to my parishioners when I get back to the church. I’m not bothered about what people say about me. God Bless. Good day.”
Of course, the most important thing is that everyone in the family was safe. And surely Donghi’s church members will forgive and forget, given the ordeal he underwent.
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    14 Responses to “After Concordia: The Priest and the Little White Lie”

    1. Scott
      February 1st, 2012 @ 11:20 am

      I see no reason why a cruise with your family cannot be a spiritual retreat. Let the poor guy have a vacation with his family! If he had told his parishoners he was going on vacation, some of them would probably have booked the cruise with him.

    2. Michael Walsh
      February 1st, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

      That’s the great thing about Catholicism – all he has to do is go to confession and it’s all good!

    3. Kathi
      February 1st, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

      Uhh,I have to say I have a problem with Father Massimo Donghi’s lie. Why lie to your congregation about something like that? I realize i don’t know the whole story but if it’s true as the story is written then for the congregation to found out the way they did is crazy. How can you trust someone that will lie about something like this? A Priest is looked up to and this is crazy. If i was a member of that Church i would think twice about remaining a member. If he really did comment that he’s not bothered by what people say about him then that in my mind is also a huge issue. As for the comment that Scott made here, well Scott, a vacation with your family isn’t a spiritual retreat. It’s a vacation with your family. He shouldn’t have lied about that, period.

    4. Kathi
      February 1st, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

      OMG Michael Walsh, are you serious? If you think going to confession is all it takes then you’re seriously mislead in what you think forgiveness & repenting is all about. Sorry but i feel your comment is very insensitive & ignorant. I’m not trying to start a fight with you on the subject. I’m just shocked that you posted that comment.

    5. Msgr. Mike
      February 1st, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

      I am a priest and I always let the parishioners know when and where I’m taking my vacation. Always have. But I must admit to telling a lie when I meet my dinner companions for the first time on a cruise. I tell them I’m a retired teacher (which I am but still active as a parish priest). Then I love to see the look on their faces when I show up on formal night in full clerical attire.

    6. Kathi
      February 1st, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

      I have to wonder who paid for his so called spiritual retreat? Alot of Churches pay for spiritual retreats. Did the priest pay for it or did the church pay for him and his family to go on a cruise? I understand that he experienced a horrible ordeal on this cruise but so did many other people that were on the cruise. I have to wonder how many times did he lie to his church about his endeavers?

    7. Angela Guptill
      February 1st, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

      Oh, for goodness sake!!!! If a CEO of a big company said he was going on a spiritual retreat but didn’t tell anyone in his company where it was going to be, no one would lift an eye brow about it!!! Maybe the priest saw this as an oportunity to draw closer to God as he would have had lots of free time when not visiting with his family. He didn’t lie people!! Get over it!!!

    8. Angela Guptill
      February 1st, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

      Oh, btw. My husband is a pastor and the only way I can get him to fully relax and vaca is on a cruise! No cell phone or computer for a week makes for a truly spiritual retreat for him. Our parishioners know that if they really need to get a hold of us that one of our other staff members can help with that or help that person themselves.

    9. Msgr. Mike
      February 1st, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

      I personally pay for my cruise, Kathi, as I do for all my vacations and retreats. And no, I don’t embezzle parish funds.

    10. Kathi
      February 1st, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

      People, please. You are missing what the big deal is here. He’s not a ceo, he’s a priest. A spiritual retreat is specifically organized & designed specifically as a spiritual retreat, not a vacation with your family. Two totally different things. Why lie about something so miniscule? What was he trying to hide that he felt he had to lie? Go on vacations. Pastors,Preachers need those probably more then alot of us. But why lie about it? A Priest is held in high moral standard. If you can’t trust a Priest then well, i just don’t know? My issue with the priest isn’t that he went on vacation, it’s that he felt he had to lie and say he went on a spiritual retreat. Why? What was he trying to hide or accomplish? That’s all i’m saying.

    11. Monte
      February 1st, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

      Typical Catholic Hypocrite!

    12. Tracy
      February 6th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

      Maybe Kathi needs a priest and learns how to forgive. No one is perfect…including you! Stop judging and start loving.

    13. Myrna Barron
      February 6th, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

      We have met several priests on our cruises. Once the Catholic cruisers find out there is a priest on board, they talk him into a daily mass. And he is always willing to do it, but it does cut in to what he intended to be some R&R time. Also many of the crew members are Catholic and welcome a daily mass. Cruise ships used to provide a priest or clergyman on most cruises, but don’t do that so much any more. I don’t blame the priest for taking real vacation with family. He deserves it. As for the white lie, well that is truly between him and God. His parishioners should find it in their hearts to forgive, and maybe he should be a little more contrite.

    14. Marie
      February 6th, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      Many years ago, I used to meet our parish priest sometimes, we used to exchange our vacations we had taken. What’s the big ordeal. Did you forget he is a human being just as we are and that priest take vacations like we do….Please stop judging and get a life.

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