EWTN Catholic Q&A
How can I help a wayward friend?
Question from Rox on 10-01-2013:

Judie, I'm very lost and afraid. I have been friends with a man of God for many many years. I love this man like a brother. Yet he has changed over the past few years from a devoted follower of the Lord into a spiteful, mean-spirited abuser. When I told him that I'd listen if he wanted to voice any concerns, he cut me off, saying that we were no longer friends. I was confused and devastated. I've not seen him in a few months and have received only short email responses to light-hearted efforts simply to keep the lines of communication open. If I wrote anything serious, I know that he would not respond. I've taken this to God in prayer every day for weeks, and I believe that God's efforts to soften his heart are the only reason there is any contact between my friend and me at all. I don't know what more I can do to reach him. He certainly can't be happy being such a bitter person, and I can't imagine that God wants this for him either. He's hurt and offended members of his community, which I mentioned to him in an email just after he discarded our friendship. I've heard of priestly narcissism being an issue, but I've never heard of a good, loving man completely changing his personality in this way. What more can I do in a situation that just yields more and more questions without any real answers?

Answer by Judie Brown on 10-03-2013:


First of all, what does priestly narcissism have to do with this man? If you are referring to the self-involvement people have with themselves that does not allow for being kind or loving to anyone else, then that could apply to a whole lot of folks.

It appears that you friend has been influenced in some negative ways by something or someone that has recently come into his life. That is the only thing I can think of that would causes such a drastic change, unless he is clinically ill. There would be no way to know.

Praying for him is an option and probably the best one. Keep on smiling and being his friend, but I would not try to enter in difficult discussion until he comes to you.

Hope this helps. You and your friend are in my prayers.

Judie Brown