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Why Catholics Have Failed Our Culture: The Bottom Line Comments

I've had this discussion with Catholic lay leaders and clergy many times in different parts of the country.  Never have I encountered more than a mild protest -- most of the time there is general agreement with the need for parish life to undergo a change in kind, not in degree. In other words, a fundamental conversion that will involve the bishop, chancery staff, clergy, religious, and most of all, the laity.  Continue Reading

1 - 10 of 85 Comments

  1. Peter D. Aglione
    1 year ago

    Dear Dr. Hudson,
    I have read your article "Why Catholics Have Failed Our Culture" with great interest and felt compelled to respond to you.
    Yes, the Catholic Church HAS FAILED the faithful at the parish level. Your wife is entirely correct when she talks about the "deadness of the liturgies" and a certain underlying attitude
    which involves perfunctorily performing the liturgy. The Latin rite faithful seems to be mostly lithargic and do not participate to a great extent in the Liturgy. Allowing the priest to "say" the Mass seems enough for the faithful. There is very little teaching or instruction, or stimulation coming from the pulpit.
    After 40 years in the same Latin rite Catholic parish, I have transferred to the Byzantine Greek Catholic (Ruthenian) Church and learned to participate in their beautiful liturgies.
    The faithful perform the responses to the Divine Liturgy with the priest.
    My Latin rite pastor is not interested in other Catholic rites or even in telling the faithful who The Theotokos is. Nor is he interested in promoting unity with the Orthodox Churches or talking about the Universal CATHOLIC churches (sui iuris) of which there are about 23 and largely unknown to the Latin rite faithful. Nor is he interested in making any changes from the way he has performed his duties in the past 50 years.
    Sorry for venting, Dr. Hudson. I am thoroughly frustrated with my Church but very excited about our new Holy Father who is sympathetic to my philosophy of religion.
    "Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever!"

  2. Rob
    1 year ago

    Brian, I'm right there with you. But I don't want to get past anyone. I want to evangelize those in the pews. I really think that is the essence of the new evanglization. I don't want a smaller church, I want a bigger church!

    I know what you are saying about the mass. But I've been to masses in other countries and it's really possible to have vibrancy but still have the sacredness of the mass. But I agree with you, it's not entirely why we are there.

    There is a new book out that I would encourage all of you to read called Forming Intentional Disciples. In that little book I think is the key to all of our issues, right and left or if you are like me, directionally challened. :)

  3. Brian
    1 year ago


    Responding to you from 2 weeks ago, I would make two points. One, if you truly understand the mass and why we do what we do and what we are doing it is the most beautiful thing in the world. As Matthew Kelly likes to say, we all say, "the problem with the mass is..." and list 500 different things, but as he points out, the problem with the mass is US.

    Number two, I think what you are hinting at are the kinds of things that happen when Catholics truly LIVE their faith. And it isn't about high fiving each other at mass, the unbloody recreation of Calvary. But it is about walking with joy in our faces as we are called to do.

    It is hard, particularly in this world, and particularly in these times, and many good Catholics struggle with that. We also still have a large number of "cultural Catholics" who aren't really committed to the faith. The 30-40% who still support abortion, etc.

    Frankly, I think this is the Baby Boomer impact and it will wane in the coming decades. Changing to try and court these people, like the author of this article, would be a mistake and thank God, not something the Catholic Church does. The denominations that pander are dying and rightfully so because they reveal themselves not to be firmly rooted in anything.

    I believe as we move past the Baby Boomers, you will find the church you are seeking, if you reground yourself in the mass. BUT, that will be a smaller church that will again have to go out and evangelize a pagan world. To the point I think you touch on, we can only do that if we walk with the joy of Christ on our faces.

  4. Rob
    1 year ago

    Babbling hypocrites? Your words not mine, but sadly fitting in so many ways.

    Evil in our government is not the reason our socieity is in the shape it's in. People have turned their back on God and in so doing have produced the government that represents the culture. Save a few souls, that machine in DC is not interested in the least bit in helping people but merely positioning themselves and their parties for the next election.

    And because so many believe the best way to right the ship is to invest more time in secular institutions, that is why we get no where. No one really wants to get their hands dirty. It's easy to be prolife, walk a picket line, pray and vote for prolife candidates. All of those things are good, very good, but for many doesn't really move them out of their comfort zones. But there are few people who are stepping up to adopt unwanted babies, take in pregnant moms and ensure that the funding of pregnancy crisis centers is suffienct to deal with the obvious implications of our prolife positions.

    Sadly we do someting else too. We work hard to reduce or eliminate entitlement programs like welfare, food stamps, wic and housing subsidies. Yet these are the very things that unwed mothers will need when they choose to keep their babies. And we do this while working hard to reduce taxes and the funding mechanisms and protect and shield the wealth from taxation. We decry the IRS from targeting conservative organizations while we somehow are ok with Applie offshoring all their profits and never mind the wall of protection around wall street. We sream about amnesty yet do nothing about the businesses that hire illegals each and every day (and don't complain about the prices we get as a result). We scream about the jobless rate but do nothing about the flow of jobs going overseas. We scream about China's growing power yet we purchase the products manufactured there as if our life depended on it.

    If our faith is under attack, it is by our hand. We catholics are the ones who have refused to live our faith. It is we catholics who have failed to evangelize and form our own, let alone the greater culture. The government did not do this....we did.

  5. Bill Sr.
    1 year ago

    It seems that your haunting adversary here who wishes to deny you a platform for a plan of resistance to the Evil that has taken control of our government with an agenda to destroy the Christian principles on which it was founded will not recognize you as an American Patriot. That same evil which wisely tempts the faithful with twisted biblical logic like not casting stones, turning the other cheek, removing the beam from your own eye, and others to disarm them prior to battle and thus reduce its enemies like you and most Christians to babbling hypocrites in the eyes of the public. That ability to convince all manner of honest attempts to acknowledge that evil would be helpless with out those who welcome it into their hearts and minds and hide within humanity recognized only as another soul seeking to do what seems best for the progress of mankind is its most lethal weapon and prized disguise in its war to capture and enslave God's children.
    In short, we do well to pray as Christ has taught us to seek to have the heavenly will of God and His kingdom become a part of ours on Earth. However, there is little we can accomplish in that regard without a conscience and dedicated effort to expose the well disguised Evil present among us using all our human faculties with the capacities available to us as individuals.
    Saint Joan of Ark would be proud of you Vance.

  6. Sylvester George Fernando
    1 year ago

    Its true, as catholic- we do fail and fail ourselves miserably in great many ways that do not need any further explanation whatsoever. Catholic tradition and culture remains as good as it was in the beginning!Theoretically we do everything as a pretending catholic but as practicing catholic we do practically nothing. Our individual self has to reflect the catholic culture and tradition through our thoughts, words and deeds. It has to come from within ourselves. Its a self-experiment on how we understand Jesus and his own beliefs without any iota of doubt.We do everything in the interest of our own self-glory! Jesus did everything in the interests of all the humankind on earth in the first instance and next only in the interest of God.He taught us to love fellow men whom we see face to face with our own eyes. If we do not love our neighbors with whom we live in this earth, how can we able to love and serve our God whom we have not seen yet! The ultimate question is: do we love ourselves? If we do love ourselves truly, then we cannot fail in loving others who are known or unknown to us all.Our catholic tradition and culture even today teaching us to love ourselves to love God or Jesus and to love Jesus we have to love our fellowmen. Is it happening today? Do we have enough time to realize or do that? Or do we recognize our fellow men? We do not feel that we are the true embodiment of our Jesus Christ. We have to become the true abode of God. It needs to be addressed and without any doubt it needs our spiritual perfectness.That is the beginning of spirituality - the cleanliness of body, mind and heart. We fail to achieve this because of our self-centered nature to a very great extent, my dear friends! Its something strange to compare ourselves to others in today's circumstances.We need not to be born again...but starting to live again! We will bring back catholic culture back much stronger than ever before!
    Yours Fraternally
    Sylvester George Fernando
    +265 994654613

  7. Consuelo A. Tokita
    1 year ago

    I agree with your description of our Catholic culture. I am a cradle Catholic and I had been actively participating in various ministries since I was matured enough but I do notice the passive attitude of many people (friends, neighbors, families and relatives) I lived and worked with as regards the work of evangelization. I surely do know what is causing their lukewarm and un committed attitude.

    I think that there should be a major change that should come from the top, I hope the Holy Father and the entire staff under him should look into this. First of, there should be more commitment regarding tithing for all Catholics. If this is accomplished, the Catholic church will not have to do frequent fund raising projects. More children will join the Sunday School because their parents don't have to pay for their class. There will be more Bible educated members of the church because the parishioners feel that their ten percent donation every Sunday will cover the many projects of the church. Many parishioners will get involved in different ministries because they have the attitude of ownership. The homilies will be purely about the Word of God. The celebrant priest will not talk about special collection that always happen many times after a short homily. If the Holy Father will emphasize the responsibility of each and every member of the Holy Catholic Church to give what is their due, then there will be less talk about donations. All members of the church will look forward to listening to the homily at every opportunity and the laity will develop a sense of responsibility/or ownership of their parish church.

  8. rajkumar
    1 year ago

    You can't compete with another branch of the church such as "protestant", baptist, muslim or other religeon that believes in jesus.
    i would suggest recruiting young people via modern music. An example is Hillsong. Heaven is filled with music.

  9. Rob
    1 year ago

    vance, what I find interesting about your posts in general is that all the problems we currently face are always the fault of the opposition. It's always someone you can point at and someone you can blame. I can't say I've ever heard you say once that it's our fault, we played a role....basically all I hear is us versus them.

    So let's see, let's start with perception. The Affordable Health Care Act, or as it's called Obamacare (already twisted not to tell the truth), but you say shoved down our throat? I guess that can be one way to look at it and if you feel you are on the losing side, I get it. I prefer the facts. Seems to me our elected officials proposed a bill, had debates, meetings, and etc, voted and passed a bill. This bill was eventually signed into law. I thought this is what our constitution called for? I don't see any language that just because people scream and yell we forsake our process or laws?

    Now lawsuits are being filed for things we oppose, again shows our process is functioning as we have a right to seek a remedy. I guess if no one ever operstepped, we wouldn't need courts or a Supreme Court for that matter. And there is absolutely nothing that prevents these same, highly paid and perked public officials from amending the law or even repealing it. Last time I checked the Affordable Health Care Act was not written into the natural law. But I guess we live in the time of do nothing politicians, so I get the angst.

    It's unfortunate that we have people in our country that are so disrespectful of our faith, don't want any faith, or actively fight against it. It's awful that we've come to a point in history where immorality is elevated to normal. And you offered some good examples. But I'm sure you could offer many more from both sides of the isle, in fact, it's pretty sad that you can do so. In fact, if we threw in the sin of ommission or our love of money, we might all be condemned.

    But vance, no matter how you try to characterize this, both parties are represented in our government. Both parties have voice and both parties can take action and effect the changes they are absolutely driven to accomplish. We have examples of this from both sides of the isle and both have had power throughout history that there is absolutely no excuse. The only excuse is lack of will. And seriously, if the only reason that we have allowed all this evil for so long is because conservatives are afraid of being villified, well then we've already lost.

    The conservative movement (not sure that is the right term) is dying because it has no credibility. They do not practice what they preach and like the church sadly, are starting to get called on it. This is precisely the same reason the church is struggling. As Archbishop Chaput put it, we basically have folks who say they are christians but actually live as functional athesist. And if you think this only involves so called liberals, then I would ask you to pay closer attention.

    Looking at other people as the enemy is one way to go about this. I prefer to look at all of this as an opportunity. We have a unique opportunity to be strong men of faith who will work hard to save souls. And we will do this by telling the truth in love...mercy and compassion just as Pope Francis is calling us to do. You know, love our neighbor.....

    I would suggest you stop buying lottery tickets. By all things things you assume about me I'm here to tell you that you have no psychic powers.

  10. Jane
    1 year ago

    I totally agree with this article,its high time someone pointed out this issue to the public. I am a Catholic from Africa. When I attended mass for the first time here,I was very disappointed. First of all the preaching was 2 minutes,I almost thought it was a joke when my friend told me that the preaching was over. The singing was dull,it seemed like everything was being done quickly,just to get everybody out of there.

    I also noticed that people were very unfriendly,during the peace-be-with-you time,most people avoided my friend and I and didn't want to offer a sign on peace to us. At that very moment I felt so sad because,here we are in church worshiping with our fellow Christians and people were still prejudiced against us,what kind of Christianity are people practicing?Which God are you really worshiping of you can't even show love to your neighbor,and this didn't happen just one time but several times.

    The Catholic church in America has failed in that you do not practice what you preach. Mass in Africa is lively,people dance and we praise God with all of our hearts and if we had a first time visitor we would treat them very well,invite them for lunch after church etc.

    For a while I quit the Catholic Church and went to worship at a Pentecostal church,the difference is immense. If the church is not careful it will slowly die and it will be too late to revive it. All I am asking is for Catholics to practice what they preach,clergy included.

    PS: to the author of the article,if you got sick at one of our churches,people would come visit you each and everyday and women would take turns to bring you food until you got better. What you just wrote is the saddest thing ever,it just shows you how people have become selfish and self-centered. We need to return to God,charity begins at home.

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