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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

31 - 40 of 85 Comments

  1. Dave
    1 year ago

    If your having issues with the liturgy, you should try the Extraordinary Form. With a good choir it's extraordinary.

    The degree of community is varies at each parish. Mine has coffee and fellowship after every mass and we occasionally proudly parade around the streets praying the rosary, singing songs, reading scripture.

  2. John
    1 year ago

    I wish to offer my two cents worth...for what it is worth. Spiritually starved is an accurate term I suppose for those who are part of many Parishes and wanting to be challenged intellectually. Our Faith is deep and it is beyond me why we skim the surface. My own parish, some would say, is vibrant. Lot of activities but few that "tackle" what it means to be Catholic and how the Sacraments are good things for us to attain heaven. I have over the years (same Pastor and many different Associates) asked why we avoid certain topics. I never get answers; not just answers that I want to hear, I never get answers. Instead I receive a proverbial pat on the head. The list of topics we avoid at my Parish is long and includes Abortion (never hear the word for our pulpit nor a fervent plea for prayers for the sanctity of life). Vocations are never mentioned nor do we have any effort short of a small poster in the vestibule that is aimed at encouraging vocations. With infants my wife or I at times would move from the front pews to the rear of the Church when we were becoming a distraction only to watch the exodus of many of my fellow parishioners immediately after Communion (look into the eyes of those leaving early and ask yourself if they look happy). Recently we were around the Church so long after Mass that those attending the next Mass were arriving....and arriving though it was 20 minutes past start time. As my dear Wife reminds me, I don't know if those arriving late had a small emergency but our numbers who arrive late and leave early only confirms that we REALLY don't know what goes on at Mass and we need reminded or taught. If there anything amiss, I submit that our lack of knowledge of the Mass it is. We attend Mass as though it were at picnic in summer or we resemble a football crowd in the winter with our favorite teams on our coats. Do we know where we are and what takes place there? Do we need reminders? What we do pretty well at our parish is the annual festival but I cannot help but draw a parallel to flying in an airplane when you drop the tray table only to find it a sticky mess and wonder...if they can't maintain the tray table with a simple wipe how can they maintain the engine that takes us and keeps us at 30,000 feet? It was suggested that we need to make special mention of the upcoming year of the Priest which simultaneously could allow us to begin to build a base for vocations. No response. It was suggested that we place a statue of the Infant of Prague on our altar. Response? We would then open ourselves up to many other requests for statues and the like on the altar. It was suggested that the reason that a mere twenty-two percent of our parishioners attend Mass regularly is because, in actuality, we are not Catholic enough; we continue to make the practice of our Faith easier and focused on ourselves and feeling good (the constant refrain of our sermons is that God loves us!). I often say that what we hear in the sermons is the what and not the how. We avoid the practice of our Faith (the sacraments); how our lives should revolve around the God of the Universe. To those reading this who may think or suggest that I go elsewhere I would respectfully submit that I am where God wants me (my Family) but know that I will never give up trying to evangelize in my own way at the risk of ruffling some feathers. Small price to pay. What I believe we need in various forms (read Sacraments) is our Faith. I don't believe that having a greeter at the Church door wishing me a good morning lends anything to our Faith. I am there to worship God. I choose to remain affixed on the Altar when we are asked at the start of Mass to turn toward the center aisle recognizing each other as the Body of Christ. And I will continue to pray for our Priests and our Bishops

  3. Amy
    1 year ago

    Our Catholic Culture crisis is simple. Since Humane Vitae we have had a skism that has been rather stealthy. If you ever find a Catholic group who knows and lives the truth in the area of marriage, family life, and sexuality you will see the zeal and life that is a truly Catholic culture. If the people do not "live" the Catholic teachings the Catholic Church is sterilized. That is the difference. Those who welcome new life will change the culture one child at a time!

  4. Joe
    1 year ago

    If you wish to do more, as an ordinary Catholic, join the Legion of Mary, the largest lay Catholic organization in the world. As a member, you will be expected to do two hours of Evangelization a week - for example, doing Door to Door work, or working at your own Catholic information stand. Thus, legionaries have been doing the "Year of Evangelization" for many decades, very quietly. In the average large American city, there are probably more legionaries on the street working on a weekend, than Jehovah Witnesses. Legionary work is done without any publicity by the Church - we believe that this work, done so quietly, shows how the Legion is favored by the Blessed Virgin, and that we are protected, even when we work in lawless areas beset with drugs, prostitution, and criminality. The Legion does have a major problem - priests recognize that legionaries make excellent workers, and so they are being siphoned off for parish work like Visitation of the Sick, CCD, Ministers and Lectors, and sacristans. So, once again evangelization suffers. We need new members to join the Legion, so our primary work of evangelization can continue. How about you, dear reader? Instead of complaining about the inactivity of Catholics, so something about it - Join the Legion of Mary, and evangelize!!

  5. Stephen Volk
    1 year ago

    FOR FURTHER COMMENTS ON CATHOLIC CULTURE See what Our Blessed Mother says as "Our Lady of Culture" now at

  6. David B
    1 year ago

    There are some parishes out there that are truly communities. Where people don't just go to mass and run.

    When I moved to northwest NJ in 2004, I found my first such parish. I very rarely attended church for 20 years prior. The true Catholic Community of St. John Neumann in Califon, NJ was life changing.

    I then had to relocate to Virginia, the local parish was very cliquish and mass was turning back into a "ticket punch." I was unhappy and felt like I was spiritually in the dessert. Then my wife found St. Mary of the Annunciation in Ladysmith, VA. This was the community I had been missing ever since I moved to Virginia! It's a little bit of a drive for us to get there, but well worth it.

    If anyone out there feels like church is just a "ticket punch" and wants more - look around - there ARE Catholic communities out there that will greet you warmly.

  7. peg Huson
    1 year ago

    I liked your article. Liturgy so depressed me that at my last retreat the priest said"stop going". I am so spiritually starved by our parish that not going to mass has benefited me. My husband and I read the liturgy and pray together. I attend retreats. So much more positive then the lifeless liturgy of the church. My sister , in Omaha, a catholic city, tells me I am starving for spiritual nourishment. the retreat priests say it is a common complaint.
    The liturgy is exclusive, guilt ridden and not the message of Jesus . I am a born,bred,educated,married catholic ,but , now I am becoming a Christian. All are one in Christ . All are sons of God. Holiness abounds in us all. Holding it down with a depressed,rote liturgy is a sin against the people of God. I hope we can change the ego centered,testosterone heavy hierarchy of the church. Dogma needs to be put on hold and the words of Jesus honored above all. Hope you can help bring about conversion of the bishops. The church is full of itself.

  8. William Fredericks
    1 year ago

    Suggestion: Start Adult Bible Study on Sundays right after the most frequented Mass.
    Serve coffee, and socialize for a little while before class. Actually use the Bible as the class text, and have either priests or deacons lead the class. Encourage discussions and personal testimony.
    This will foster more community and fellowship and serve as the basis for more parish initiatives.

  9. Bill Sr.
    1 year ago

    The hunger for God is in the soul of every human being. This is why Christ commanded his disciples to "feed my sheep". We live not by bread alone but by the very Word of God. That word became flesh and dwelt among a people God had chosen to spread it to the world. We can build and form and paint and erect monuments to the truth but unless there is the Voice of Truth coming forth from any of it of what use is it?
    Feeding the sheep and maintaining the life of the Body of Christ is accomplished by expounding the Words of Life found in the Gospels. The silence of the shepherds and/or their frail attempts to bring these life giving messages is in large part the cause of the malaise of the faithful and the withering of evangelical Christianity.
    I have witnessed time and again the difference a priest with the ability to bring the word of God to life for his flock can make in parish renewal.
    Please God, give us more priests and bishops willing and able to give us the taste of the good fruits of our Faith we hunger for.

  10. Joseph
    1 year ago

    You make a good point about catholic parishes being, too often, supine if not comatose in comparison with evangelical parishes. I too have been involved with both and as a catholic I cannot disagree with you. One point that needs mentioning however - in catholic churches you are at least allowed to think, meditate, reflect, ponder. There is a well known syndrome, on the other hand, in evangelical churches - the 'happy smiling people' syndrome. Evangelicals appear to feel 'obliged' to be ever cheery, bright and bubbly, active-active-active. There appears to be little time for actual thought and reflection, humble recognition that we are all, fundamentally, imperfect men and women, sinners, and its 'OK' to feel, at least sometimes, down, depressed, insecure, thoughtful. In evangelical churches I've noted that unless you are going around with a big smile on your face, heartily back-slapping everyone and being back-slapped in turn, you seem to run the danger of being considered as not 'one of the saved', someone who has not been blessed with God's grace - otherwise you would be one of the 'happy smiling people'. In catholic churches on the other hand, you sometimes get the impression that you could drop dead in the pew and no one would blink an eye - and God forbid anyone should actually introduce themselves and ask you your name!! Worse still, if you try to change things, try to introduce some flexibility, encourage activities, choir singing, youth schemes etc. – as I have - all too often it is the parish priest and his 'staff' who appear to recoil from any such involvement. It's as though a clique structure has formed around priests in many parishes, one that never used to exist but now works to silently discourage any innovation or involvement with the local communities. And the result? A church may be positioned in the very centre of an urban area but apart from the relatively few people that attend mass once a week, no one in the area even knows it exists. Very sad.

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