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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

41 - 50 of 85 Comments

  1. jh
    1 year ago

    In this Year of Faith I questioned myself as to how I appeared as a Catholic. Looking at me, would anyone recognize that I was Catholic or want to become Catholic? Not necessarily, unless one saw me facing a crisis or the death of a family member. Consequently, I have made a conscious effort to be friendly, smile more at church, make people feel welcomed. I love God but I had always considered faith to be a private matter. I am reserved by nature so for me to be outgoing is a challenge! I also try to show the joy and happiness of being Catholic. Our pastor works hard to bring people together and appreciate each other. He stresses the importance of Catholic friendships for mutual support, and I do see an improvement in the attitude of us parishioners. Dr. Hudson, your article is valid. And Matthew Kelly is an excellent role model for us.

  2. abey
    1 year ago

    Today many a Catholics treat their religion as a Pagan one. There is this very recent case of a proper Catholic order in a south asian country who run a school, showing Jesus to be sitting cross legged as a local deity to saying "Love & Fresh Air" surrounded by every religious symbol including the cross with children sitting in the front singing songs. This is a case of indulging in absolute Syncretism, confusing young children about their faith, calling it Ecumenism to attract, which Jesus in revelations calls it as the " Doctrine of Nicolaitans" that which He hates, for not one will come into the fold earnestly through Faith. In other words trying to increase the nos other than through the faith, which is but to contribute to the falling away, to the repeating of the fall of Israel, except this case by elements in the Hierarchy.

  3. Greg
    1 year ago

    I have only one suggestion. Use all the Sacraments to be changed. Fall in Love in Christ. Let Him change you, make you a saint, and He *will* change your parish or maybe the Church. Don't want to become a saint? Then you need to go to a club, not the Church. The parish is not a live? How about you? Are you alive? Until you stop trying to change things your way, nothing will change. Let His way be. Proclaim Christ Crucified. Pray, pray, pray. Love *all* the people, for Christ died for them all. By your love, through Christ, there will be a great change. This is God's plan for you as well for me. Pray.

  4. Philip
    1 year ago

    Interesting article. I have been to many protestant churches and I can say they are different because their church is more of a social club than worshiping Jesus Christ. Ask yourself this. Is the Mass for you or for worshipping Jesus Christ? As I read more and more about Christian history I have learned many things on why the Church does things a certain way. They have thousands of years of understanding the human condition in relation to Jesus Christ. I have found if the Church you are in seems out of touch then it is usually the Priest that is not very charismatic. Some people are not blessed with this gift. Maybe the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you something. For the most part I think Catholics are afraid to talk about their faith because there is so much Catholic bigotry in the culture. That on top of being poorly catechized in the Faith. Don't lose heart as the author of the article implies. Get involved in your church. Be the example. I noticed one thing that was an eye opener. The Catholic Church in the North East is way different than the Catholic Church in the South East.

  5. DLL
    1 year ago

    Catholics are required to attend Sunday Mass as it is a mortal sin for them not to. The Catholic Church offers Mass every day of the calendar year. It has a right to demand "All Catholics"to attend Sunday Mass or the Vigil Saturday one. That being said one could reasonably question if all Catholics really liked going to Mass. The answer should be a resounding "YES"! If that is not the case than that is what is wrong with the Church. The Holy Mass is meant to be the center of the Faith as well as the center of the life of every Catholic member of the Holy Catholic Church. Socially however they need to connect with each other more. Successful Protestant Churches do this and that is why some of them lure Catholics away. Community is meant to be a part of the Faith. Socialization creates community. All Christians need to always work at this as that is what Evangelization is all about. If community fails people look for it elsewhere. The Eucharist should bind all Catholics tightly together to act in community as a people of one mind in Christ. The Eucharist spells Christian faith and love,all are meant to receive it and to go from Mass out into the World,to love and serve each other. Those that are not Christian,more specifically Catholic Christians,should recognize us as Catholics by the way we love. In many of the anti Christian comments against Catholics that I read,many do not see love in us as Christians. Hypocrisy is fatal to any legitimate lifestyle especially to (Universal Christians) that call themselves Catholics. Consistently good Catholics act in love in thought,word,action and deed. That is their purpose and their responsibility. When this is not the case anti Christians are very quick to remind us of this as our main fault.

  6. Rob
    1 year ago

    This article is so badly needed. It seems like over the years the church hierarcy only seems concerned with themselves and the messes they have created for themselves. Catholic media by and large seems mostly concerned with pro-life issues and as of late Obama, Obama, Obama. Meanwhile, our churches have become funeral parlors and while we add to our numbers yearly, it's almost completely offset by the numbers we lose.

    I really do think if we took this article to heart and got serious about the business of evangilzation, we'd not only change our faith communities but the culture as well. Because guys what we are currently doing is NOT working. In fact I would argue it's actually working against us. The culture is not looking for someone to tell them how wrong they are and quite honestly it isn't what they need. They need hope and we've become a giant stick in the mud.

    Enough of the books on theology etc. We have enough scholarly material to last many, many lifetimes. It's time to actually do what Christ said to do....go out and make disciples. And for many of us, that starts with each individual, who then works on his/her family and their schools, workplaces etc. Enough with the social commentaries. Time to get to work with what is in front of you.

  7. 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, 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 at the altar 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. 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 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.

  8. vance
    1 year ago

    Deal, your article hits all points spot on except for one, "Leadership". The Protestants are committed and enthusiastic because their Pastors are committed and enthusiastic. The Evangelical Protestant Ministers who attract an enthusiastic following are those who are not afraid to address the evils of our society. They call abortion, divorce, homosexuality, substance abuse 'evil'. Imagine that! They even include Satan in the sermons. The enthusiasm or the lack there of is a reflection of the church leadership. People want truth and spiritual leadership. Bottom line, they are not receiving either one. The empty pews are a testimony to that fact.

  9. James Oliver
    1 year ago

    I would suggest "Christ Renews His Parish" also known as CRHP. It made a huge difference at St. Mary in Marshall, MI in all the ways you describe above as desirable and is highly recommended by the same Matthew Kelly you mentioned in his book on being a dynamic Catholic.

  10. Terri K
    1 year ago

    We've been in our parish about five years and still don't know the names of most of the people we see week after week. We homeschool our kids, so they don't go to CCD and the parish has very little in the way of programs outside CCD, the monthly meetings of the Men's Club and monthly Altar Society Meetings, which take place mid-day during the week. That said, our pastor is in the confessional before every Sunday mass and he is, in my opinion, a worthy representative of the tribunal of God's justice when he's behind the screen. He is justice and mercy. He's a marvelous homilist who always makes the readings relevant for those of us struggling to live counter-culturally in a society that is hostile to devout Catholicism. Our parish has mass, adoration and benediction with confession one night a week, every week. Masses include incense and our novus ordo liturgy is very faithful to what is supposed to be offered in every mass. Our pastor is even integrating more Latin into the liturgy, as was indicated by Vatican II. So, I do wish that we had more social events and programs, but I've learned by being a parishioner under The Angelic Pastor (my name for our priest) that the basics are much, much, MUCH more important than any of that stuff. The basics are missing in most parishes. Too many parishes are more oriented toward maintaining ministries ancillary to the sacraments, and that quickly translates into maintaining the egoes of the lay people who lead the ministries. The heart of the faith gets trampled on and lost and the parish becomes more of a social program center than the well-spring of grace it is intended to be. We need strong bishops and priests who convey to us the orthodoxy of the saving ministry of Jesus and the faithful need to be actively supporting them. All the rest...ALL the rest, is incidental.

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