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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

61 - 70 of 85 Comments

  1. Jen
    1 year ago

    I speak as a mother of two teen boys. What I have come to realize is that the teen population tends to be 'forgotton' in the Catholic Church. Just when they need it most, they are left hanging. You will find Catholic schools K-8, then rarely, a high school due to tuition costs. In our area there are 3 K-8 schools within 20 miles of each other, but no high school. It was no different where we lived previously. We are losing them and it starts with this problem. We fund an incredible amount of services in our own communities and worldwide, but have not valued or prioritized the very population that will determine the future of the church.

    The youth group programs, if there is one, have such low attendance that it is undesireable to attend. Why can't religion meet kids where they are at? They love music; turn up the volume and hold concerts with Christian bands. They want worship that moves them, and they love to help others. Provide them with these opportunities! What if they could just attend a local mission project without paying $100 to go? Imagine the return you will see in the future if this how teen Catholic outreach programs were run. The Diocese can absolutely prioritize the youth, offering an amazing Catholic upbringing, and create amazing adults that will be excited about their faith! Other reigions have figured this out.

    Catholics tend to have a staple answer, "Each person walks their own faith journey." Okay, true, but lets talk about it, not hold it like a secret. How are we as Catholics able to share what is so great about our beliefs when we are internalizing that we are to be silent.

    There is so much for Catholics to share that we need to find a place and time to celebrate it.

  2. ManassasGrandma
    1 year ago

    Catholics need to adopt the "third space concept," they don't look out for one another, just everybody else instead. Parish life will improve though, when we lose our tax exempt staus and have to meet in fields. That will seperate the sheep from the goats!

  3. Gloria
    1 year ago

    I have recently returned to the Church after many years of being a "lapsed Catholic." My return was greatly facilitated by three things. (1) I saw the Catholics Come Home ads on TV. This outreach surprised me and caused me to go to the website and begin considering a return to the Church. (2) An acquaintance informed me of a "Discovering Christ" series of meetings at my local parish church and told me that she had found a similar series very helpful. (3) I went to the series and found the videos shown and small-group meetings informative and welcoming. The people (about 80 attending each week) were genuine, helpful, kind, and friendly. A retreat on a Saturday which had pray-overs and a focus on Pentecost as a kind of renewal of baptism caused me to go to confession for the first time in many years and return to receiving Holy Communion each week. During the Sunday mass, laypersons do the readings, families are welcomed and nobody complains about all the children present, people smile and greet one another. Because I met numerous people at the Discovering Christ series, I now also know people by name and we can greet one another. The community spirit, clearly promoted by the two parish priests, makes the Church a place that is welcoming. There are Prayer, Bible, Couples, and other groups that meet every week and attendance is open to anyone who is interested. It is casual and non-threatening, in the sense that the focus is always on renewal of self, one's personal relationship to Christ and the Church, and keeping one's faith alive through interaction with a community of believers.

  4. mike
    1 year ago

    Hi, hang around more with the Mother Teresa nuns. "True religion is this: care of the widow in distress, and the orphan...etc." Capitalism hurt the faith of immigrant Catholics: thrust into a dog-eat-dog world they dropped the cultural constraints that previously identified them as Catholic. Only a shell was left. Racism added to that, really locked in the inculturation with Protestant America. The ax had been laid to the root. And it died.

  5. Bernardo Garza
    1 year ago

    Mr. Hudson,

    Thank you very much for writing this article and putting into words what many of us Catholics see or at least intuit.

    Have you ever had the opportunity to look at the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in the Church through the Neocatechumenal Way? If you haven't, I would strongly encourage you to do so. I am disappointed at how little meaningful and well written information, news and articles about the Neocatechumenal Way (or "Way" as it is also know in many places) are written and published in Catholic websites, blogs and forums. There is plenty of misguided and simply erroneous information about the Way on the internet. But seeing the enormous support that the Way has received from all the Popes since Paul VI it is easy to see that, as controversial as the Way is to some people, it is clearly a revitalizing and evangelizing dynamo for the Church. Just one aspect (out of many) of it might shed some light on how the Holy Spirit is helping the Church through the Way. While many dioceses and religious orders around the world are not only loosing parishioners and having to close churches and even seminaries due to the lack of vocations, the vocations to the religious life (for both men and women) coming out of the Way have served to open at least 95 new seminaries (some of which in places where there had never before been a Catholic seminary, such as in Helsinki and in Karachi!) and keep open dozens of convents around the world.

    As a strong, devoted, and faithful Catholic writer I would, once again, strongly encourage you to look into the Neocatechumenal Way to discover one of the answers and solutions that the Holy Spirit is giving the Church for the plight that you describe in your article.

    God bless and may Christ's peace be with you

  6. Larry
    1 year ago

    Good discussion. I think the evangelization hasn't happened for several reasons.

    1) The difference between Vatican I and Vatican II was almost night and day. Vatican II was just supposed to be a continuation of Vatican I which was interrupted by war. Vatican I condemned Modernism, dealt with rationalism and liberalism and continued the space between Catholicism and other Christian faiths and other religions. Vatican I produced no salvation outside the church; papal infallibility, continued the Latin Mass, Immaculate Conception of Mary, centralism of the Church,

    2) Vatican II was an opening of the Church to the world. Ecumrnism embraced other Christian denoninations and faiths so there was less emphasis on difference; Liberals had a greater influence on how the Church carried out the new ideas of the Church and theologians explored many aspects of life and life of the church in the world (Kung, Teilhard de Chardin, etc.; The Mass continued to be the focus of the Church with the Eucharistic Celebration in many languages and in many types of celebrations; Though the central power of the Vatican remains, there is more collegiality and bishops have more of their own power in their sector of the world;

    If you are trying to see the sameness with other faiths then there is no reason to convert others to your side since we're all in this together and the attitude of 'your faith is as good as mine' though not coming from the Church top leaders can be embraced by many laity and local leaders.

    There is no emphasis on 'sin' since we've evolved beyond the fire and brimstone view of the world and life (moral sin, venial sin, etc.) and we're just trying to be 'good' like everyone else - atheists, other Christians, other faiths, secularists, humanists, new agers, etc. A new phrase asked today is 'that doesn't make me a bad person, does it" when people want feedback about something they did. Since there is little thought of sin, there is little reason for 'Confession, Repentance" and maybe the other Christians were right - you can take care of it yourself talking to Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit. Just be and feel sorry and go on.

    Sin, evil, are just mistakes and abnormal behaviors and science in some fashion can better take care of them than the mumbo jumbo of religions - science has proved that what were considered 'the presence of evil or the devil' were just biological or psychological abnormalities that can be cured or managed with therapy and drugs in many cases. There are no bad people, just misunderstood ones, misdirected ones, have different cultural values and we need to understand them since its not their fault since they grew up wrong, were badly influenced by friends or society - charity and kindness are primary, not judgment. Focus on charitable and spiritual works of mercy not categorizing and boxing people unfairly - until you walk a mile in their shoes (which we can't really) you can't say much, etc.

    Not all people want or need to be saved since there is no hell so we focus on improving how good a person we can be with systems - from other faiths, weight loss, success systems, be the best person you can be, more exercise and healthy eating, Many Catholics don't see the reason to use all the sacramentals or practices that the church has - for what? We are not 'bad people' we are trying to do our best, we are the same as others in the world, we are no better than them and look at all the rotten things we've done so we can't be that good as a Church - the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, sex scandals, siding with the rich and powerful in parts of the world, etc.

    Its better to protest for environmental and green issues, stopping human slave trade, anti the rich, global warming, gay issues (all human issues of the world) - than it is to bother with abortion (its a woman's choice - emphasis on women's rights and power) contraception (everyone's doing it anyway and church local leaders say nothing) - mainly Catholic Church issues which many other faiths or cultures do not believe in which works against inclusion.

    If you don't have a unified message (which can be easier to do in smaller churches) then you can go all over the place and can say such things as you're a good Catholic since you go to Church celebrating the Eucharist, are involved in some church groups, pray, are a good person, etc. and want to preserve women's rights (abortion). We're all in this together so what's the beef about?

  7. Marybeth
    1 year ago

    Deal,

    With regard to Catholics being more evangelical... I think you have totally missed the point.

    The beauty of the Catholic Faith is that God loved His creation so much that He became a man and died for our sins. That is serious LOVE. Spreading that message is of a serious nature - and really has nothing to do with whether or not you have friends outside your attendance of Mass.

    When Christ sent His Apostles into the towns to "proclaim the Truth" he didn't say hang around for a picnic afterward. He said Go and PROCLAIM.

    Matthew 7:26
    And every one that hear these my words, and do them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand.

    Mark 6:11
    And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you; going forth from thence, shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony to them.

    Luke 9:5
    And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them.

    Matthew 10:14
    And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet.

    In other words, to evangelize is to PROCLAIM.... period! Whether or not the message is received or not is up to the individual person. We Catholics need to be less concerned with making friends and more concerned with speaking His truth.

    Many Protestants both current and former such as yourself and your wife do not understand this very simple but hard fact. God's LOVE is NOT something to be toyed with or to convince someone of it's power. It simply IS period!

    When we fool ourselves into thinking we are supposed to make friends of many in this PROCLAMATION... we are not helping anyone understand the seriousness of His message.

    The message is CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Repent of your sins and sin no more. God loves us very much, yes-- without doubt... but WE must make a choice. We must choose God.

    Many, just as in the days of John the Baptist sadly do not want to hear the truth - for whatever reason. Thus the message gets watered down and becomes a message of "it's okay to continue to sin... God still loves you" which is 100% wrong. It's not okay.

    While God's love is never ending... it is nonetheless perfect. We must admit that we need to undergo the process of conversion in order to start the process of entrance into God's Kingdom... for if we continue to be deaf, rejecting His message, regret will soon we ours to keep forever. THAT message should not and cannot be watered down.

    Making friends outside of your parish is fine. But it cannot be mixed up into the proclamation of the Kingdom. That is a hard message to hear in our current human existence and something that only we as individuals can answer. Groups together as friends cannot answer for each other therefore, the call of God is on an individual platform. You are either in (accept it) our out (reject it). There really is no easy way to say it other than that.

  8. Rey Castano
    1 year ago

    I agree and love the transparency of the message. I know there is always room for improvement and try to personally strive for more. In our own local parishes, I wish I could share the message of being more than lukewarm when it comes to our vocal responses to the proclamation of our faith. Something like, "Can I get a huge Amen!" I have noticed about a 40% active involvement, not to mention checking cell phones and small idle chit chatting...
    And that is because I keep my eyes closed during prayer. Trying to focus on the Holy Spirit and His presence during the Holy Mass.
    I would just like to ask the true spiritual warriors of this Universal Dynamic Faith, called Catholic Christianity to get the message out? Speak out and shout to the heavens, yes Father we are gratelful for all the abundant wonderful blessings you give us!!!
    I am a rather a new convert, dating back to 2003. But the road back has been awesome. My new motto, don't threaten me with more life! God bless the world.

  9. Dan Brogdon
    1 year ago

    Well since Catholics represent a large voting population in this country, who do you think put Obama in office? Isn't it estimated that 40-50% -- nearly 1/2 of parishioners voted for Obama and hence - voted against the Catholic church and its teachings?
    The catholic church has been infiltrated and is being eaten up from within.
    Wanna get the church back? then boot those who voted against the church - clean house!
    How do you expect to get any kind of cooperation, rally, evangelicalism, zeal etc. from a group that is against you? Call it like it is and don't expect enthusiasm from those against you - they will be polite, quite and courteous and in the end, walk away - they are not here to support your/our way of thinking - they perpetuated and promoted their way of thinking. There are plenty of churches out there for those who disagree with the catholic church.

  10. Alex Davis
    1 year ago

    Mr Hudson - I completely, but respectfully, disagree with your commentary on our beautiful faith. I am almost offended which actually makes me think that you do not really believe this way, you are just hoping to get some folks charged up!  I recently have had, and am still going through, my own major personal crisis. While I have not had any public acknowledgement/announcement of our family's circumstances, I have received a tremendous outpouring of support and prayers from our home parish. I have realized through this that the vibrancy of your parish is what you make of it. The wonderful community has always been there for us to find comfort and joy in, but we did not take it upon ourselves to seek it out until we found ourselves in this situation and NEEDED the support. Now we realize how wonderful our parish is.  It is not newly wonderful though, it has always been vibrant, caring and filled with people who truly are 'on fire' for the Lord (as you might say our Protestant friends are), we just missed it....

    As for stale liturgies, etc, I believe your faith is what you make of it. Make the decision to find beauty in the celebration of our faith and you will! You will see the brightness in Mass and fellow parishioners rather than the dullness.

    Thank you for getting me charged up enough to be so thankful for my faith that I had to post a comment, something I have never done!  And God bless you!


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