Am I narrow-minded?


a poverty awareness trip which I participated in during Lent was to be as ecumenical as possible, but part of the experience was to be a Catholic MASS as understood from the beginning of the trip preparations.

When we were asked why we were going on the trip, I answered that I was “testing” a calling, or my ability/resolve to that calling, to work in overseas missions and possibly as a religious.

then one of the trip leaders said, near the end of the trip, that we might go to an Anglican service instead of MASS, if the timing was more convenient. I told her that I was not comfortable with that - and that attending an Anglican service would in no way meet our Sunday obligation (she had identified herself as a practicing Catholic back in September).

she said that just because the Church said it was a sin to miss MASS didn’t mean that it really was. she proceeded to discuss how once she had been told by a deacon that attending a protestant service would not meet her obligation and that she was not permitted to participate in their communion. She told me that God shouldn’t care where she went to pray, and that she would receive communion in whatever church she happened to be in at the time.

she thought that I was being silly to insist that, as a Catechumen, I would NOT receive communion anywhere until after my baptism, and that even so that I still needed to attend a Catholic MASS - and would not consider attending an Anglican church INSTEAD.

I tried to explain to her how I have come, over the past year, to trust that even if I don’t always understand Church teaching, I WANT to be bound by it because I trust the Church’s conscience more than my own.

then she asked me, wasn’t the beach the best place to pray - wasn’t God more present outside than inside a church? I told her that God is present in a special way in the Eucharist - and honestly told her my favourite spot to pray was in a Perpetual Adoration chapel, where God has spoken to me before.

finally, when we were discussing music, I was asked in turn what type of music I listened to. I, again just being honest, answered that though I often enjoy secular music, I find myself listening more and more to Christian music when left the option. It is also the only type of music I can play with any confidence.

one person told me that I had made her think about her faith a lot, and that she was thankful for my example and was rejoicing with me over my upcoming Initiation into the Church. I appreciated that, though it hadn’t been my intention to effect anyone else’s faith but my own.

But then one of the trip leaders told me that he thought I was narrow minded, especially when (again, upon being asked) I said that I would first ENSURE that MASS would be available before going into any type of mission work. He said there’s other things in life than religion, and that too much “God” will put people off of me.

I told him that my long-saught for faith is center of my life (where else would it be?) - and that everything else would naturally flow from that center. he then said he thought I was narrow minded, changed the subject, and declined to ask me any more questions about myself or my opinions.

honestly, was I being narrow minded? If God is all I think about - if I get to work and I pray before I start and at every break, if I (now that I’m Catholic) look forward to, all day long and every day, to the moment when I can receive Jesus in the Eucharist, if I write primarily praise-God, religious music and poetry, or essays about the benefits of chastity and faith, or if I would rather make my hour of Adoration than go see a movie with my friends (unless it’s the PASSION with my godparents) - or if I insist on attending MASS - if I listen to mostly Christian music - if I love my faith so much that it has not only touched, but changed - deeply changed - everything about me and my life - if it affects my political opinions, my interactions with my family and friends, my thoughts and my words - I mean, these things all together - am I narrow minded?

should I have felt hurt by his words, or by the attacks I recieved for being simply honest, or for insisting on going to MASS? was I wrong to persist in asking that we attend MASS, or in answering as I did?

have I gone overboard? is there a time and a place? should I get a grip on myself and come back to “reality”?

I’m feeling a little confused, and I know this negatively affected my trip experience… but should it have?

in love and faith,


What organization was hosting this “poverty awareness trip”?


I don’t think you’re narrow-minded. I shudder to think what a “poverty awareness trip” is, but the trip leaders sound as if they are narrow-minded to anybody who does not share their process of thought.


I think you and I would get along GREAT!

I’ve worried about that too. EWTN is the only channel programmed on my car radio, I always work my weekends around the fact that I have to get to Mass, I tell my friends “No, I’m not going to do that, it’s not worth having to go to confession!” and the only thing I do online (other than email and myspace) is to research Church history and Theology (all of which is not exactly normal for a 19 year old). I’m lucky, my friends and family just expect it by now.

I don’t think you’re close minded. I think you love Christ’s church, and the Eucharist. There are many people who are the same way but with something else; my dad and brother-in-law LOVE poker, they play together all the time. My other brother-in-law is obsessed with computers. We all have a ‘hobby’ that we’re nuts about. Ours happens to be our church (and we probably take it more seriously than your average hobby, because ours actually affects our future!)


No! You are not narrow-minded! You are aware at last (like I finally became) of the seriousness, and graces that are involved in following the Word of God! We are supposed to have the breaking of the Bread at every one of our meetings! I believe in Romans it says that we put ourselves in danger of an eternal fire if we miss the assembly of believers. This is serious stuff! Stand firm! This is your soul that is being dealt with in such a way. I praise God for you and your example. Great saints of the Church have died defending their Faith. Can we deny it any less? It was wrong for the people putting together what you went on to promise you Mass, and then change their minds.
When this Catholic said that being at the beach was being with God, that is correct, but Christ also said that if you deny Him and His Word, He will deny you in front of His Father. We are to keep holy the Sabbath. Christ Himself went to the Synogogue, as an example to us to attend our Masses with as much regularity and conviction. Christ said that we must eat of His Body, and drink of His Blood. In St. Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says “Not every one that saith to Me Lord, Lord, shall enter in to the kingdom of Heaven: but he that doth the will of My Father Who is in Heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in Thy name, and cast out devils in Thy name, and done many miracles in Thy name? And then will I profess unto them. I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.” If God didn’t want us to go to Mass, and receive His Precious Body and Blood, but just to believe, and run through a field of flowers while doing it, then, there would be no need for a Bible, or a Church. But, God is the great Psychologist, and He knows what we need to get us to Heaven; discipline, order, the Church and the Body of Christ to help get us there, to name a few things. And, Jesus never said, just believe and you’ll go straight to Heaven. He said eat of His Body, drink of His Blood; you must be baptized by water and the Holy Spirit to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, He instituted Confession in John 20:21-23, etc. He established His Church on St. Peter in Matthew 16:18. You did just fine. You never know who you will touch when you stand up for the truth, and you never know how long it will take for your words to have the effect that God needs them to have. Someone was saying that our interactions with everyone end up being little links in the chain that God uses to convert them to Him. So, speak the truth in love as the Bible tells us, be wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. When my sister was taking a college course, her teacher would use God’s name in vain. The first time he did that, she made the sign of the Cross (something I do as well in reparation for what they are doing to their souls - even the Cure d’Ars says that where God’s name is taken in vain in a house, it should be burnt down because it is such a serious offense). She said that he looked at her with total shock. He said it again, she made the sign of the cross again. He said it again, and she crossed herself. She tried to get out of his class, but they wouldn’t let her. After a couple of weeks though, she said that he quit saying God’s name in vain. Perhaps that was a great act of charity to get him at last thinking about what he was doing. I was kept in the Church by a woman who wore the mantilla, remained kneeling for the Our Father, and received Communion while kneeling down. I began to question why she would do such things, what was in that Host that would make her act so. It took me a long while, but I finally asked her why she did these things, and all of her apologetics answers reeled me back into the arms of Mother Church. So, offer up your discomfort for their salvation, and keep being a living example that the Catholic Church is the true Church, that Mass is the preferred form of worship over walking on the beach or running through a field, since you never know what link your example is filling in the chain that God is using to bring them back to Him.:slight_smile:
May God bless you so much in your discernment! We need more people like you :slight_smile:


Saoirse, yes, I think you are being narrow minded, and I think that’s a good thing!

What’s the popular saying? “Some people are so open minded that their brains fall out”.

Don’t let people convince you that knowing what you believe is a bad thing. So many people have no convictions at all, and they think that being open minded in a “good” thing. They might believe something about God, but it’s not too strong, so they continue looking. Well, when you find what/who you are looking for you stop looking because there is no more need to look. In a way you do become narrow minded, in that you are not open to other ideas because you have found the Truth.


As a former missionary, I can tell you that the “attitude” you were given by the leader isn’t a one time deal nor exclusive to the organization you were a part of. I have found that the “not going to Mass is not a sin” (and many other falacues) is a more common attitude in many volunteer/missionary organizations than what they may lead you to believe. A quick example from the organization I worked through. The beginning of our year a woman dressed in a white robe (I don’t know what they’re called, but it looked like the same thing a priest wears) blessed our Bibles. After that I had many “words” with the director (and this woman) about how wrong they were and had I been warned beforehand that I would have not attended.



Keep your Faith. Jesus warned us that thing like this would happen to his follows. You have been tested and blessed. It seems to me anyway.



Not in this, at least. You could probably have received a dispensation, but what’s done is done – and last I checked there isn’t a ‘close enough’ for religious obligation.

Also, what on earth is a ‘poverty awareness trip’ anyway? The name makes it sound like a trip to the zoo.


I googled “poverty awareness trip” and got these web sites:
Hope this is helpful. I didn’t know what one was, either.


The question is not if you are narrow-minded, the question is how proper the broad-mindedness of those other people is. The person who told you about services and presence of God was not right. The person who said your example was good was.

You’re on the right path for all I can tell. Hope you never stray from it. Good luck on your journey and think not of those who think they’re Catholic while they aren’t really - intellectually at least.


You are NOT being narrow minded, you are being Godly minded! ^^ And seeing as God is bigger than anything we could possibly imagine, you’ve got a pretty big mind. :wink:

Don’t worry about it. You’re on the right track in your life. They’re just jealous. :thumbsup:


Poverty comes in all forms no? :wink: Seems like you have been made aware of the poverty of instruction, obedience (if Catholic) and tolerance (towards you and your Catholic beliefs) of your trip leaders.

You are not narrow-minded. You are a good Catholic! You must have pricked some consciences on that trip to have someone tell you to your face that you are narrow-minded! :thumbsup: Good job!!!

Pray for their hearts to be softened and the scales to fall from their eyes that they may have the fullness of faith. And remember what Jesus said:

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven.” MT 5:11-12


It’s a sad day when following your faith and your conscience is called ‘narrow minded.’ It’s an even sadder day when that intended-to-be-derogatory term is coming from those who, by virtue of the faith they claim to profess, ought to be doing exactly what you’re doing.


I don’t know that I’d call you narrow minded. After all, you were told that you’d be going to a Catholic Mass. They shouldn’t have told you that if they were going to change things.

On the flip side, is there room for you to be flexable? Could you participate up to the Church service, then leave for a Catholic service? Could you, in the name of ecumunisim, go to their service, then attend your own church later that day, or go to your church before hand?

Following your personal set of morals and beliefs is not narrow minded, but pushing your beliefs on others might be. Try to find a way to be flexable, without compromising your beliefs and that will go a long way toward showing Catholic love.



I’ll tell you one thing, some time when someone offers you criticism sometimes you have to step back in think critically, are they right? are they wrong? Often times if they are wrong, you need to understand everyone has their own bias. Sometimes they might be guilty of the exact thing they are criticising you about, they are so vigilant about it, because they are so close on the edge.

Whenever you attempt to be ecumenical the details are important. You need to understand what is important and what is not. I guess since you are Catechumen you know some of the details well, but on the otherhand still understandably insecure about it. If you understand the essentials you can have a comming together on the nonessentials. I think they could have a wrong idea and want to blur the essentials but hold to their nonessentials to have their comming together. To a point it’s easier that way, but it corrupts the whole process.

I’d be with the person that shared with you, that you opened their eyes a bit to their faith. Which especially as a Catechumen, to me is impressive. Though just because I find fault with some of the others, you can still take lessons from them, keeping in mind there needs to be a discerning process of what’s good and what’s not so good.


This post is right on! It is our charity that causes us to pray for others that are in error, since God in His inifinite mercy drew us out of our error, and back into His loving arms and into the Catholic Faith.

God gave me an example years ago. If you have a child, and you want to take them to the zoo for a fun afternoon, and so you tell them to get their coat and shoes, what do they do?

Do they lay on the floor, kicking and screaming that they don’t want to obey you, do what you tell them too? If they do that, how much fun will it really be for you to fight with them, and then fight with them all of the way to the zoo, just to bring them to something that you know they will enjoy? No! You after awhile leave them to their own devices. God’s gift of free will.

Yet consider the opposite scenario. Our child happily finds their coat and shoes, brings them to you for help getting ready, and eagerly stretches out their hand for you to lead them safely to the car for the trip to the zoo. Now we can really have fun taking them to the zoo, and perhaps even for icecream after visiting the zoo because it was so much fun being with them.

Now, how do we respond to God and His commands for us? Do we fight and kick when God is trying to lead us to blessings - even if they don’t look like blessings at the time? Or, do we immediately be obedient and submit in all things? How much easier it is for God to bless us when we easily submit, and how much easier for God to lead us to the better things that He has planned for us. We don’t often know what is around the corner, but when we willingly submit to His way, His rules - eat of His Body, drink of His Blood, following His Church, etc. how much more He can bless us, and just think how much more our whole nation is blest when we all are being obedient and God is able to bless and lead us as He knows is best for us.

Charity is never easy, and sometimes charity calls us to not be pulled into things that are sinful. If God meant to have women ordained, then He would have ordained His Blessed Mother, who was/is without sin. So, when you see a woman in disobedience, I walk, because I don’t want to add to what she will be held accountable for on Doom’s/Judgement Day. Even St. Thomas Aquinas said that behind every heresy is a demon. So, speak the truth in love, but also act in charity and avoid the near occasions of sin, plus anything that would bring scandal to the righteous. Perhaps by attending this service, you would give other Catholics the idea that a woman acting as a priest was okay? You need to weigh out the pros and cons. Even the Bible says that the apostles were not to eat food sacrificed to idols if it would cause scandal. So, will your actions, as someone that others around you know is discerning a vocation, cause some of them to stumble in their Catholic Faith, especially since so many of us have been poorly educated in the truths and understandings of the Catholic Religion, which is the one true Faith? Perhaps if we are placed in the situation again, we could tell the other Catholics that we in good conscious cannnot attend this service, that you will be holding a Catholic Bible Study, and teach Sacred Scriptures - ones that you know will give the other Catholics a strong defense and understanding of their Faith - John 6, John 20:21-23, St. Matthew 16:18, etc. and then lead them all in a Spiritual Communion at the end, asking Jesus into their hearts. The Bible says to be prepared at all times to give a defense of our Faith, so start preparing now! Read Scott & Kimberly Hahn’s Book, Rome Sweet Home. That has helped me so much, so many times in coming back to the
Catholic Church.

God bless you so much:) Keep the True Faith!


You’re not being narrow-minded! A Sunday obligation is only fulfilled at a Catholic Mass (unless you can’t get to a Catholic church but can make it to an Eastern Orthodox church, but that’s under extenuating circumstances). I honestly think it’s wonderful that you are so willing to follow Christ and His Church and that you don’t go with what’s “convenient”. Keep it up!:slight_smile:


Your post has given me inspiration to the thought that sometimes we worry if we are this or that, while we should only worry if we’re with God or not. Who cares if we’re narrow- or broad-minded. What’s important is if the mind is with God. :thumbsup:



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