Are Catholics Rude?

I’m sorry for asking this out of frustration I’m usually not this negative but this is something that has been in the back of my mind for some time now and two e-mail messages from fellow Catholics just triggered this. First off, let me state that I am a devout Catholic (regular confession, mass every Sunday, etc).

Okay, so I’ve observed all too many times that it seems that we Catholics are rude, often at times to one another! I’ve seen people give dirty looks at mass, parking lot arguments when trying to leave church, I’ve met four “celebrity” apologists and found only two of them where actually pleasant making me hesitant to want to meet more. Even in our very own forums we (sometimes) see people bickering amongst one another who seem to have no reason whatsoever to argue. Of course lets not forget that (figuratively) 3 out of 5 parish offices you call you will be greeted coldly by the receptionist :frowning:

I’m sorry and I don’t mean to be judgmental but what I observe is very dis-hearting. Although I would never leave the Church I get jealous of how my “non-denominational” Christian friends seem to have great relationships with their brothers and sisters in their church. Perhaps I’m part of the problem because although (I think) I’ve never done anything wrong to a fellow parishioner, I never really went out of my way to be a brother in Christ to a parishioner that I"ve never met.

In the end I have to ask if anyone else feels this way. And what do you do? I know we should carry our crosses and pray for our Church but man the taste does get a little to bitter to the point I can’t help but to spit it out. Anyone? Something positive I hope? Again, I apologize if I’m being too negative.

Here is a quote I just read…

According to a literary anecdote, the author Nancy Mitford had asked Waugh how he could behave so abominably and yet still consider himself a practicing Catholic. “You have no idea,” Waugh replied, “how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being.” -from The New Criterion Reader

My sentiments exactly! :thumbsup: The church is made up of fallible people. I am quite certain that i am perceived as a complete hypocrite at times, because my own behavior does not reflect my faith in Christ. I take some comfort that our church fathers suffered from the same affliction. Thanks be to God we have the sacrament of Reconciliation to help us on our way.

Rude behavior is not exclusive to Catholics. Such behavior can be found in any church or outside of a church. It’s called human nature. Anyone can be rude.

It is possible to be a practicing Catholic and even a devout Catholic but be lacking in certain virtues. If they are rude, obviously they are not well-disciplined in the virtue of kindness. Hopefully that is something the person is working on.

I heard a great sermon once on the “dirty looks” people give each other at Mass. Somebody genuflects when maybe they should have bowed, or vice versa. Somebody doesn’t cross themselves with holy water the Proper Way.

He made the point that if we are here to judge each other, then we’re missing the whole point of even being here. I understand a certain amount of decorum is expected in church, but I think it’s best to leave it to the priest in charge to take care of such things, and if it doesn’t bother him, then I should have no business judging others by it.

Now – are these Catholic traits specifically? I doubt it. I’ve been in one non-denominational church where I visited and really felt people accepted each other the way they were, but it was a small church and is not in business any more.


Are you angry at one specific person? Maybe you see the same problem on different way from that person.
I was very angry on more people but I find out with my angry I did not chance nothing.

Oh, to be perfect!
Most of us try, but sometimes we come across as rude because we didn’t get enough sleep, or we just got bad news, or the cat threw up on the new carpet just before we left for church.
I have learned, when someone treats me rudely to ask if I’ve done something to offend them or if things are all right with them. (I’m 64, and believe me, it took many hurt feelings and many years to come to this point) Just showing that we care can help a person or defuse a situation.
And, yes, some people ARE just rude!:slight_smile:

I’m not rude at Mass at all.

It’s the other 167 hours of the week I have a problem with. :rolleyes:

I’ll comment only about this part. I’d attribute this to the so-called (pardon the somewhat crude terminology) “Internet D1ckwad Theory” which states, basically:

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total D1ckwad

I’d think a lot of us here who are completely rude on the forum will never be so crass or argumentative in real life.

You express my sentiments exactly.

When I was not catholic, I went to a pentecostal church and I still have great relationships with many of the people there to this day. Yes, there was rudeness since we are all fallible people - but people didn’t look down on me for my age, marital status, gender, etc. I can’t say the same is true in the catholic church - especially for my position. There are days I can’t tell the difference between working with my parish and my school.

Every body of believers has a shortcoming. I won’t go into the shortcomings of my previous church, but I believe that a vapid spiritual life in the church and rudeness to one another - which in many cases has led to a total disintegration of fellowship - is a very serious problem in the church. The only thing we can do is to be the change we want to see in the world.

Having been both Evangelical Protestant, and now Catholic for 12 years, I have too noticed a big difference in the friendly department.

I think the right question though is not “why do Catholics seem rude and unfriendly?” - like someone said, that is human nature - people, including Christians, get into bad moods, are grouchy, and get into their own little self-absorbed world and don’t take efforts to reach out to others around them.

I’ve been in Protestant churches, usually older mainline denominations, that are the same as what I’ve experienced in Catholic parishes.

The right question is “why are some Protestant churchgoers so very friendly?” Why do they act that way, what is their motivation? They are human too, and can act rude themselves, but generally if you go to an Evangelical or Pentecostal protestant church service you are going to be bombarded with happy and meet extremely friendly, welcoming, cheerful, almost giddy people.

Why is this?

There are a couple of reasons, from my experience and observation:

  1. They are trying to win converts for their church - protestantism is highly competitive, and the way this has shaked out is that groups of vibrant, happy, friendly people are very attractive, and so congregations bent on growing their church, and attracting as many followers, will act this way on Sunday morning, and often in everyday life, to put an attractive face on their particular church. Catholics don’t have this competitive attitude - you have to go to Sunday Mass if you are Catholic, and there is no sense of trying to win people to go to Mass here, rather than somewhere else - without the fake facade, “real” human attitudes shine through, and this gives the appearance of rudeness, especially compared to those protestants competing for members.

  2. Evangelical and Pentecostalism puts a high premium on acting happy, and demonstrating the “joy of the Lord” - this is how they prove to themselves and others that they are “saved” - they are on the way to heaven, and are dancing all the way - this doesn’t mean that they don’t get down in the dumps, or frustrated with their fellow human beings, it’s just not socially acceptable in those groups to show that you are unhappy in any way, because you are a Christian and should be happy all the time - I assure you, no one is that happy all the time - but they force themselves to put on that face in public, especially on Sunday mornings - sometimes it seems like a mask worn to impress others with how happy in the Lord they are.

If you have ever been around any cult groups, such as the Mormons, you will notice how overly friendly and inviting they are, they go out of their way to be friendly, take an interest in you, seem to really like you - they have what feels like a sense of family at their church, and they want you to be part of their family love - this is all to win you as a member. Remember that, whenever you visit those Evangelical, non-demonational or Pentecostal churches, because their particular type of friendly and happy flows from the same fountain.

It is what I call “salesman friendly” - a salesman is so so friendly to you, but why? It is so you will buy what he is selling.

Being nice to get people to join wouldn’t last if it didn’t continue. Cults are not nice places and fear and persecution usually keeps people after the initial niceness. Our priest tells us weekly to be open and friendly to others, even has “greeters” now to help first time or part time parshiners feel welcome. He discourages tight cliques were groups don’t really want others to join (you can just feel it) and things like that.
I don’t think it’s fair to say they are doing that for people to join and Catholics don’t have too, they should just want to be with us and check us out. if they don’t have a church. Jesus wouldn’t want rudeness, wouldn’t want people to feel unwelcome, everyone in their own box.
I tried to help at my church many years ago, at Christmas, bible camp, etc., the Deacon was all enthusiastic, the other mothers, cold and aloof. I just told him, except in one case, I wasn’t needed and left. He said they complain all the time, but I’m sure he learned “the martyrs” always do that. When my friend joined the Episcopal chruch after similar experiences with her Catholic church, it was just the opposite. They were freindly, she was doing the Christmas play within months and she found a feeling of belonging she didn’t find in Catholism. I felt bad, still do, but it was her life and her call…but if our church in her neighborhood was less aloof all around, “maybe” she wouldn’t have been drawn somewhere else.

I don’t know what is in someones heart or what is going on in their homes, illness, etc. but I have been shocked how rude and not friendly the most pious Catholics at my church were. Not all of cousre, but some wont make eye contact, say hello, etc. I would see them at adoration, daily mass, you want to just connect in some way, but nothing.

I can see how other denominations are attractive to some, because they feel God in the people there, not just for themselves.
The push with commericials etc. during Lent did bring some back, for how long who knows, but being welcoming, forgiving, does turn some hearts…Boston saw a jump with their compaign.

I never said that Catholics do not have to be friendly - they should be more friendly, and more virtuous generally, as God desires - I was only describing the underlying dynamics, and pointing out that what appears to be friendly elsewhere is at times artificial.

I understand what you’re saying. I found myself leaving Mass one day and getting upset at the parishoner driving slowly in the car ahead. It shocked me, and I’ve made a point to calm myself down.

I will say that I have met the ‘rudest’ Catholics on this forum. Then again, I’ve met the sweetest, most concerned, and truly loving Catholics here too. I choose to stay because of them, and pray for the former.

I’m so glad that were I go is so nice. I use to go to a more modern and bigger one, growing up. I quit going because people were rude, and it was more of who’s who, and who gave more money, popularity contest, it was sad. Then I found the one I go to now. Way much much smaller and cozy, older. Everyone knows each other. So full of love, people smiling. It’s like family. I feel blessed there.

God bless you all. And happy mothers day to all moms here.

jesus g

my guess and observation there are rude Catholics in about the same proportion as in the general population. yes, folks, true, we are a church full of sinners, which is indeed fortunate, because we are the very ones Christ came to save.

Probably right, but sometimes, for the unlucky person, their parish seems to have more and another less. Same with neighborhoods.

I think it’s good to be friendly. Not in a tricky, salesman, kind of way, but just to be genuniely concerned about your brothers and sisters in Christ on Sunday. We are supposed to be a family. Families generally come together not only out of obligation but out of love. Of course we will all fail at being others centered at times because we are sinners.

Yes Many Catholics are rude. I joined the church when I was 18, I’m 57 now and if you compare Catholics to Protestants , Catholics win hands down in rudeness. If it were not for the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist I would have nothing to do with them, us (I say that because I am Catholic). Truly I could tell you stories of rude priests and their secretaries that would completely shock you. Pope Francis said it well when he called some of the priests truly monstrous.

In the movie the boondock saints the two devout brothers go to the memorial of their friend. While there they are quasi solem. Shortly after realizibg their friends mugshot was used they look with mild annoyance and burst out laughing.

This kind of behavior, is an interesting look as if a “regular” devout catholic was near they would have surely thought the brothers crude and rude… then though in celebration of a funny event with their friend who they likely consider “alive and well” why be so solem? Would it be rude of them to laugh or rude of the onlooker to look at them in disgust?

I am reminded of a verse in of all things an eminem song:

“You find me offensive? I find you offensive for finding me offensive”

While there are perhaos true “offenses” in another post I mentioned how if one stands truly with God they could not possibly be harmed by insults nor ever be humiliated. So that I have a firm belief that the offended and often most outwardly shy/anxiety ridden etc… are truly beyond arrogance and self centered. So to note that as the Bible claims there is a narrower flow of righteous than sinful. I might suggest that there are far fewer righteous than self righteous.

So to be offended of anything short of truest blasphemy is an issue of pride more than anything.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit