Are traditional parishes bringing in converts?

I realize that dis-affected Catholics in an area where an indult Mass is available are the large majority of adherents.

But as regards bona fide Traditional parishes, are they bringing in converts to Catholicsim or just attracting Catholics not happy with the NO?

I ask as this Easter weekend is when new memebrs are traditionally celebrated in their entry to the Church. The very liberal NO parish near me had a record number of catechumens - attracted I suspect by the heavy empahsis this parish places on socail justice and environmental issues. By no means is the theology preached at the parish orthodox but it has a great social-outreach which does good.

So, do traditional parishes win converts too? Never seen this analyzed or reported on.

Yes, they do indeed. Many run excellent Adult Catechesis that attract potential converts because they are known to be so well taught (I’m thinking of a few in particular). Also, in general, there are many more Baptisims during the year (infants)…so there’s another way of bring people into the church.

But this is anecdotal. Are there figures? Has a study been done? I know there are more baptisms per capita, but that is because the traditional parishes tend to have significantly larger families.

In terms of adult conversions from non-Catholic backgrounds are there any studies? Are the relatively few traditional parishes less, more or about the same in attracting adult converts?

I wonder how many of those “converts” to the progressive parishes actually believe all of the Catholic teachings. I know last year when I “helped” RCIA most of the participants were oblivious to most of the teachings of the church…I was silenced by the “teachers”

At this particular parish the RCIA instructor does not believe in the Real Presence but teaches the potential converts are free to or not.

So having a large group of converts this Easter in this parish actually may mean more cafeteria Catholics. As I said, the folks are drawn by the anti-war, pro-justice, pro-immigrant stance of the parish and its very active presence in those causes.

I still would like to know if traditional parishes are bringing in converts.

For me, it’s not a numbers game. (Which sounds like a cop-out, I know.) We only had eight converts at our parish this year, but they were the ones who survived and persevered through really intense Inquiry and Catechesis periods, and who really got grilled over during the Purification and Enlightenment.

They know how to say their prayers, they know what is required of them for their state in life, and they understand the meaning behind the Creed.

Out of 40 that started, I weeded it down to 16 in the Inquiry phase - not that I didn’t want the rest of them to convert, but they weren’t willing to give up certain things (living with a girlfriend, in one case), and they weren’t willing to show up and actually put in the time and minimal amount of effort that it takes to do an actual Inquiry period. “Showing up” seems to be the biggest hurdle, for a lot of people.

The other eight dropped away during the Catechesis period because “What? We have to go to Mass every Sunday? Whoa - that’s way too rigid and strict!” or else they didn’t do their homework and got behind, or else they got stuck on one issue or another, and hopefully will resolve it, and come through next year.

So, to answer the question about more traditional parishes - we could have had 40 lukewarm converts this year - but I think I’m glad that we got 8 keeners who were purified like gold in a refining fire, who know exactly what they’re doing, here, and why.

Saint Mary by the Sea Diocese of Orange, CA}, which was recently in the news for it’s traditional stance, used to be a prolific source of converts. Haven’t heard how it is doing with the changes.

The RCIA instructor is a heretic, then, and is teaching heresy. He/she should be removed from the position.

You’re tough, JM! :thumbsup:

No parish brings in converts. The Holy Spirit brings them in!


Wow, that sounds like an impressive RCIA group, JM. Some people might view your methods as too draconian or discouraging, but I think it sounds like a responsible RCIA teacher who takes the salvation of their catechumens in a serious manner. It’s refreshing to hear that there are some conservative and traditional classes being taught with strong emphasis on a proper Catholic education.

To the original OP: I don’t think my parish had anything to do with my conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism. It had much more to do with a personal interest in Catholicism that started a couple years ago. This CA site along with the study of apologetics played a very big role for me. In many ways, I see the efforts of CA to be a very real “Catholic evangelical mission” using the medium of apologetics. It’s an interesting dilemma though because I had this same question in one of my RCIA classes and I’ve never heard a real solid answer. How exactly does the Catholic Church best evangelize? The popular answer seems to be “through example”, but there always seems to be a rather nonchalant attitude behind it as if it’s not a top priority in the Church. I don’t know if that’s from the fact that Catholic families tend to beget Catholic families and the Church naturally grows in this manner? I’m used to bare knuckled and scraped knee approach in many Protestant traditions where they are on the street corners pining for converts. In my opinion, I’m convinced that apologetics and openness to logical and scriptural scrutiny would win many converts from other traditions if, as CA tries to do, the message could be disseminated to the masses in an effective way. Many of the protestant dogmas that I once held dear just turned out to be diaphenous and devoid of substance once I had time to really study the arguments. I didn’t even necessarily WANT to be converted at that time, but the Catholic stance continually just seemed much more plausible. I’ve gotten the impression though that, in general, the Catholic majority doesn’t seem particularly interested in apologetics or “arguing” with people of other traditions. I think I’m more sensitive to the topic because I know how rigorous Protestants can be in their preparation to “save a lost Catholic” if they ever run across them on a street corner. Pamplets up the sleeve and verses memorized they can usually quickly skewer an unsuspecting (and uneducated) Catholic’s arguments for his/her faith in the Church. That’s the sad part for me, because ironically the Catholic position is the stronger position! I come from the South though where there is a latent tension between the two traditions and simmering hostility which probably isn’t a very accurate representation of most of the U.S.

Ok, I got off on a tangent, I just wanted to share my thoughts…

Thats how it should be. No convert to Catholicism should enter the Church without knowing the faith. So many RCIA directors compromise on what should be no-compromise issues.

To the OP:
I’ve seen this done in Dallas as well
It is more a renewal of the church parish that was simply dying out on the NO diet:
St. Mary’s by the Sea in Huntington Beach

I agree (for what it’s worth), unless the prospect actually believes the teachings of the church they are not converts, no matter what the records say.


Thats what I was alluding to in my post above. A progressive liberal church could have 100 people “enter” the church…but how many of them are REALLY converts. TO me the numbers at such parishes is inflated significantly. It reminds me of The chicago voting system. “when I die ship my body to Chicago so I can stay politically active”

In my liberal diocese the chancery gets thier “numbers” from how many people subscribe to the DIocesan newspaper. THe only problem is most parishes automatically subscribe and pay for subscriptions for their parishoners…including people who have left the area and those who have left the church. Its crazy.

In Britain a parish considers itself lucky if it has one adult candidate for baptism. I can’t relate to your scenario at all.

One worrying thing about British parishes is that if you see a young to middle-aged person at Mass, obviously middle class and with a lot of resources, almost always you will find that they are a schoolteacher. In other words we don’t get good members unless we pay them. Having said that there is no individual person I would single out as a mercenary Catholic.The exception is traditionalists, who are often quite young and well-to-do, and tend to have career jobs. However invariably they are highly eccentric people. So a British TLM scence will attract largely other rich, intelligent, eccentric people.

In Britain I think we are just starting to admit that we are in deep trouble. As the old Irish immigrants die off, and their children are not Irish and only nominally Catholics, we are facing a crisis of numbers.

:confused: I’m sorry, Malcolm I’m at a loss (I hope) as to what you’re saying here. Are you saying most parishoners who aren’t poor are teachers?? Do you mean by “good members”, faithful Catholics; people with jobs; educated people…? “Unless we pay them…” What does this mean, and who’s “we”, society? And are you really calling British TLM devotees money-focused kooks? I’m not getting any of this! :(:confused:

Yes. While NO parishes have a few old ladies (nothing against old ladies mind) attending mass – Traditional ones are packed. or they would be if the bishops would let us have them a little later.

Later than what?

I am under the impression that it is best to celebrate the TLM as early as possible, since they fast from the previous midnight; not for a set period of time (3 hours, or 1 hour, as with the Paul VI Mass.)

Except at St Anthony’s in Calgary. That one is at noon on Sunday. Makes for a lonnnng fast!

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