Disrespect of Christ

After hearing of the twenty 5-10 year old children massacred today I literally ran to my parish church in tears. I just wanted to feel closer to my lord and pray within His house. I fell into a pew and began pleading for the souls of these children. I looked upon the beautiful crucifix of our Lord and thought of his mercy. I looked around and noticed two people decorating 1 of 4 18ft christmas trees next to the altar. I looked around and saw lighted christmas trees all over the church and watched several laypeople, whom I know, walk all over and around the altar without any respect. I got out of my pew and exclaimed my disgust with the blatant abuse of supposed sacred ground. All I wanted to do was to push those trees over and give the place where our Savior’s transubstantiation occurs. Our churches have become no different than the Temple that Christ chased the money changers from. Our churches are pandering to commercialization of Christmas. I don’t care if this ticks any of you off because I am not the only one that feels like this. I’ve been a devout Catholic for twenty-two years (since I was born) and I am a medical student. I love our lord and I love our church, but I do not feel that Christ is HAPPY with us about the way we worship him. I am so close to driving down to the Orthodox church down the road and speaking with the priest there. I feel we have left Christ behind.

When I genuflex before the altar I should get comments about how I am showing off or giving a show.

I should be genuflexing in front of a 4 giant trees.

Should I leave the RCC and convert to Orthodoxy so I can worship the Lord with reverence? I posting this here because I do not want to do this; is there an alternative with the RCC?

Thank you. I am very upset and borderline lost right now and just need some guidance. If all you have to say is condescending and rude please do not respond.


First, its been a horrible day for a lot of people, so let’s not be hasty. However, I totally understand your feelings and you’re largely right: so many Catholics today act as if Our Lord was not present at Mass or in the church.

Your outrage isn’t wrong, but leaving the Church would be. Have you ever visited a Latin Mass parish? You might find what you’re looking for.

I’m praying for the victims of today’s horrible crime, and I’ll pray God guides you. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more.

What did the Orthodox priest tell you?

Anyway, I know it can be difficult. Go to a more traditional parish if this one upsets you.

Please consider something: the Christmas tree itself is not inappropriate for a church setting. You might want to check out the link below and read what Pope John Paul II had to say about the Christmas tree. Of course, it should not be placed in such a way as to take away the significance of the altar, but, again, it is not in and of itself inappropriate as a decoration for the church (although I question why it would be placed in the church yet, since Christmas is another eleven days away, and we are still in Advent).


Please prayerfully consider switching Parishes rather than the Rite. I understand that it’s tempting, but based on what you have posted, you seem rightfully upset; not a good time to make decisions. You are in my prayers, as are the victims of this ghastly tragedy.

I’m so sorry for your frustration today. It was a very frustrating day given the tragedy and I pray for God to guide your discernment.

Switching rite would not be a problem as there are numerous rites within the 23 Churches that make up the Catholic Communion. I see our OP is very upset about the events in the news today with regards to the school shooting and I would see this is not a good time to make such decisions as his composure seems disrupted as a result going by the first post. Also this is one parish among many thousands and should not be taken as indicative of all parishes. Our OP says he is a medical student, many of my family have been nurses and doctors so with that in mind I will ask him would one bad doctor or one poorly run hospital cause him to regard medicine itself as flawed? Also although I do not like Christmas trees in Churches and have never seen them there in Ireland or England where I have mostly lived I am aware they are permitted in other countries.

As the OP is considering Orthodoxy he might like to remember that investigating the Orthodox Churches would take a great deal of time as there is 20 centuries of tradition there also. Also an Orthodox priest once advised me never to convert over bad feelings such as these. He was referencing a flame war on the internet but his point is also applicable elsewhere and such matters are of the most serious kind and should not be entered into with a heart filled with anger.

I understand your pain, and am praying with you and also for you.

Its the calling of the baptized to make the Church a better place, not to abandon it in frustration.


Our worship of God isn’t meant to make Him happy in the sense that what we do somehow gives a positive emotion to God. Our worship is meant for us, to draw us closer to God. That is what makes God happy, not the act of worship itself but that in worshiping we are drawn closer to Him. Don’t think God is any happier with the Orthodox because of their fancy vestments and incense and chanting. Even the Orthodox doesn’t believe that. The Orthodox see everything as an icon, the icon of Christ. Clergy dress nicely not to impress God, but to remind people of the glory of God. The incense is for the senses of the people so that the scent reminds us of God. Everything inside the church is for the human beings inside that church, and is meant to direct all those people to God. We don’t do these Rites (both for Catholics and Orthodox) to impress God. God is a perfect and infinite being who can will anything and everything into existence, there is nothing we can do to impress Him. God’s only desire is that us, His creation, are drawn back to Him. And our worship is meant for that, to draw us to God.

Best advice ever. And this goes for anyone. Only God converts, and since God is love we should only convert because of love, not because of pain and suffering.

He gave it as advice to a Catholic with feelings like the OP, peopel were expecting he would say ‘convert’ but they did not consider the matter in context as you have there as his reasoning on this matter was very similar to your own.

Which is why I respect Orthodox priests so much. They emphasize that they do not proselytize and they don’t (figuratively) salivate when someone comes in asking them about conversion. The priest I speak with has never forced me to convert, though he would reply to my questions with total honesty (at least from the Orthodox perspective) so whether his responses to my questions were convincing me to convert or not, it was never his intention. And he always tells me that he is not asking me to convert, and that he will love me no matter what direction I go in my faith.

OP, those people decorating the church may not have heard about the shooting, or if they did, said prayers and perhaps were saying them as they decorated. SOMEONE has to decorate the church for Christmas - and the day was already set when the tragedy happened this morning. Would you have been as upset to see the decorating going on if that shooting hadn’t happened?

I’ve done the Christmas decorating, and we did it as reverently as possible, but when you are up where the altar is, you can’t just kneel every other minute. You get the job done, bow as you go out, and try to maintain decorum while you decorate.

I think your emotions are running high because of the horrible event of 20 innocent children being shot to death in their classroom. I would urge you to pray for their families and not let the decoration of the church get you so upset.

Very well said. Indeed the date was already set.“Someone has to decorate the church for Christmas” and it was probably someone with a set schedule of doing many things for many people and places, even during Advent. It is no different for Church people to be busy, except I think Church people do what they do for the Church for a much Higher Authority and with an adoration like no other…
We are praying for many, many people tonight and again, and always.

Exactly!! Very well said.

Thank you for your response. It wasn’t decorating of the church that upset me. Decorating the church is something I have very much enjoyed before. They decided to do way more than necessary lately.

When I pass the altar that Jesus Christ descends upon I genuflect, every time. Maybe we should kneel every other minute. It is an extremely simple gesture compared to the sacrifice Christ made.

There is no “job” in the church; only work for the lord.

It is about respect for me; I feel this parish (and all in my area) have zero respect. Unfortunately, I’m not making a generalized statement. I am a Knight and extremely involved in my community and I have called many people out on it. Do you know what they say? “Your showboating Jeremy” This area cannot be the only place in the world this happens. This is our church now.

I’m curious, but how does converting to the Orthodox Church resolve this issue?

I guess you, Jeremy, feel it is “way more than necessary.” That is your own opinion. And by the way, we do not need to genuflect at the altar unless the Lord is present upon it, merely to bow. I never genuflect in coming into our sanctuary because the Lord is not in there - we have a separate chapel with the tabernacle in it. I do bow because the Lord’s sacrifice has taken place on that altar.

Please do not tar the entire Church with your bias. “This is our church now.” That is meaningless. That is that parish, those people, and YOUR OPINION. I’m glad you’re a Knight of Columbus, Jeremy, but can you ease up just a little?

Seriously, if you are ready to leave the church because of Christmas decorations, then what can anyone say?

I am curious regarding that also I must admit.

As have been said, one does not genuflect to the altar merely bow if one is outside the sanctuary. Once your inside the sanctuary you do not have to bow again (correct me if I am wrong here), one bow is enough. Thus the priest during the mass would do that. Bowing on entering the sanctuary and on leaving it.

One only genuflects before the tabernacle.

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