Ecumenical elements necessary to attract Protestants to Catholic Church?

I am aware of some that were instituted by Vatican II, but would like to have more information, particularly as to the idea of what the role and value of practicing ecumenical relations with other belief systems, particularly protestants.

Is it a modern necessity to do so and therefore gain more souls into the Church?

Is it useful in gaining more protestants into accepting the Catholic Church as the One True Church by giving them a familiar ground to work with?

Yes, YES, Yes!–it is useful in “gaining more protestants into accepting the Catholic Church as the One True Church by giving them a familiar ground to work with.”

My husband and I were evangelical Protestants for the first 47 years of our lives. He came from the Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) and I grew up in the Conference Baptists (Swedish Baptist).

We started attending Mass at the Catholic church down the street from us because our daughters were members of an elite synchronized skating team in Chicago, and practices were held on Sunday mornings from 5:30 A.M. until 1:00P.M. Obviously, we couldn’t attend Protestant churches (in the early 2000s, very few Protestant churches were holding Sat. evening worship services).

So we decided one evening to attend Mass so that we could obey Jesus and continue to “assemble together with other believers.”

We didn’t know much about Catholicism. We had read the Jack T. Chick tracts and figured that they were somewhat exaggerated. In our own childhood churches, we had been taught that the Catholic Church had taken over the “real” church around 300 A.D., and had persecuted the “real” believers, and then had added a lot of pagan practices and goddess worship (Mary) to the “real” Christian gospel.

We knew from doing quite a bit of pro-life work that many Catholics really did believe in Jesus. So we decided that going to Mass was better than not going to church at all.

The Catholic church in our neighborhood was build in 1972, and is quite modern in appearance.

VERY LITTLE of the Mass was Protestant-feeling.

I will repeat that, and please keep in mind that my husband and I know an awful lot about Protestant worship services because we were born and raised Protestant–VERY LITTLE of that Mass resembled ANYTHING that we had ever seen in the Protestant churches.

To us, it seemed like the most ancient, staid, traditional church service (that’s what we called it back then) that we had ever attended in our lives. The only familiar thing in the whole Mass were the Bible readings and the Lord’s Prayer. We felt like we had stepped back in time.

When people say that the Mass is “protestantized,” I wonder what the heck kind of Protestant they’re talking about?! :confused: Probably Lutheran or some other mainline denomination, but honestly, most Protestants in the U.S. at this time in history are evangelical, fundamental, Pentecostal, or non-denominational. There are not a lot of mainline Protestants left, and many of those denoms are going “evangelical” in their worship services to try to capture back a few more members.

But at least the Masses we attended were in English.

And at least we could understand the simple folk hymns, which we really liked and still do. In spite of all the claims that the OCP hymns are “Protestant,” we had never heard any of these songs in our lives–and I’ve played piano in Protestant churches all my life and worked under many Protestant song leaders and choir directors, and have many songbooks of Protestant music in my house.

But they at least weren’t chant or something strange-sounding to our Protestant ears. They were just nice modern hymns that we loved and still do.

And it was wonderful that there wasn’t a gallery of statues staring down at us, and images of a sad-faced Jesus with with a bleeding heart, or a Mary with eyes rolled towards heaven with a heart full of arrows. Yes, NOW that I’m Catholic, I love these things. But when we were Protestant, those kinds of things creeped us out.

What we DID see in the neighborhood church was a manger scene, which we didn’t know at the time was “the Holy Family,” which was the name of the parish. That’s the sole “statuary” in the nave.

That didn’t look scary at all to us. We knew all about manger scenes. We believed in them.

And there was no incense or icons or anything weird. There were candles, but the church was well-lit, not dark and spooky-looking. And the people were friendly–they actually said “hi” to us. They didn’t ignore us–I suppose you could say that friendliness and a welcoming attitude are “Protestant.” Well, then we need more of that kind of “Protestant” influence in the Catholic church, because it felt darn nice to be greeted and welcomed. I don’t know what we would have done had we attended one of the Traditional Masses where it’s a grave violation of the rules to speak to someone.

And the missalettes were totally a mystery to us at first, but they were helpful. When I hear people talk about getting rid of missalettes, I cringe. What would Protestants do? For many, it’s their first chance to read about Catholic teachings and theology from a source other than Jack T. Chick.

BTW, I’ve never seen missallettes in any Protestant church.

And the homily was friendly and Biblically-based. We didn’t expect that at all. That’s what we were used to in the Protestant churches–Bible preaching. So again, if Bible preaching is Protestantism in the Mass, well bring it on!

I honestly think that if we had attended a Latin Mass, or any kind of extremely traditional Mass, we would have been scared to death and run out the door and never come back. We would have left the Mass convinced that Catholics were as pagan as voodoo adherents and Wiccans, and we probably would have written Jack T. Chick a letter and said, “Brother, you are right on!”

A few years after we converted to Catholicism, our older daughter converted, too. Our younger daughter and her husband would like to convert, but they are caught up in the time crunch of college and internships.

And amazingly, my husband’s parents, who were terribly upset that we converted to Catholicism, have lately become more interested in Catholicism. A few weeks ago, they attended Mass with us, and my father in law said, “That was a very nice service. I really liked it.”

Yes, yes, a million times yes, the more modern things in the Mass help Protestants to feel less alienated and more like they’re “home.” I know Catholics don’t like these things, but friends, isn’t it worth it to save souls?

St. Paul said that he is all things to all men in order that he might win some.

My mother and father in law’s souls are worth more than all of tradition. After all, Jesus Christ, our Lord, DIED for my father and mother in law. JESUS thought they were worth suffering and dying over. So IMO, we Catholics can sit through “modern” music, modern architecture, and a little hand-clapping once in a while in order to see Protestants like me and my family come home to the Catholic Church.

The non-catholics have the service of the catechumen. They originally rejected the Holy Mass, the priesthood and most of the sacraments.The wanted to marry, Have a married minister and all were welcomed to preach. They accepted the word of God from the Bible only. They strongly rejected the Holy Father, and in their preaching and different churches established hundreds of pontiffs
Some churches have rediscovered the eucharist in their services. Which is a bread and wine commoration of Jesus’s last supper.
Some married ministers have came in to the Catholic Church after ordaination with their families.:):):):):):):slight_smile:

I’m not trying to cause scandal.

But one of the most obvious things is the allowance of protestant music, and of course the “Charismatic Renewal”.

I think these things have hurt the Church more than helped. Sorry.

God bless.


Your posting was one of the best things that I’ve read on this forum. It is a beautiful testimony to what the Church is all about; bringing people to Jesus Christ. Hopefully, all of us here can gain a new insight into what it’s all about.

One example of a change which is not so easily detectable is the change in language. I’m not even talking about Latin-to-English, or a bad English translation of the Latin. I mean that Latin prayers were edited to redirect attention away from certain theological topics. Take this comparison of the prayers in the E.F. versus the O.F. for the Masses for the Souls of the Faithful Departed (“All Souls”, November 2). The word “soul” (anima) was removed from the prayers in the O.F. and the language of the prayers is sometimes changed to be about us, the living rather than the deceased. Example:

“We beseech You, Lord, to graciously hear our prayers that, as our faith in Your Son who was raised from the dead is renewed, our hope in the expected resurrection of Your servants is strengthened as well.”

That is not a prayer for the dead; it is a prayer for us to have greater hope that the deceased will be raised.

Does obscuring the Catholic doctrine on Purgatory really help Protestants?

The problem is the addition of Protestantism to the Novus Ordo hurts Catholicism. You cannot add something without subtracting something else, that is when you add Protestantism you hurt the one true faith, which never changes.

The celebration of mass facing the people:
This was common in Protestant Churches because the minister was a preacher, not an Ordained Priest offering the sacrifice.

The elimination of Gregorian Chant:
This beautiful music of the angels has been cut from the Mass. We now celebrate according to the music of man. (Side note: I’m a Music Major and I’d be happy to discuss this topic with more detail).

The simplification of vestments:
The Vestments of a NO Priest are different of a Traditional Priest. Rather than a Cassock, Priests attempt to blend in with society, at the expense of the Church disappearing.

The simplification of Sacramental rites:
Most prevalent in Holy Orders. While they have not been changed to the extent that they are no longer valid, they have been stripped to the bare essentials, in order that they could be as generic as possible.

The use of the Vernacular:
The Council of Trent stood firm in defending Latin which Luther was strongly against. While Pope Paul VI at least nominally argued for Latin, it has all but disappeared from the Liturgy (the most Latin I’ve heard a a NO mass was the “Deo Gratias” antiphon at Easter mass).

What is even worse is the loss of Latin has destroyed the unity of the Church. Rather than be universal, people now attend the English mass, or the Spanish mass, or the French mass.

Communion in hand:
Although with Pope Benedict XVI, this may soon be history. Although not Protestant, it was a practice of Arians and Non-trinitarians in an attempt to deny the Divinity of Christ.

The use of Protestant terms:
Instead of an Altar, it’s a “table.” Instead of a Sacristy, it’s a “supply room.” Instead of an Acolyte, they are “altar servers” (or God forbid, “altar girls.”) Instead of a Sacrifice, it’s a “meal.” Instead of assisting at Mass, your “going to [the] Church.” Instead of the pews, they are seats. Instead of Scripture study, it’s “Bible school.” Pre-Cana is now “Pre-marriage counseling.” Instead of 3 Kings, 4 Kings, 1 & 2 Paralipomenon, and 1 & 2 Esdras, they are 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

It is sickening that all of this has been allowed to happen…

Laus Deo

To answer the question in your title line, things like praying to God, singing, reading Scripture. Which are also of course in the EF.

Your points are exactly why we are blessed to be able to still attend a EF Mass, if one is able to. We have to accept the fact though that it may not be a case of us or somebody “allowing” it to happen, but rather it was bound to happen due to modernism and liberalism. I have always found it odd that something that has been around for 1500 years, is all of a sudden “improved”. One must consider the mindsets of any given society and any given time and those that exist within that society in time, and then there is less mystery involved in attempting to sort it out by sheer logic.

For me, who came into the Catholic Church this past Easter Vigil, I came from a Southern Baptist background. While I would consider myself a convert from paganism rather than from Protestantism, I would have been totally lost if I had gone to a pre-VC II Mass. My first Mass was the Feast of Pentecost and believe me, I was totally lost as to what was going on.

I couldn’t even follow in the missal.

Can you imagine how lost I’d really have been if the Mass was in Latin? My first impression would probably have been “who are these people and from which planet do they come from?”

Of course now I have a better understanding of both viewpoints. I know some of the older cradle Catholics must had a rather rough time coping with the changes in the Mass after VC II.

At least for me, the way the Mass is celebrated now really helped me wanting to understand more about Catholicism and continue reading Catholic apologetics which eventually lead me into the Catholic Church.

Practice does make perfect, yes?

The Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental) have a valid Eucharist.

Pardon my omission.

The OF is no more “Protestant” than the EF. Those “aspects” many label as being “Protestant” (because they are not part of the EF) often pre-date the EF in some cases all the way back to the “aspects” of the early church.

I tend to doubt it. I for one have been practicing all my life and have no expectation that I will achieve perfection.

It is still better to try and fail, than not to try at all, yes?

Many times people look at the Ordinary Form (OF) of the mass and say, “This is Protestant or that is Protestant.” The fact is that much of what we find in the OF is really very ancient. What many Protestants tried to do was to simplify their services and to return to the simplicity of the early Church. Of course, they threw out the baby with the bath water, because they also threw out the celebration of the Eucharist. But much of what appears to be a duplicate of Protestantism is not really such. It is a duplicate of the early Church, which Protestants tried to recapture, but failed to do and Catholics did without eliminating the Eucharist and Holy Orders.

That being said, the presence of the two sacraments in the OF makes all the difference in the world between a Protestant and a Catholic liturgy.

Someone commented on the changes in terminology. Those changes are not really that essential. They are not universal changes. They tend to be more reigional changes. Some places say liturgy and other places say mass. In some places they call it a table and most call it an altar, which is the correct term. We have to see what most people do in the OF celebration.

We also have to remember that Catholicism is much bigger than the USA. The English mass has errors in translation. This is not an indictment of the Council and the liturgists who wrote the missal approved by Pope Paul VI. The missal was written in Latin and it is still used around the world. It is not used as much as mass in the vernacular, but it remains in use. The fact that we can hear the words of the mass in other languages and hear them exactly as they are written in Latin tells us that the mistake was in translating from Latin to English, not in the original missal.

I’ll give you one simple example. The Latin text says, “The Lord be with you.” The people respond “And with your spirit”. That is the form that is used in French, Spanish, Italian, Rumanian and Portuguese. What it seems is that the translation from Latin to the Latin languages was smoother, than to the Germanic languages and the Asian languages.

In one of his writings, St. Maximilian Kolbe refers to the Immaculate Conception as the “One conceived without sin.” Why? Because he was writing theology in Japanese and there is no such word as Immaculate in Japanese. He named his Knights of the Immaculata as the Knights of the Sinless. Maximilian’s Franciscans of the Immaculate in Japan are stilled called this way.

The early Franciscans in England used the word “friar”, which is a bastardization of the Latin word, frater. The word stuck. Why? Because the title Brother did not exist in the English language of that era. The understanding of that era was that a brother was a kinsman.

The point that I’m trying to make is that many times the words that we hear in our country and in our American Catholic language sound distorted or Protestant because our language is not a Latin language, not because of ill will.

I hope this helps.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I don’t know that the early Church was more “simple”. In fact, look at the Divine Liturgy of St. James. It usually takes at least 3 hours! And this is the earliest form of the liturgy we have today.

Well, because you asked, I guess that would really depend on what one is trying for, yes?

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