How did we lose them?

I just watched a video called ‘Why I’m no longer Catholic’ on Youtube.

Now, I’m a recent revert to the church and I’m not confident in apologetics, but I wanted to scream at this man! Oddly enough he had disabled comments on his video! Hmm.

His main gripe, and his reason for conversion was the notion of ‘accepting Christ as my personal lord and saviour’ and making that commitment to Christ in prayer. It seems this is what had been lacking in his faith previously- a personal encounter with Jesus.

But- as catholics- we can all do this! We can all say this! It doesn’t change catholic doctrine, and furthermore, we can be in a very close relationship with christ in the Eucharist.

Where did we go wrong? I mean specifically if this is the argument- that Catholics do not have a close relationship or acceptance of Christ.

I have uncovered the beauty of the church recently, and its depth. To quote Patrick Coffin- the church is like a building which you keep on exploring- and more and more floors are added. Then you go into the garden…there are flowers, and other great joys to behold…

But- if the average person doesn’t look- they might miss it. How can this be? Surely all Catholics, receiving the Eucharist and sacraments, should be filled with the holy spirit, understand the fullness of their faith, and therefore remain in the bosom of the church with all her help and graces instead of leaving to find this personal encounter elsewhere?

…“the average person”?


Our Catholic faith needs renewing every day! I know I need to pray whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether I feel like it or not. Prayer keeps the soil of our soul cultivated, so that when we receive the Eucharist the Lord can truly sanctify us with His Presence and grace.

It always amazes me when people say they left the Church in order to find a more “personal relationship with Christ”. This displays a total lack of understanding of the basic tenets of the Catholic Faith. As you correctly pointed out, in the reception of Holy Communion, we enter into a kind of relationship with Christ that is intimate and personal - far more so than merely “accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior”. We consume the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord and are flooded with graces beyond comprehension or comparison. But it is up to us to cooperate with these graces. Lack of faith, willful ignorance, or attachment to sin, among other factors can limit how open we are in our response to God’s grace.

God works subtly. When we receive the Eucharist, or any sacrament for that matter, we do not see the heavens open up and angels blasting their trumpets (although, we know that beyond the veil these are actually happening). As much as we may want, nothing external appears to happen even though we have just consumed the most sublime gift mankind will ever receive. For many, faith assures us that we have received Christ and he is filling us with his grace. We recall our Lord’s words to Thomas - “blessed are those who have not seen yet believe”.

For others, the lack of fanfare that accompanies the Catholic sacraments is off putting. There is too little emotion involved. They cannot feel the presence of our Lord, and so they doubt. This leads to seeking alternate means of spiritual fulfillment. Perhaps in a Church were the sermons are stirring and passionate, where emotional altar calls are common place, will serve to fill the void. These assemblies seem lively and joyful compared to the “dead” Catholic Mass. What irony.

It seems to me that sometimes a switch from Catholicism to another Christian sect is usually rooted in one or both of these factors. Either a total misunderstanding of the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith, a desire for a more “enthusiastic and emotional” worship experience, or both.

i think a lot of protestant religions prey on human emotions more than the Catholic church. The sermons are made to hit you over the head with your sins for almost an hour, get you to feel utter remorse and then while you are at that emotional state bring you to your knees in front of a group and offer relief if you just accept Christ into your heart and they then get that overwhelming sense of relief. Catholic homilies expound on the scriptures of the day for like 10 minutes and not on your emotions.

Now, that being said, i think it is easier to use that tactic on a cradle catholic that has grown up with confession and the act of contrition has become a routine, and they havent really ever experienced a "hell, fire, and damnation’ assault.

Please note this is an opinion only and not meant to offend anyone.

How did we lose them? From your post it sounds like you mean converts to evangelical Christianity.

The answer is, IMO, rather surprising when you look deeply at it. We lose them the same way that the evangelical communities lose them in turn a decade or two down the road. Bear with me.

It doesn’t sound charitable, but the facts on the ground suggest that the sort of “evangelical experience Christianity” you are referring to is the exit ramp from Christianity that leads to secularism.

Here’s the process I’ve observed (first hand as I belonged to such a protestant group in college):

  1. Nominal Christian with a lukewarm faith at most and little to no real Christian community support in his own life experiences enthusiastic evangelical believer and is intrigued.
  2. He then is introduced by the evangelist to the evangelist’s community and is really intrigued. After a time immersed in this ‘fellowship’ he conflates enthusiasm and faith and concludes that he never himself previously had any faith. Maybe it’s even true.
  3. He decides that he never had faith because he was brought up in a polluted version of Christianity and decides to leave and go where the “real believers” are so that he can be “fed by the Word.” What he really means is keep experiencing God in a community of believers. He’s simply persuaded that they got that way via their diligent attention to Scripture.
  4. Over time, the enthusiasm fades and he tries desperately to prop it up because he’s built his faith on feeling that enthusiasm. They do rock beat worship music, do evangelism rallies with light shows, they parade a non-stop litany of conversion testimonies to stoke the flames.
  5. Eventually, the enthusiasm fades anyways and the props no longer keep it up. Maybe he jumps to a new church. More often he grows in frustration and bitterness takes root. God no longer seems to answer his prayers. He drops out of activities. Eventually, he stops going to church. He becomes cynical about the “religious right” and his conscience brings to light many of the serious over-simplifications and intellectual dishonesty that exists in the American evangelical world (7 day creationism, biblical literalism in general, actual homophobia, absurd prohibitions on playing cards, alcohol and dancing).
  6. He tosses baby Jesus out with the bathwater of American evangelicalism and becomes just another secularist.

This isn’t just me pontificating. The churn rate at many of the non-denom ‘churches’ is extremely high, look it up. It’s because they build the person’s entire perception of what faith is on the emotional surge of initial conversion. When the feeling fades (as it always does, even for saints like Mother Theresa), so does the faith.

So as I said, the thing he left for is also the thing he’ll leave the new place because of, eventually. He just doesn’t realize that he is leaving the Lamb and veggies of Catholicism for the Big Mac & fries of Flashinthepan Community Church. Even the congregations themselves follow that pattern. Look at Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. He pulled 'em in, got 'em riled up and enthused and had nothing more to offer when the enthusiasm dulled. No sacraments, no millennia old churches.

I can only say this-the church, in my opinion didn’t go wrong at all. I haven’t seen the video, but I know people like that from personal experience. It is a lot easier to look outward then it is to look inward. It is always easier to blame an institution then it is to ask oneself what they have or have not done. I feel sorry for those people. If they want to leave a church, then I can’t stop them. I question why they need to post comments, blogs, or videos trying to convince others to make the same choices they’ve made. My own rule is simple-I try to never say something that has the potential to damage someone else’s faith. I wish everyone could agree on that one point, if nothing else.

I think that is a simplistic view of a any person’s spiritual journey at any given time in their life. I know what it’s like to experience spiritual dryness even when actively participating in the sacraments of the Church, Eucharist included

an evualation of another 's religious leading – is interesting becasue – it can demenstrate – the mystery of why the Holy Spirit leads an individual to be part of a non catholic fellowship=

jessy --Duplantis, once a pop star, now a renowned man of God. God touched his life and changed him and thru him brought salvation to others

saved at 24 years

benny hinn

Ephesians 2:8
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

it is apparent that – Non Catholics have a greater understanding of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit–

Where as Catholics-- are sacrementalized-- and have an understanding-- of going to communion and then going to confession-- and struggling to experience the Holy Spirit-- and the gifts of the HolySpirit–which is lacking in most of the catholic mass ceremony 's that i have attended–

if a catholic wasn’t educated --to believe specific docdrune/ dogma-- then they would not have any sunderstanding-- by the fellow ship of the Holy Spirit-- i have been thru the “life in the spirit” training offered in the catholic church-- and it does not produce – fruit-- in any of the perople - i was taught with

Perhaps the reason they left the Church is the same reason some Protestants convert to Catholicism; God found a place for them that they needed.

Usually the testimonies are similar either way.

I belonged to various Protestant groups from age 26 to age 55. Was not brought up in any church or group. Finally became Catholic at age 55. Had been in and out of so many different Protestant, evangelical and Pentecostal groups that when my wife started looking into Catholicism and joined an RCIA, I simply followed along, all the while thinking “This is just another ‘thing’ like all the rest of them”.:shrug: But, here I am, 12 years later, struggling to learn the Catholic Faith, overwhelmed at how much I still don’t know, but actually wanting MORE. I’ve found the Catholic Church doesn’t stoke my emotions. Rather it appeals to my intellect, which the Protestant Faith did not. (btw. I am now 67).

I totally agree with what ManualMan in particular said.

I think part of the problem is that we talk so much about certain parts of the faith and hardly mention other parts, notably the spiritual life. We know that the rosary is a Catholic thing, bit how many Catholics actually pray the Rosary? How many continue to learn beyond Confirmation?

Sometimes I think that a good number of Catholics who leave do so because they feel that something is lacking and they may not even be able to articulate it, much less figure out how to find it in the Church. In fact, the internet may be helping Catholics to find what they are looking for within the Church.

Anyway, I also think that the US Church, because Catholicisim developed as a neighborhood thing, has some difficulties because we no longer have communities which are analogous to our parishes, so we no linger live in Catholic communities. We only see each other at Mass, we aren’t all immersed together in community 24/7. Abd I don’t think we’ve figured that out.

As an aside, I heard a talk recently (Absp Sheen?) where the speaker mentioned that at one point, there was a vibrant Catholic life–devotions of different kinds each evening, etc. Then, he said, television started coming in. No one would come on Tuesdays because the popular show was on, then everyone was watching some other show on Wednesdays as well, and soon everyone was watching TV and no one ever showed up to do things in the evenings.

Except that there WILL be sacraments at the Crystal “Cathedral”. It has become the Orange County Diocesan Cathedral, newly named Christ’s Cathedral!

Interestingly, I came across a blog yesterday that tries to answer the same question, but from a Protestant perspective.

That’s all I have. No answers.


As a Catholic, its difficult to imagine that this would ever be the scenario. We believe that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Truth, and therefore would argue that God would never “find someone a place” outside the Church.

Not quite true actually. Evangelicals are extremely adept at converting lukewarm catholics to zealous evangelical Protestantism. But aside from those converting due to marriage, I don’t think I’ve ever met a protestant convert to Catholicism who was just nominal, half-hearted as a protestant and encountered Christ in the person of a catholic believer who then played a big role in his conversion.

As a general rule (which always have exceptions, I realize!), protestant converts to Catholicism were already strong believers before converting. By contrast, converts from Catholicism to Protestantism were pretty lukewarm at best when they were catholics.

It’s a significant difference that says both good and bad things about both sides. There’s still a fair amount of truth to the old saw that Protestantism makes crowds of converts while Catholicism makes a handful of saints. Would be nice to keep the best of both worlds, eh?

The teachings of the Catholic Church concerning “outside the Church” just might not line up with what you and many others may think/believe is “outside the Church”?

Something to think about, Jesus and His Apostles, I believe, had a discussion concerning some who spoke in His, Jesus’s, Name but weren’t exactly in lockstep with the Apostles and Jesus, most definitely, had an opinion concerning this, do you remember this scenario?

Sometimes we seem to think/believe that God can only “work” in ways that we think/believe that God should work in, maybe we, sometimes, need to get out of getting in God’s Way.

God, most definitely, has a Plan and only God “knows” all of the “details” of how God’s Plan unfolds and God Is God, we aren’t.

Lack of strong Catholic education and lack of strong Catholic leadership would be a good place to start,

If there is one thing we can be certain of about God it’s that he will not lead us away from the truth. He can neither deceive nor be deceived. So with confidence, it can be said that God would never lead someone away from the truth of the Catholic Church into another form of Christianity.

That being said, you are correct in saying that the concept of being “outside the Church” may not be black and white. The Church recognizes elements of the truth in many religions, including non-Catholic Christian denominations. However, this does not mean that one would ever be led by God away from the Church. Why lead from the fullness of truth to only fragments of truth? That is not how God operates - and we are allowed to assert this fact because we are assured by God Himself that it is true.

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