If the Eucahrist is Jesus - why is the Church like this?

I am a recent convert. Studied my way out of Protestantism, largely based on Sola Scriptura not being true. But I have a nagging question.

I have been to multiple parishes around my state. If we have something none of the Protestant churches do in the Eucharist, why do almost all (found one partial exception) the Catholic churches rank below the Baptist one I was in, regarding:

  1. Being welcoming and joyful
  2. General knowledge of the faith
  3. Willingness to discuss faith
  4. Dedication - willing to commit extra time to the church community. 1 hour mass and
    out ASAP! Not much fellowship after, or other participation in study or classes.
  5. More divided politically - less dedication to the “non-negotiables” even in church leadership. This one REALLY bugs me.

I would think Jesus presence would reduce have a huge positive effect on the above?

Always remember this: Peter was Jesus’ chosen one. Peter walked hand in hand with Jesus. And Peter denied Jesus and turned his back on him. Judas walked with Jesus and was one of the twelve. And he sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. There has been division and strife in the Church since day one and there always will be. As to the other issues, I think it varies parish by parish. My parish has more activities than you could possibly participate in. We have wonderful ushers who greet everyone as they come in. There certainly has been a lack of catechesis in the past and thereby a reluctance for individuals to discuss their faith, but I think that is changing.

You have to keep in mind that, although the graces present in the Blessed Sacrament are infinite, we ourselves put up impediments to those graces. In this matter and in all others outside of graces to convert, we only receive those graces we are disposed to receive.

This is why receiving Holy Communion doesn’t instantly make us living saints.

You will find, however, that parishes usually have a core of Catholics who are incredibly devoted to the faith. You’ll usually meet those people in daily Mass, or in the various groups that churches have.

But above all, never forget that you can’t judge a medicine based on the actions of those who need to take it but yet refuse.

And even more importantly: don’t forget that not everyone has the graces that you have had. Maybe you only participate with graces 10 percent of the time, and maybe someone else has had fewer graces, but participates with almost all of them. Maybe if they had been given what you have been given, they would already be saints, whereas you and I are still struggling. Moreover, maybe God hasn’t given them all the graces He eventually will, and maybe you are, in a certain sense, looking down and judging those who will have a higher place in heaven than you.

First off, as the previous poster said, there are plenty of parishes that have lively “parish life.”

But a lot of parishes had their parish life killed off, in the aftermath of Vatican II, by well-meaning people who thought they understood Vatican II to mean that you shouldn’t have the Legion of Mary going out evangelizing for Jesus door to door anymore, that the Holy Name Society for men was worthless, that praying the Rosary was worthless, that the Altar Guild making vestments and altarcloths with their own hands was worthless, that kids learning apologetics and theology to defend the faith was worthless, etc., etc. People were told that everything they liked about being Catholic was wrong, or a waste of money, or taking bread from the poor, or evil. And that they were the only ones who were complaining, and that was disobedient and evil. (There wasn’t any Internet to help people compare notes among parishes, either, or to help people find out what the Vatican II documents actually said.)

If you really want to understand how total the die-off was, find a parish that has a collection of church bulletins online. My old parish used to have theirs up, and I wish I’d saved them all; they were very telling. Over the course of maybe five years in the late sixties, all the old church groups disappeared, except the Knights of Columbus, CYO sports, and the various Scout troops. All the new groups were pretty ephemeral. It took until maybe the 1980’s for new groups to take hold.

The ironic thing was that lay involvement in that parish was killed off mostly by laypeople, in the name of greater lay involvement. Yeah. Amazing how some people know what’s good for us. And it was a time when people actually harassed other people about how they prayed inside their own heads. Nothing like a little attempt at mind control to really mess up personal devotion.

So yes, parish life was gravely wounded in many places, and it hasn’t come back all the way yet. People were taught to be unsure about their religion and what would be showing up next week that they’d be expected to do, so you still get a lot of that. People were taught by experience that it was safer to keep their heads down and to drag their feet about changing anything or doing anything, so you still get a lot of that.

(And then, of course, there have always been a lot of Irish and other ethnic influences, which basically make people shy about talking about religion in public, or getting to know people quickly. But that’s a whole other post.)

  1. If I walked into a church and saw everyone belly laughing, back slapping and being loud, I would think that church is selectively preaching the gospel to it’s people. Health and wealth type stuff, like…’ your so great, who can be against you if the Lord is for you. God has superabundance waiting for you!’ These types of churches are unbalanced.

Being Catholic is not necessarily welcoming and joyful. It’s hard, it requires discipline. It’s worth doing. It’s not a backyard BBQ.

2., 3., and 4. Lack of Catechesis since the 1970’s

  1. Be more specific. Bishop’s do have some authority to spread the gospel according to what works best for their diocese.

Historically, German Catholics would also have an attitude of, shut up and get to work. The German and Irish Catholic influence in the U.S. is huge.

It’s a hard balance - I don’t want to look down on others. I love scripture, and Philippians 2:3 is one I need to keep focused on.

I am working on a presentation for CCD class, one of the most asked questions is “Why do we have to go to church?”

One of the reasons I have found the Church is there for:

Ephesians 4:12Revised Standard Version (RSV)

12 “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,”

When our community is not doing this, it gets harder to convince people they should go.

I spent most of my life without Christ until a few years ago. I am 42 now, and I don’t want to see this happen to others if I can help. I pray that God keep me humble, and make me something he can work through.

I am in a challenging area, tough place to come in to the Catholic Church, as ours is not as strong. Our Pro Life people wanted to put some info in with the bulletin they got from the USCCB, and were told No. Seems we avoiding controversy is a high priority.

“This” has been going on since the beginning.

When the early Jews got the Ten Commandments and Moses was meeting face to face with God … DAILY! … they turned their backs and worshipped Baal.

They had a face-to-face relationship with God!

After the Jews were led out of bondage in Egypt … THEY COMPLAINED.

For that, they wandered around the desert for 40 years.

AND, one of the twelve Apostles betrayed Jesus!!! [How could he DO that???]

Samuel said he would convert everyone … in the end, he despaired that even he might not be good enough.

“Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

We need to rest and reflect in God one day a week. It balances our work and the fact that we are living in the world, surrounded by distractions.

Children might understand something like… ‘You know how when your out playing, your parents don’t want you to go to far away? So you can hear their call when they need you to come back.’

Interesting. I left the protestants for many of the same reasons you find lacking in your post I find the CC to be far friendlier. When ever I went to a Baptist church, the people seemed friendly, but for the most part, it turned out to be very shallow.

While Catholics might be a bit more reserved, when you go to the trouble of getting to know them, it is a meaningful exchange, and relationship. I would much rather have that then something surface and plastic.

I always felt uncomfortable with the “alter call” thing. That was so embarrassing. They would work their way around, and if you were new, you knew you were going to have to fend them off. On the good side of things, their youth programs were great.

Well stated.
The laborers are few.
No worries. There’s a lot going on behind that scenes that you probably have no clue about. I know that is true for my parish. Much depends on the leanings of the Pastor. Ours is a super happy welcoming kind of guy. Yet, some parishioners think he is silly and not reverent. He’s joyful.
You can’t win for losing. Someone always thinks we’re doing it wrong.
We’re not. This is the reason, frankly, that there are so many “other” churches.
Opinions. Factions.
Glad you found your way home.

Refuse what?

I look at it like this.

Someone takes a sobriety pill (to remove alcohol from the bloodstream) and then immediately drinks a case of beer. Yes, they took the sobriety pill, but they’re staggering around drunk.

Someone takes a cholesterol reducing pill, then immediately eats foods high in cholesterol. Their cholesterol is high despite taking the pill.

Someone takes a diet pill then sits down and eats a quart of ice cream. They’re still obese despite taking the medicine for years.

The medicine works. We can undo it quickly and easily.

I currently attend a parish of German origins. It’s “traditional”, moreso than many in the area, but is still missing that special warmth and reverence of a French parish I used to go to in another state. No bells, no smells. The French one was just amazing every Sunday.

Maybe it’s nothing to do with the heritage, but I sometimes still miss my old parish. Still, it’s proper worship in the one true faith. I try to set my mind on the reality of what’s going on: the celebration of the Church in Heaven and on Earth together, at the same time, in the same place. Sometimes I don’t feel it. That’s okay. I have my own impediments to work through.

This is refreshing - it’s not something I have heard much - but is very in line with what I see to be true.

Please keep patient with me. I was “born again” just recently, so spiritually I’m probably about two. But I have a large appetite, so hopefully it helps me catch up.

Markie, I don’t know where you live, but I bet somewhere there is a charismatic parish near you. I would call the diocese and find out who, if any, are part of the Charismatic renewal. Attend some masses there, or better yet, a bible study, and I bet you see the difference…

I’m part of a charismatic parish and people are welcoming and very warm. It’s different experience than going to a Basilica or Cathedral where people keep to themselves.

The church teaches that the disposition of our hearts matter. if a person is just going through the motions and fear God but don’t do things purely out of love for God (perfect contrition) they probably are not benefiting much from the sacraments.

Remember that Jesus says many on judgment day will claim to ‘know’ Him and perform mighty miracles in His name(paraphrase), and he will tell them depart from me I never knew you. These folks will come from every branch of Christendom, to include Catholicism.

Keep working your way to the Church Jesus established and working for the Lord :thumbsup:. Not to get off topic but Sola Scriptura is one of the main things that pulled me away from protestantism as I think it has been a miserable failure of a experiment. And I believe the Lord showed YOU that, too, for a reason :wink:

  1. Some Catholic parishes are more welcoming than others. A parish that I used to attend is very friendly and welcoming, every Sunday. I have been to other parishes and they aren’t nearly as friendly.

  2. Faith formation, whether CCD, RCIA, etc. needs to be solid. Some parishes may have programs that aren’t as solid as others.

  3. I know other Catholics who are willing to discuss faith, whether here on CAF or in everyday life. In fact, I have a very good friend through our shared Catholic faith.

  4. This is very individual. I know people who are involved in a lot of ministries and some that are not really involved at all. Maybe some people do not have the same amount of time due to work or family commitments/obligations. Some may only be available to help out before or after Mass, such as minding the donut and coffee table after church, being a greeter, etc.

  5. Church leadership. As one person said a large part of it depends on the pastor. Unfortunately, there are a lot of politics in some parishes.

People are human.

Even though we receive Jesus, that gives us graces, but we also need to be open to them.

Thank You Lenten Ashes - Thank You!:blessyou:

Jesus IS present in the Eucharist and the grace IS infinite but we are responsible for responding to that grace. Sometimes we do and sometimes we fall short. Such is the reality of life in a Church full of broken people in need of redemption.


Something that helps me is to go to the activities from a number of different parishes in my community and not just my own parish. One parish has a guest speaker coming to talk about Catholic missions in South America or another has a conference on the Holy Spirit or another has a Bible study or another has a monthly praise band or orchestral performance or another does a homeless outreach or food pantry volunteer activity or another has a monthly book club. All of these things are offered by the different parishes in my community. It is a lot of fun going from parish to parish, meeting new people and being involved in the greater Catholic community. So I really feel as if I am part of a city church as it was in the days of Acts of the Apostles. I have always been welcomed at these other parishes. Maybe that would help your situation.

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