If we have Jesus present in the Eucharist, why are many of the Catholic churches I have been to so poor at evangelizing?
I read Scott Hahn’s book on the New Evangelization recently, very good, and brings up a lot of good points.
If you really believe Jesus is with you bodily, would you not be a little more excited? I was fortunate to attend a good Baptist church for a while, and their presentation seemed to take what they called “The Lord’s Table” more serious than Catholics take the Eucharist. The pastor would speak for several minutes on how we need to take this seriously, and that it was for believers only.
If the New Evangelization started in 1979, why do so many Catholics still have no idea what it is?
The new Evangelization has been rather buried under the “new” everything else since Vatican II. IOW, cradle Catholics today are so overwhelmed with all this “new” everything going on, that they need very capable guidance at every level. This is not going to happen overnight.
People like Scott Hahn are lighting a fire under the laity however! You yourself will be one of the agents in promoting the New Evangelization. However, don’t be discouraged by the seeming lack of awareness on the part of your local community. Instead take the initiative yourself, and bring the New Evangelization to them!
The Catholic Church is so large, and has been around for 2000 years, so yeah, you can find something for every possible complaint. That’s why so many flock to non-denominational churches nowadays, which have been around for 5 years or so, and only serve folks like themselves.
The biggest drawback for evangelism is lack of doctrinal knowledge. Since the late 1960s catechesis was diluted so badly, generations of Catholics were ingrained in the idea religion is just a kind of misty feeling-good, have a nice day, nothing is absolutely true or right, everything is relative. Once you eliminate dogma, you eliminate evangelism.
In my former parish, the Evangelism committee became the hospitality group. Our job was to make everyone feel at home. We would make available literature but it was so vague. The general idea was that we want to become more pleasant, and help folks feel good about themselves, and about our community. We ended up with a very friendly parish, that was mostly empty. There are lots of friendly Catholic and Protestant parishes where I live, most of the half empty.
When the RENEW program came around 30 years ago, we constantly were told, well of course dogma is important but we need to pre-evangelize first; get people talking, thinking, feeling, opening up; then **LATER ** the doctrine will be brought in.
30 years later, we have had a few similar “programs” all of which said the same thing. And they never brought in any doctrine. So if your diocese or parish is talking about “pre-evangelization” argue in favor of skipping that. Bring in doctrine right from the start, along with the hospitality.
Legion of Mary does very good evangelization I’m not sure what you’re getting at. It’s really amazing when you see people come back to the Church after a 40-50 Years Gone and it’s really cool when people who never thought they would become Catholic become Catholic because you visited them. Of course Legion of Mary can’t be doing all the evangelization but I think that more folks should get involved if they can.
It is quite a joy indeed to share with non-Catholics the gift of the truth of the Eucharist. When you explain to folks about the true presence, it becomes a no brainier for them to want to become Catholic in order to have access to him - or at least go into a Catholic church where he is present. It is a true gift that he gave us and it is confusing why more people, especially Christians don’t want to take part in his presence.
It is important to understand that the church herself downplayed the real presence for decades. So that is a part of it. But also, it is such an unbelievable, hard saying, that I think most folks just shrug it off without taking it seriously. I know many Catholics who don’t take it seriously. That is a serious problem.
Here’s a theory. We view salvation differently…for us it can be lost and it is a process. For most protestants they confess Jesus, are saved forever and thats it, the race is won.
So therefore they are much bolder and confident in their approach. We are concerned about our own salvation and so we do not boldly evangelize others.
So the good news is for the reformed is that they do a good job evagelizing. The bad news is their theology misses the mark. Anytime Jesus is being introduced to someone thats a good thing, but the formation can be bad.
We need to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for boldness and He will surely grant it.
Catholics do understand the real presence, but for some, perhaps not to the fullest extent.
I think general secularization of society also plays a role. People don’t want to hear it. You can get fired, sued, or receive an angry reaction, so that scares people.
For others, it’s hard to realize. The bible showed this was a difficult teaching even at the beginning of Christianity. However, even the first bishops like Ignatius of Antioch professed the real presence.
I have read that the seminaries are turning back to a more traditional approach. I think that is good news.
I was at an outdoor rally where many people were kneeling before the Eucharist. That was awesome.
When I was at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, MA, I in front of the church, and saw 2 young women come out, and they walked carefully down the steps, always facing the open church doorway. Of course, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for adoration. They specifically determined not to turn their backs on our Lord, even leaving the church.
OK, we have the Eucharist. Jesus present in the Sacrament.
Read the scripture. Read the Catechism. Read the lives of the saints. Jesus is awesome. He raises the dead. Heals the sick. Brings people to God. He does signs and wonders. Awesome!
I want to meet THAT Jesus! I’m sure lots of people want to meet THAT Jesus! I’d love to evangelize and to bring people to meet THAT Jesus!
Imagine someone introduces you to the same Jesus who is silent and refuses to talk. Nobody is healed of their illness yet being touched by Jesus. How attractive is Jesus in that situation? It is quite disappointing.
Now, let’s bring someone to the Eucharist. Jesus present. He’s silent. He refuses to talk. Nobody healed yet Jesus touches them. Disappointing.
This is the reason people don’t evangelize.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.