My impressions of the Evangelical Lutheran church I visited

I attended a local Lutheran church this Sunday. I was greeted very warmly and personally at the door by a greeter. He really made me feel welcome.

I went to find a place in the pew, I’d gotten there a little early to have my choice. There were a few people already there. I had been told by the greeter that there was a children’s program today. I saw children preparing, dressed in Christmas story garb.

People started coming in. An older woman sat next to me and wanted to talk with her friends in the pew in front of me. She kept getting in my space to do that. People are very social before the service there. Once the service started I felt more comfortable, it does make a newcomer feel left out when people are socializing.

The children took turns in reciting a well constructed enactment of the Christmas story in rhymes and songs. It was great. This was interspersed with the congregation singing Christmas carols to a real pipe organ.The music was impressive! I love that pipe organ! The children sang very sweetly. They also had adult solos, very talented performers, one lady sang a Chinese Christmas song, she was Chinese. It was great.

After the service my greeter connected with me again. It turns out that he was a pastor there back in the 70s and 80s. He was a sharp, elderly man. He gave me a tour of the wonderful facility, showed me the indoor gymnasium that serves the children. Once a week at night the Church also serves the local homeless by providing bedding and showers. They alternate with other churches in this small town. Sadly, the Catholic Church isn’t one of them, I was disappointed to hear. A volunteer stays up all night to keep a watchful eye on the sleepers, who as you know are often mentally ill and unpredictable.

The service did not have anything other than the children’s excellent program and carols. This, of course, was unusual. No preaching or conventional liturgy.

I told the greeter that I would be back again. :thumbsup:

And how was your experience at the Catholic Church where you fulfilled your Sunday Mass obligation?

This post is about the Lutheran Church. Unfortunately, my local Catholic Church has an elderly associate pastor with a very scandalous history and I won’t be attending that church until he is gone. I won’t go into detail here for fear of offending this good forum.

While this Lutheran is glad you enjoyed a (rather unusual) Lutheran service, you should make good on the vows you took at your Catholic confirmation. Find another Catholic church, or meet with the bishop to express your concerns regarding the allegedly scandalous priest. :o

What synod was the Lutheran church?

The personal characteristics or wrongdoings of a priest do not remove the Sunday obligation of the parishoners. (nor the validity of the sacraments, for that matter)

As I said, this post is in the Non-Catholic section, and is about the Evangelical Lutheran Church. I won’t be discussing Catholic requirements or doctrine here. You most certainly can, but I’ll exercise my free will and not participate in that conversation.

Not to flog a dead horse, but you have most likely put yourself into a state of mortal sin and should consider confessing to a priest (no, not a Lutheran pastor) before approaching the Sacrament again. You might also look into the Donatist heresy which you seem to be flirting with. God bless and have a Merry Christmas.

Also, are you really surprised to receive the responses you have on CatholicAnswers forum? If you want people to laud your blowing off the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for a children’s song session you might have come to the wrong website. People here tend to be a bit more concerned for the souls of their brothers and sisters in Christ than that. Honestly, your post is no different than telling us about what a lovely time you had at your best friend’s wedding… to another woman. Not really the place to expect that. But you know that already don’t you? Seems like you might be looking for some Catholics who will tell you its a-okay to blow off Mass on Sunday. You might find a few here, but I doubt you’ll find all that many.

Praying for your return to Mass this weekend (after confession). God bless you.

Well, it seems to me that your mission is clear:
Go to confession,
forgive the priest his alleged failings (do you know for a fact, or is this gossip)
and finally, be the organizer in your parish that sets up a committee to enter into a inter-faith project for the homeless to get their showers! What a great ministry! One that you could organize and bring to your parish!
After that, you may inquire with the DRE if next year maybe you and your friends could help her facilitate the Nativity play at your parish for a Sunday after Mass, perhaps 4th Sunday of Advent or on the Epiphany?
The choir Director can be involved and invite her children’s choir to participate and support with the young voices. Keep in mind that in the Catholic Church we reserve carols for the Christmas Season, and not Advent though.
If you feel like you parish is lacking in the social aspects, then volunteer to make things happen.
The Eucharist is there to strengthen you, support you, and enflame you with the passion that it takes to get things done. All for the glory of God, and in thanksgiving for the Holy Eucharist.

I’m surprised…many ranged from condescending to judgmental, all without the charity Catholicism is noted for.:shrug:

I’m sorry, but I must interject, because I feel morally obligated to. You essentially just said, that if this person was to be involved in a bad car accident on the way home from work, and lost their life, they would possibly be going to hell for all eternity. All because they did not attend a Catholic mass this Sunday, and went to a Lutheran service, in what seemed to be good faith. That to me is downright heinous, and an inaccurate portrayal of the love, mercy and grace that is boundlessly flowing from the Godhead.

I truly am not trying to be offensive, but you must understand what you wrote. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that is not what you are saying because of how erroneous it sounds.

If you go back, take notes on what they do that is effective; and note what they do, that was not so successful. There are lessons to be learned here. Give them encouragement for their reaching out to the poor, friendly greeting, and all else that was good. You might ask them how they managed to recruit and train volunteers for their ministries.

Then go back to the Catholic Church. Do NOT come across as holier than thou. But DO pick out some people who might, possibly, be interested in making things better. Talk to them. A few people then gently go a parish leader, with a suggestion for one improvement at a time. The reason for helping the poor is not because the Lutherans are doing it, but because Christ did it. Tactfully point out what Pope Francis is saying! If people are open minded they might be willing to listen to the person who organized volunteers at the Lutheran Church to come over and share how they did it, to the Catholic group. If you get some practical ideas, share them on CAF, too.

But the most important thing you can do is pray. It sounds like the Catholic parish needs someone like you, to shake things up.

I would not presume to know the mind of God at all, but the teaching of the Catholic Church is clear: deliberately failing to attend Mass on a day of obligation IS a grave sin.

Similarly the teaching of the Catholic Church is clear, if one dies unrepentant in a state of grave sin they will not go to heaven.

While anything is possible with the infinite mercy of God, would you really want to risk your eternal soul in such a manner?

I’m not offended and I certainly understand what I wrote. Deliberately missing the Sunday obligation is grave matter and precisely does mean the person “would possibly be going to hell for all eternity” if they died without repenting. Such is the teaching of the Church, even if you find it offensive or “heinous.” See Canon 1248 and CCC starting at 2180. Such an action is a violation of the Third Commandment. If the action was taken deliberately and with knowledge that such an action violates Church teaching, it is a mortal sin and the person, again if they do not repent, will go to hell.

Of course, we only know, in this case, that the OP deliberately chose to miss Mass. We don’t know whether or not she understood what she was doing, which is why we can’t pass judgment on her actual situation (which we wouldn’t do even if we knew - such isn’t our place). It is, however, an act of charity to suggest she gets right with God. Certainly, she knows now that what she did violates her obligation to attend Mass each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. Thus, I’d hate to see her freely choose to miss Mass again.

But, I will return the favor and give you the benefit of the doubt now. Certainly you don’t think the immemorial teaching of the Holy Catholic Church (founded by Christ Himself) is “heinous.” Maybe you’re confusing a Sunday Obligation with apparently some kind of Sunday Suggestion. You’ll note “in good conscience” is meaningless here. You either fulfill the obligation or, if impossible to fulfill it for some reason beyond your control, the obligation is removed. Not liking the pastor, obviously, would not amount to such a reason.

Remember, “mercy flows within the Godhead,” but we have to be willing to accept that mercy - which requires repentance and a firm will to “go and sin no more.”

I do hope the OP came to this Catholic forum precisely to hear this, at the promoting of the Holy Spirit, of course. Repent and believe the Gospel, not do whatever your conscience bids, is after all the most charitable thing ever said. God bless and have a Merry Christmas.

Of course, the teaching of the Church is the teaching of God. As such, it reveals to us the “mind of God.” God doesn’t lie to us through His Church. If we die in mortal sin, we go to hell - forever. That might not be popular anymore, but no one taught that as firmly as the mind (logos) of God - Jesus Christ.

I want to thank you for your kind words about the service you attended. As a more grumpy old Lutheran, the pastor might have heard from me a comment about the lack of sacraments and liturgy during the service.

As for your decision not to attend mass, from my own Lutheran perspective, needing nor desiring a response, forget the obligation. I’d encourage you to go because you need and want word and sacrament. That’s the reason to go. Don’t deny yourself these wonderful, miraculous gifts of grace because of a particular priest.


Does “grave” = “Mortal.” I also would be very weary to think that an impassable God who is love, would damn a soul for not attending mass.

"Do not despair; one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned.” - St. Augustine

I think the above words would apply to this conversation. Making assumptions of a persons eternal destination, by doctrinal deductions, is a road I would stray far away from. I am also not Catholic, I do not subjugate myself to this doctrine, and I have to say, I’m glad of it.

With that said, I wholly respect the RCC and find it a beautiful light in a dark world. But I do not find some of its teachings as true, therefore, I am not Catholic. This would be one of those moments where I disagree.

No, there are three conditions that need met for a sin to be mortal.

  1. Grave matter (present here - violates the 3rd c)
  2. Deliberate action (present here - she wasn’t forced to skip Mass)
  3. Full Knowledge (unknown here)

If all three conditions are met, the soul is in a state of mortal (deadly) sin. If the person dies in this state they will go to hell forever. Such is the teaching of the Church. Remember, St. Augustine taught the humanity was a “massa damnata” with most people going to hell. I’d suggest you read his writings more widely than that one pull quote.

You might also remember that God doesn’t damn people to hell in the way you are envisioning. We all choose whether we go to hell or heaven, not just by our words but by our actions and whether we repent or not. Those who love God will be saved. But they will also avoid mortal sin like the plague and repent when they do fall. You might be interested in what St Catherine of Siena, doctor of the Church, had to say about this. I go into some detail here:

The Hell We Choose. An Advent Call to Holiness.

Freely choosing to commit a mortal sin is basically telling God to get lost. We can’t blame God (or appeal to some sentimental idea that God loves us so much He forces us to be with Him against our will - a spiritual marriage replaced by a spiritual rape) when we’ve reject Him, die outside of His friendship, and end up in hell. It isn’t His fault. It’s always the sinners.

This is basic Catholic 101 stuff. Do you happen to have a Catechism of the Catholic Church on hand? Reviewing some of the Church’s teachings on sin and hell might be helpful.

As a forum elder, I’m sure you know this post violates the terms of the site.

I don’t no how you chose to go there,maybe you were invited as someone’s guest,but there was nothing wrong with going there. You might take some of the ideas like the business with the homeless or some other features they had and mention them to some leaders at the parish.You mention this older priest and about him being an assistant? Who is the main priest,do you trust him at least? He might not have a choice who his assistant is.
In any case, you can try to maybe start a food pantry for the poor or other things to help those in need.You might even have some other parishioners willing to help.
Is there another catholic church nearby you can go to?
In the case of this priest, I would pray to Our Lord and Lady that they might help him to change and give himself over to God’s Mercy. If he isn’t doing any of the previous behaviour at this time, then I would just pray for him. Besides sometimes people don’t like others and are not above spreading nasty rumors about them.I’m not saying you are but your feelings for this man had to have come from somewhere.

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