Hello everyone, I hope everyone is doing well.
I need your answers, I am in quite of a dilemma regarding my church.
We are having problems hanging on to our youth in the church, due to the actions of the parishioners that currently attend our church.
Let me further explain.
Alot of our youth feel that our church parishioners are very judgemental. People talk about eachother, talk about who is at church or who is not. What this person or that person wears to church, bring up personal political beliefs, and on top of all this, the common consensus among a couple of us is that there is several families among the church that are responsible for this horrible trend. These families to me, are only concerned with what their families are doing and that is all, and to add more icing to the cake, they are some of the big doners of the church, so the priest kind of has his hands and tongue tied in my opinion, what is someone supposed to do in my situation where there is nothing anyone can say to anyone without coming off as being disrespectful or rude?
Please Help me and Pray for me and Our Church.
Hello everyone, I hope everyone is doing well.
Wouldn’t the easiest solution just be not to listen to these people?
There comes a point for all of us, when we have to learn not to listen to certain people. Sounds like this is that time for you & your friends, and your children.
Very True, but a Church is defined by the fruits it creates and i’m not necessarily concerned with the way I feel about it, im concerned with the way the Church looks on the outside, maybe to someone who wants to come and worship, people aren’t really friendly and make it difficult for people just to come and worship with no baggage.
True, but how are you going to stop these folks? About all you can do is, if they bring up those subjects to you, ask what that has to do with anything. You can’t really tell them to stop talking, or what subjects they’re allowed to talk about.
If you & your friends & children ignore their chatter, and create a welcoming atmosphere for new members, that’s what visitors will see.
It can be very hard not to get upset about this type of thing, especially as it is found in a lot of communities. From experience, I have learned that many people are totally oblivious to the consequences of their behavior. They believe that they are doing the best for the Church and are devout, but their tone, language or behavior is seen or experienced by others differently. There will always be the tiny minority who think they run or own the Church to the irritation of others and cannot or won’t accept that they are driving people away.
It is not clear from your post when or where these people are making the comments. If it is at socials, could you avoid the socials? Maybe ask the priest if you could have a youth social and if you could chose some older parishioners to assist or if you can run something yourselves without interference.
If they are approaching people directly criticising their clothes and the clothing is modest, I can only suggest politely walking off with some excuse e.g. “Sorry, I really have to go”. I mischievously nearly suggested responding by asking “Is that log in your eye painful?” - I wish I had the wherewithal to say something like that at the right moment.
Sorry, that I can’t be of real help, other than to say keep praying and try not to be drawn in to the trap of becoming a second group with the same weakness. Oh and one other thing, your poor parish priest would probably welcome any support and friendship you have to offer.
Aren’t you participating in what you are accusing others of, gossiping and judging? Avoid gossips, never feel the need to respond.
The people you describe are very sad people. They cling to their pompous authority as they are too blind to see clearly. They are everywhere, perhaps to test our own faith. Cling to the cross and bow in humility to The Lord, have faith that all will work out in His time.
My Parish was falling into the same trap, and we were down to 2 teens and 2 small (under 7 years old) children. Our priest was very good friends with those who started and continued the problem. (It was his first parish after being ordained.) Don’t know just what happened, but although our priest should have remained for 3 more years, the Bishop suddenly transferred him to another, larger city with an assistant priest and 2 Deacons already there. We were assigned a new Priest (from Nigeria, originally) who was really spoken of rudely prior to his arrival, lots of complaints from the “controlling” group about his probable accent and his color (we are in the South). Lo and behold, one month after this wonderful new Priest arrived, with his constant homilies about loving one another as we love God, suddenly the gossip and criticisms stopped, and those who complained the loudest about his coming (and who also said they would leave when he came), are now changed, kinder, and his biggest supporters. We are also starting to get more young people back into the Parish! Wonder if the Bishop didn’t have someone visit a couple of times, and figured out our young Priest was not the right one for this location??
God does have a tendency to straighten things out, especially when those of us who hope to see an improvement start really praying!
If your priest feels “trapped” and is not supportive of these people, give him friendship and support and lots and lots of prayer!
I find the best thing to do for people like this is to pray for them.
I’m afraid I was struck by the same idea when I read the original post.
Understanding that I am probably wrong, because how can you know someone from an online post? But anyway, the OP strikes me as a person who is genuinely concerned about something that he or she has some reason for thinking is a serious problem involving the behavior of other people in his or her church.
What I don’t see is how that differentiates the OP from the people about whom he or she is concerned.
FYI, “the common consensus among a couple of us is that there is several families among the church that are responsible for this horrible trend” means “I and a couple of my friends gossiped about this and decided to blame these people.” The people about whom the OP is complaining could easily say (and possibly have) “the common consensus among a couple of us is that so-and-so is missing mass,” or “… is voting for gay marriage,” or whatever. Neither the OP nor the people about whom he or she is complaining has any business making any such judgements, unless the people about whom they are making the judgements are people to whom they bear particular responsibility–e.g. they are talking about their own children or close friends (and then of course the judgements should be made to the people in question).
Basically there are several reasons not to judge. Here are a few:
- You may be wrong about what is happening.
- You may be wrong about who is responsible.
- Your implication that the Pastor of your church would fail to rebuke sinners from mercenary motives may be (and I hope it is) wrong.
- It’s not really your business.
- You may (as we all do) have failings that prevent you from seeing things clearly.
These reasons apply equally to the OP and to the people about whom the OP is complaining. Gossip is something to be concerned about. However, missing Mass is a mortal sin, and voting for pro-abortion politicians can, in some circumstances, be a serious matter. Also, provocative clothing is uncharitable because it can lead others to mortal sin. So the difference is not that they are worried about trivial things and the OP is worried about important things.
As a person who has left the Church and known MANY others who have left as well (some of whom returned and some not), I can tell you that nobody leaves the Church because he feels that people are being judgemental. People leave the Church because they do not truly understand the nature of what happens there and/or they do not really understand what the Church teaches and why. If you truly understand these things, none of the sins of men can drive you away.
If the youth are not attending Mass, the response is to ensure that they receive better catechesis, and to show them that you REALLY believe what the Church teaches, not to add to the problem of gossip and blame that may already be present in your parish community. One of the reasons I left was because (arrogant youngster that I was) I thought that since Catholic teachings didn’t make sense to me, nobody around me really believed what they were doing. I didn’t put it to myself that way, but deep down it is what I thought. I know now that I was wrong, not only in general, but about specific people I knew then and now. It might have helped if I had understood that before, but it certainly would have helped to have some doctrine explained to me clearly by someone who wasn’t afraid to tell people he believed the whole thing.
I don’t believe I have ever doubted their piety or their character, it is their behavior that speaks for itself, and I honestly don’t think they do it out of malice either, i’m bringing an issue to light that I have perceived to be a great problem with the growth of our church. I still don’t see how I am gossiping, or judging, I don’t harbor hate for anyone, and I have not brought it to the attention of anyone in the parish, because I feel like I wont be taken seriously.
Thanks for the constructive criticism.
Thank you, you were a lot of help!
You dont understand, im sorry.
Thank you, you are awesome!
It’s certainly possible, since all I know is what you post. But you should lift it in prayer to make sure that no part of my comments are right. Because, as you say of those you are criticizing, they are of good character as you are; they are not acting out of malice and neither are you; you have discussed problems that you feel are serious with others in your parish as they have. Neither you nor they are acting out of hate, but out of feeling that you know what someone else is doing that is wrong that is hurting people.
If nothing else, then understanding how similar you are to them may help you speak to them about the issue if the opportunity arises.
I understand you now, thank you!