Protestants: How Can You Not Be Catholic, After Viewing a Catholic Mass?

I just wondered after Protestants see the Holiness at a Catholic Mass, since Jesus was Holy, why not be Catholic? I have heard many conversions after attending church services, and even one convert who was Jewish (Edith Stein), who walked into a church, felt the Holiness of the people praying and knew where her calling would lie.

1 Like

My first mass was in Austin Texas during a friend’s wedding in college…now granted we had all gone to his bachelor’s party the night before but I do not drink and so while tired I was pretty alert.
What I do remember is it seemed a little plain on the inside; certainly less stain glass than the Episcopal Church I was attending at the time for a brief period of my life. I was confused; did not know what to do. The sermon (homily) was very short and in general people smiled at me a lot. That is what I remember. It did not make a tremendous impression either way. I also attended mass with my brother, a convert, a few years back and with a friend at her church as well. LIke I said, I was not overwhelmed or underwhelmed either way. Those are my memories of it.

What? No mention of the Eucharist??

1 Like

Although I was baptized Catholic, I was not raised in any faith, as I was adopted…now coming back to the Catholic Church at 42, I wish I had found it sooner.

I did go many times with my future mother-in-law when I was preparing for marriage, but I found it very difficult to understand and it seemed way to formal… I never did get married in the Catholic Church as my finance refused to go…and said he would not raise his children in the faith…so I said…then what are we doing here?

Its funny how we never know when the time has come…

I wonder if I had of been raised Catholic if I would still feel the same towards the faith…
my birth siblings and birth mother, although this is sad, dont go anymore…

I just cant believe it…but there ya go ,

just my experience

1 Like

Although I am sure the procedures are different than the Episcopal Church which I had probably been to…a dozen or so times in college, it must have not been enough so to make a huge impression on me. I did not go forward naturally.

The Catholic Churches were once beautiful years ago, but ever since, they have changed the appearances of the Churches by taking out Crucifixes and Holy statues and replaced Wax Candles with mechanical candles and that is one reason why the Catholic Churches appear to be cold, because man has CHANGED things.

When I went to my Catholic Church years ago, I got a feeling of warmthness and I loved it, now it is not the same, but I still go because it is my Church and I will not lose faith. If you can take a look at St. Patrick’s Cathderal, in New Yokr City. do so. Look it up on line it should still be the same. My point is, whatever is beautiful should NEVER be CHANGED! Man has fallen to satan’s ways and changed a lot about the Churches. But that should not keep us from going, because the masses are still valid.

Lmora :highprayer::

I did visit this church and it was STUNNING on the inside…but I was even more confused than I was at mass:D
I have been inside the Catholic Cathederal with our confirmation classes and it is absolutely beautiful as well

Do you really want to know the answer to your question?

I was evangelical Protestant for 47 years before converting to Catholicism.

I can list a dozen reasons off the top of my head why a Catholic Mass would not convince an evangelical Protestant to become Catholic. You won’t agree with these reasons, but that’s because you are NOT an evangelical Protestant! You have to get into someone else’s skin and try hard to see it from their point of view.

  1. Mass Holy?! Not to an evangelical! Evangelicals see it as a big fancy piece of theater, but not nearly as entertaining as real theater. To an evangelical, PEOPLE are holy, not buildings or pictures or statues or organs or a piece of bread in a box.

  2. Statues–many evangelicals take the commandment about “no graven images” very seriously and consider such things idolatrous. Even if they know that the Catholics are just honoring the memory of great saints, they still believe that many Catholic Churches glorify men over Jesus Christ because they see more images of Mary and the saints than Jesus. (They do not realize or accept that Jesus is Truly Present in the Tabernacle.)

  3. The Crucifix. Evangelicals believe that we serve a RISEN Lord, and they do not often contemplate a dead Christ.

  4. The music. Face it, most Catholic music is dead as a doornail and most of the people at Mass do not even open the hymnal, let alone sing. Although some evangelicals enjoy ancient styles of music, most do not. They expect rousing traditional hymns, choruses, and Gospel solos, sung “lustily” in the words of one of the Wesley brothers. To an evangelical, if the music is so dead, the people must be “dead” in their souls, too.

  5. The unfriendliness. Evangelicals expect people to come up to them and introduce themselves and ask if they are visitors. When Catholics ignore everyone around them to sit staring stone-faced staring at a box, the evangelical thinks, “Where is the love here?”

  6. Open-eyed prayer. This is extremely strange to most evangelicals. The very idea of leaving your eyes open to pray! They assume that most of the people aren’t praying at all, but just marking time and waiting for it all to be over so they can go home and drink.

  7. The homily. Evangelicals are used to hearing a three-point sermon taught by a pastor holding an OPEN Bible, and they want it to last for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer. Most of the sermons in evangelical churches last at least 45 minutes. A five-minute “meditation” is not acceptable, especially if there is no “meat” in the homily.

  8. Noisy children and babies. Evangelicals learn by listening. When they can’t hear, they don’t learn. In evangelical churches, babies are left in the nursery, or they are taken out IMMEDIATELY. And children generally attend Children’s Church, where they are taught age-appropriate lessons from the Bible, and songs that are meant for children, not old people. Babies and children will distract an evangelical.

  9. Hypocrisy. This happens in the Protestant churches, too, but I think that in the Catholic Church, it happens more often because it’s OK for Catholics to attend Mass even if they are caught up in a sin. One of the “sins” that many evangelicals can’t tolerate is drinking alcohol. When they see a person sitting in the pew who they KNOW drinks, they have a hard time seeing that person as “holy.” Another sin is co-habiting. We ALL know Catholics who live together without being married. An evangelical doesn’t care WHAT happens at Mass–if it doesn’t affect human behavior, then it’s all a worthless bogus SHOW.

  10. “Canned prayers.” Unacceptable to evangelicals. It’s all ritual and it means nothing. Evangelicals expect extemporaneous prayers straight from the heart.

  11. Liturgy. A work of MAN! NOT HOLY! Ritualistic with occult and pagan origins. Downright frightening, especially when it’s done in Latin with chant. It smacks of the occult to an evangelical.

  12. The transubstantiation. This is something that Protestants do not accept. They believe that Communion is merely a memorial, not an actual sacrifice. They consider it evil to continue to sacrifice Jesus over and over again.

I could go on and on and on! I know you’re screaming, NO, NO! They don’t understand.

That’s right. They don’t understand. Evangelical Protestants love to study, and it’s up to YOU to help them study and gain understanding.

And if you’d like, I can post the list of things in the Mass that WILL convince an Evangelical Protestant to become Catholic! It’s not totally hopeless.

the real question would be why expect someone to convert simply from seeing one mass? without any explanation or prep or gift of grace to somehow know what the Eucharist is the mass might not touch someone as much as a dynamic preacher in another church. people only see the externals like stand sit kneel if they have no understanding.

[quote=OneTrueCathApos;]I just wondered after Protestants see the Holiness at a Catholic Mass, since Jesus was Holy, why not be Catholic?

Why don’t Catholics become Episcopalian after attending a* Scottish Communion Service of 1764*? It radiates the same Holiness as The Tridentine Mass.


I actually go to a Catholic Church fairly regularly. During the school year there is a Catholic Mass every Sunday evening at my university in the college chapel.

I find the experience to be very peaceful and relaxing, more so than that of other servies I’ve been to, sometimes I think it’s just the architecture of the church itself.

But once you walk out of those big wooden doors and the Mass is over, and you try to experience Catholicism outside the church walls, it’s a different experience entirely. You have to deal with people instead of just with God. And people, as we all know, can be rash, fickel, judgemental, self-righteous, and condescending (myself included), especially when it comes to matters of their religion. I have approached the idea of becoming Catholic whilst trying to be honest about beliefs I held that contradicted Church teachings, and the reaction I got was, at times, nothing short of appaling.

As a result, I decided to keep my faith the way it has been my entire life, between me and God.

I think that it is the concept of offered sacrifice that may make for
a difficulty in understanding/accepting Catholic ritual.
[Not seeking agreement, merely offering explanation.]

Have often noted the emphasis placed on the words of Christ
[by other Christian churches]:
“It is finished” - and Paul’s observation that Christ died, once, for all…
so in the thinking of many Christian churches, there is no need to offer
the sacrifice of Christ all over again - as is the nature of the Mass,
with the priest as *alter Christus *[another Christ] - calling the attention of the Father
to the sacrifice of His Son, and offering this sacrifice daily.

If one accepts the concept that animal sacrifice, in the Temple in Jerusalem,
had now been replaced by the perfect sacrifice - Christ Himself - it makes
a kind of sense - to adhere to the practice of daily Temple animal sacrifice,
now offering Christ’s sacrifice, daily, in the Mass.

Did God, in His omniscience, know that the practice of animal sacrifice,
at the time of Christ, would not continue throughout the coming millenia?
Is there something about the human heart that requires ritual -
in this instance, religious sacrificial ritual?

God created the human psyche.

“Take and eat…” may be God meeting the needs of the human psyche.
We are not disembodied spirits, which are the Cherubim and the Seraphim.
We are human, in nature. Wine, water, wood, bread - the staff of life -
lit candles at the seder, the Passover lambs, the unhewn stones of altars…
Who knows better - of the needs of the human psyche - than the Creator of same?

Just my thought. I needn’t share Christian belief to comprehend,
at least in part, the various theologies.


I have been to Mass whenever we visit our in-laws. The church itself is unimpressive, not looking like much more than an auditorium. I know, however that there are very beautiful Catholic Churches so I will deal with the Mass itself.

Despite the fact that the church has an organ, it has never been played while I have been there. The music is always guitar and a couple of other instruments. Singing is led by a person using a sound system that is far too loud and there is very little singing by the congregation.

The Mass itself does not appear much different than the service at the Presbyterian Church we attend at home.

With respect to the Eucharist itself, I find that it much less holy than and reverential than at my own church. The line is rather disorderly and there is a lot of chatter in the church. The whole thing is accompanied by the poor music. At our church, communion is taken in the pews with elders distributing the elements to the congregation. There is no noise except the pipe organ playing softly. The whole time is taken up with prayer and silent contemplation. When the bread has been distributed the whole congregation partakes together and the same thing happens with the wine.

I know that this is only my experience at one Catholic Church but from many complaints I have seen on these boards, it seems to be similar in many Catholic Churches. I am sure there are churches where things are different, such as in cathedrals or where the Latin Mass is performed but there is nothing at the church I have attended that would persuade me to become a Catholic.

Of course, there are also doctrinal differences that prevent me from being a Catholic. There are doctrines I just cannot accept and I could never be a cafeteria Catholic.

Because Episcopalian is an off-shoot of the Catholic church. Close, but no cigar.

Great post. Very interesting. I guess they say they follow the Word of God, only to misinterpret it and they aren’t really doing as Christ commands. Christ would of said “Do this as a symbol of me”, instead of “Do this in memory of me”.

Please post what will convince them. It should be just God’s Word that would convince them, interpreting it correctly, not the way that they want it read.

I hear what you are saying…I too have had some of those experiences, but I just see it as part of the package…I mean…I don’t agree with everything that I’ve learned about the Catholic faith, but I have chosen to become an instrument of God’s peace and I have never quite come close to the experience of inner peace as I have as a result of giving up my life to Jesus. I have been in many other churches over the past couple decades and I never found this to be the case.

I think you are wise to keep your faith between you and God…, but how I am coming to to an understanding of God is through daily mass (except I cannot take communion yet)
prayer, talking with Catholics, my priest, and being online in this forum…

Peace be with you

OneTrueCathApos, it sounds like you have a heart for evangelizing Protestants and bringing them home to the One True Church. That’s so nice!

But please be careful and try not to be so glib about accusing Protestants of interpreting Scripture incorrectly. You’ll get a lot further by respecting their knowledge, their scholarship, and yes, their interpretations, even though you disagree with many of their interpretations. Telling them that they have it all wrong is not going to build any bridges between you and Protestants. You can see already from my answer to your OP that there are a lot of things that you don’t understand about Protestants. They’re not as simple as you think.

There has been a lot of Protestant scholarship through the centuries and today as well. John Calvin alone is amazing in his brainpower (yes, I think he taught heresy). Modetn scholars like John R.W. Stott, R.C. Sproul, F.F. Bruce, J.I. Packer, and others are extremely well-read, knowledgeable in the ancient languages, in ancient history, and in the science of textual criticism. They are not country-hick fool yahoos who pick and choose passages that appeal to their emotions and ignore anything that’s too hard for them to comprehend.

R.C. Sproul in particular is fascinating for Catholics to read, as he actually DEFENDS much of Catholicism. (His main problem with Catholicism is the doctrine of indulgences.)

I would suggest that you get a copy of John R.W. Stott’s Basic Christianity. It will help you to get a feeling for the depth of knowledge and wisdom that these scholars have. John R.W. Stott is beloved by evangelicals for his loving, pastoral heart, too. He did a lot of good in the 1970s when the “charismatic movement” split so many Protestant churches. He brought reason and knowledge to the frey and made peace.

As I have said to others on this Board, it is entirely possible to read a document (or Scripture) and have different interpretations. Even the Catholic Church Bible scholars do not agree on the correct interpretation of every passage of Scripture.

Many of the non-scholarly Protestants (I would have classed myself this way) learn from these great Protestant scholars by reading their books.

I have found that the spirit one brings into a service (any service) and the willingness one has to be open to the spirit found there, is going to be very different for everybody who attends. The same service might be described as incredibly spiritual and inspirational by one person, and the one sitting next to him will describe how boring it was or how inane/stupid/long-winded the sermon was.

The spirit you bring will often overwhelm the one you find.

I don’t want to offend others but I must stick with what I know, and that is they interpret the bible incorrectly. Any Catholic will tell you that. I only read Protestant conversions to Catholicism. They are so interesting to see how they finally came home.
Could you tell me which Catholic church scholars who do not agree on the Scriptures? Certainly not the infamous Scott Hahn, neither Cardinal John Henry Newman, to name a few, nor Dave Armstrong.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit