Scary Catholic church buildings!

I was reflecting today about an occasion at which a non-Catholic came to our church to attend a baptism, and he was dressed to the gills and clearly uncomfortable to no end.

Do Catholic churches scare non-Catholics?

Not what goes on inside the church, some of the church buildings themselves horrify me though, especially those built after the post 1960s modern ugification.

I am a convert, I can tell you that I was not scared when I first entered a Catholic Church… Although if you have many statues, prayer chapels with candles, etc, etc. and a person who is not religious, and doesnt know Church teachings or devotions they may be a little freaked out… but it may just start a conversion (LIKE ME) :slight_smile:

God Bless! :highprayer:

I’m not sure of the connection you appear to be making. This guy was uncomfortable because he was dressed up and in a Catholic Church? How would his attire have anything to do with it? Unless everyone else was wearing the standard Catholic Sunday attire of jeans and football jerseys. :smiley:

What did he appear to be uncomfortable about?

There is a gift of the Holy Spirit called “Fear of the Lord”, by the way.

No, But people are aware that Catholics take their faith very seriously, and I’m sure he felt compelled to make a good impression and exhibit a high level of respect.
A family Baptism is a big deal. I’m sure his relatives were pleased.

Good for him. Now if we could only get the cradle Catholics to dress appropriately…:rolleyes:

No kidding!

Even in Canada (where we get about two weeks of summer), we still get girls showing up at Mass in tank tops and short shorts. Where has the reverence gone…:mad:

When people have no sense of self-respect, it’s kind of hard to get them to grasp the concept in other settings.
Pray for our youth, that their eyes may be opened. That’s all we can do. Mandating appropriate dress will just give them an excuse not to come back It’s sad, no?
God bless you.

I’d like to know why the parents of said girls (and the guys, too, let’s be fair) allow it. Pray for their parents, that their eyes may also be opened.

In many Protestant worship houses where the congregation is mostly African-American I see a lot of the people dressed up to the last minute. So as I can see there shouldn’t be any reason for people to come to church dressed like they just came from the beach.:shrug:

I was afraid to enter a Catholic Church, because I had been taught that it was the church of the devil. That stuck, as I went a Catholic Church for the first time as an atheist, I felt like I was doing something really wrong. Along with the feeling that as an atheist, I was messing something up for the believers, somehow.

Also, coming from a background where the churches I went to as a child/teen were purposely very plain, white walls, no paintings, but there was an American flag in the corner…the volume of art and color in the church was overwhelming. I remember thinking our Cathedral was like being on the inside of a Faberge egg.

Then add in the liturgy itself, which is very extravagant compared to what I was raised with, and I felt like a foreigner in a foreign land.

I focused on what I did like. The sun coming in through the stained glass, the hymns, the prayers. As I went to Mass every Sunday I felt uncomfortable for a long time, mainly because I didn’t get what was going on, and just as I thought I had it figured out something new and weird would happen, like handing me a palm leaf and then blessing it. Weird! :smiley: I took the leaf home and told my husband I had a blessed leaf! He said, oooookay. It took a full year of going to Mass to feel completely comfortable. As Palm Sunday came around again and I understood what was going on, the experience had become amazing, though, a blessed leaf still strikes me as unusual. :slight_smile:

Catholic churches and all things associated to them are very foreign to a lot of people. It is not unusual to feel uncomfortable, but at the same time, feel like you just need to keep going back. Recommend to any newcomers to focus on what they do like.

Most English speaking countries have at one time or other been under the cultural or political influence of either Britain or USA, both Protestant nations. As such the Catholic faith is unfamiliar since it has not been part of the culture of any of these places.

Couldn’t agree more. I love old church buildings, Protestant or Catholic. On our Good Friday crosswalk in our town we got to see a few old Protestant buildings that were just beautiful, inside and out. They just have a character modern buildings lack.

It may interest you to know, if you didn’t already, that the palm leaf has a long history of tradition within the Jewish religion.

Of course, we use the palms in imitation of the Jews who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem before His passion and death, but there is a reason they did that, and it wasn’t something they just came up with on the spot.

The palm branch is used specifically in the Feast of Tabernacles. You can read about it more here:

From Leviticus, Chapter 23:

[40] And you shall take to you on the first day the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.

As indicated in the link I provided, the Feast of Tabernacles is a remembrance of the Israelite’s time in the desert, after being freed from Egypt, and before entering the promised land. During that time, they dwelt in tents, or “tabernacles.” The palm branches are taken up to rejoice in God, who is their salvation and providence.

The tabernacles constructed during this feast have palm branches placed on top of them. They are a three-fold reminder of God’s freeing them from Egypt, providing for them in the desert, and bringing them into the abundant promised land.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it was not the Feast of Tabernacles, but rather the Solemnity of Unleavened Bread (the Pasch) was approaching. The Feast of Tabernacles wouldn’t be for another seven months (September/October). We should therefore take it as a sign inspired by the Holy Spirit that the Jews welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem by placing palms at His feet.

It is unlikely that they understood the import of what they were doing, but here it is: By laying the Palms at Jesus’ feet as He entered Jerusalem, they were “rejoicing before God.” They were also calling to mind the freedom that God gave them from the Egyptians, and His Divine Providence. Perhaps they truly believed that He was the Messiah, but after an earthly fashion, believing that He would free them from the Romans, as Moses had freed them from the Egyptians.

We see it now as Him freeing us from the weight of sin. So, when we take up the palms, we do so rejoicing before God for the salvation that He wrought through Jesus Christ, from our sins. This fulfills the practice done by the Jews in their Feast of Tabernacles.

One final note: we bless our palms because during the Feast of Tabernacles, Jews pray a blessing over palms every day of the feast (which is seven days).

Don’t you love how it all fits together?! I love it!

In the town I grew up in, there are indeed some beautiful old Protestant church buildings. Even buildings that are not churches have a character about them if they are beyond a certain age that modern structures do not have. I will say that one exception to that would be the John Deere Administrative Center in Moline, Illinois. Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1963, it uses weathering steel with a glass facade and fits in with a rustic

They don’t scare this one, at least, I don’t think they do. Should they?

I have seen Protestants uncomfortable in Catholic church settings. Some of it (I have been told) has to do with the logic and certainty of what goes on, and the fact that others are familiar with it while they are not, but find themselves sort of flowing along with the logic anyway.

Most Protestant services of any kind are sort of ad hoc and loosely structured. Many have no internal progression or logic to them. Catholic liturgies and sacraments are very structured, and Protestants find themselves “going with the flow” without knowing what comes next, although everybody around them knows what comes next.

I can see how that can be disconcerting. I’ll also say some find it beautiful and logical. I have been told by some how impressive it is that it flows the way it does and that everybody in the congregation knows the flow. One of the oddest comments one made to me once was that he was impressed how a Mass ended. Everything about it told him the end was coming, and when it came it was clear, definite and made sense. He said it was, to him, the “perfect finish”.

I have heard Protestants say they’re impressed that everybody in the congregation knows the words of the prayers and the responses, and not only knows them but says them.

It can be difficult for us who are so used to it to realize how Protestants react to Catholic sacraments or liturgies.

Thanks, that is great info.

Before inquiring into the Catholic faith, Palm Sunday was one of those holidays on a calendar I purchased at Hallmark. Something important to someone somewhere, but who knows why or what. Now of course, it is wonderful. Amazing. And I do love Palm Sunday, particularly the readings. But a blessed leaf is still unusual as compared to BC (before Catholic). :slight_smile:

Haha same here. I’m pretty lucky though, my church was built in the 60s and it seems to have avoided most of the ugliness of that era. Most of it.

However, I did just discover recently that one of the stained glass windows in the back has a surfer dude in it. Talk about scary…


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