The church is losing touch with working-class Catholics

At the end of the day, it’s on the individual to chose for or against Jesus.

It’s pretty hard to argue that the modern Church is some cruel and oppressive entity.

The fact is, the world holds out many cool and glittering prizes, and religious faith involves work.


America Magazine? The liberal Democrat-Jesuit publication? Not far into the op-ed, you can see that the writer desires guaranteed minimum wage, shorter work hours, socialized medicine, free child care, equality of outcome, blah blah blah.

Could it just be that the radical Jesuits have lost touch?


There’s no comparison imo. I’d take LSN over America Magazine any day.


It’s notable, though, that worldwide the number of Catholics is rising because of African countries which are generally poor.


I have problems with the article, too. Several of the examples given seem “off” to me; e.g., I don’t consider $50,000/yr a “poor” income. It’s not that far off from what my husband earns as a systems administrator contracted with an international computer company.

I also wonder why a 67-year old is working instead of collecting social security and living in a low-income senior housing project? I know that the poor have to work–but 67 years old? That’s retirement age in the U.S.

BUT…all this being said, I do think that it’s often difficult for working people to attend Mass!!! I wish the American Catholic church could please address this in a way other than saying, “Just don’t work on Sundays.” Tell that to my hospital lab supervisor :roll_eyes:

During the week, the daily Masses are held at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 am.–I work! My shift starts at 7:00 a.m., and getting in later makes it hard for my co-workers–we have a work flow that starts at around 6:30 a.m. (we take turns coming in early) and ends at 3:30 p.m., although with COVID, we have been coming in at 5:30 a.m. and staying until 5:30 p.m.!

For a blessed time, my parish tried a 5:30 p.m. daily Mass, which was nice, but again, with overtime work (even before COVID, we were freakin’ busy and often worked later than 3:30 p.m.), it just didn’t work out. The ideal daily Mass for me would be around 7:00 p.m., which, if you take a look at Evangelical Protestant churches–is when they do their Bible studies, midweek prayer meetings, and other activites!

But daily Mass is luxury that works mainly for retirees and working people with freedom of hours–sorry folks, but it’s the truth.

As for weekends, the sole Saturday (obligation) Mass is at 4:30 p.m.–this works for me when I am not working a weekend, but when I work weekends, we often don’t leave until 4:00 p.m. or later–it’s hard to dash from a 10 hour workday to Mass!

As for Sunday, the morning Masses are impossible for day shift workers. We are fortunate that our parish offers the last obligation Mass of the weekend on 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening–so that’s the Mass we usually attend when I am working a weekend. But I can see why many workers would be too exhausted to attend this Mass, and if they have small children–it’s just too late for them to be out, and it’s difficult to plan a supper around (eat before?? too early, eat after, too late!)

So–I think that Mass times needs to be examined. I get the feeling now that the Mass times are determined by retirees and well-off people who have freedom of hours. It would be worth it for parishes to solict the opinions of their SHIFT WORKERS who work weekends, and also their lower-income workers who often have very irregular working hours and very early or very late hours that leave them exhausted.


That’s kind of a negative assumption, I think there is some merit in what the article said about some of their real world struggles.


It’s America magazine, pass.


The Jesuits have merged from 3 East Coast provinces into one. They have had only a handful of novices lately, just 3 this year, from the whole US East coast!

America mag is sort of the flagship Jesuit media voice for the US.

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That’s weird - I wonder why they’re not attracting many vocations?
Especially with the example of such a prominent Jesuit as pope?


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Yeah, I’m not sure where this is coming from either. I’m a low income guy and I still go to church weekly!

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If I may, my perception is the attitude of most of responses seems to fall into two categories:

  1. “I don’t like the source, so I will immediately dismiss everything they say.”

This an uncharitable and lazy approach that puts people in stereotypical boxes instead of treating people as complex individuals.

  1. “If people aren’t getting their spiritual and physical needs met by the church, there is something wrong with them, not the church.”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with church teaching. However, I think we can all do a better job of evangelizing and outreach.


While it’s still technically a two way street, the Roman Church is hardly making itself available to it’s parishioners. When you consider most parishes have a majority population of working adults, having daily mass at 8am or 10am when the majority of the parish is at work, doesn’t help. Or only offering confession once a week, for 30 minutes to an hour? Compare that to Traditional Latin Mass communities who offer multiple daily Masses (early morning, morning and evening). Confession before each Mass. But the TLM communities are far and few between. And to be fair, yes, there are diocesan churches who still operate like TLM communities with multiple masses a day and daily confessions and the like. But these are exceptions, not the rule.

I also found that problematic, there are legitamite concerns and brushing them away like that is quite a diservice.

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Connecting the dots.


I’m curious though. I mean, I’m 64 myself, and while I grew up in Philadelphia where there were obviously TONS of churches etc. my grandparents lived out in the boonies, and at least back in the late 50s and onward, there weren’t Masses before 7:30 or 8 a.m. or at night for ‘the working people’. What there were to my memory were Masses at noon, which were shorter Masses, and from what I recall, a lot of working people attended those on their lunch hours. Of course again to my recollection more people had an entire hour for lunch (which allowed for getting to the church from work, getting back, and the shorter approximately 30 minute Mass).

And we didn’t have, to my memory, Saturday vigil Masses until I was perhaps 10 or so, so people did have to make it on Sunday, either earlier or later in the day. The bigger the parish, the more Masses.

What I’m meaning to say is that it seems that back in the day we had a better understanding of what Mass meant. IT was a sacrifice, not a ‘community meal’, and the focus was on the community worshipping God, and us adapting to that, and not on the Church needing to adapt its ‘meal’ to the needs of various groups.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a citizen of 2020 and not 1960 any more, and I’m all for helping people. But I find this article to be quite ‘off’ in its perceptions. What we need is to consistent about authentic Church teachings. Stop emphasizing the ‘horizontal’ aspect and get the ‘vertical’ in too.

The reason so many aren’t bothering with the Church and whinging that it ‘doesn’t meet their needs’ is that they’ve been taught to think that ‘Church’ not only ‘is’ them, but that THEY are the focus of the worship. Everything is to be about ‘them’. That being the case, if it is inconvenient for them or they find something more enjoyable than going to Mass, they’ll skip Mass because since Mass is all about them ANYWAY, it is just one of several ‘options’ that THEY can choose. And face it, one can find better fellowship at the local Elks. Why bother sitting in a pew and listening to some ‘rote stuff’ then?

After 50-60 years of many in the Church falling over themselves not to teach authentic teaching but to stroke their parishioners self-esteem it isn’t surprising to see so many who are now so full of themselves they have gone ‘beyond’ needing that particular church’s ego boo.


This is so true!

I seldom go to Confession because of the awful scheduling.

I know that we can make appointments, and that’s what I do. But I think there’s some value in waiting in a line with fellow Catholics who are repentant and desirous of having their sins forgiven. It’s a ministry to me personally to see others in the same situation as me!

It’s not just inconvenient–it’s impossible (barring a miracle that allows for transport of the human body, like Star Trek “beaming”).

The Catholic churches in our city are not located near the areas where the workplaces are, with the exception of one parish that is across the street from a hospital–but that hospital is in the process of closing down and many of its services, beds, and staff are now working at the NEW building that is outside of neighborhoods right off the interstate (to make it easier for the Western suburb dwellers to get there).

I work in another hospital that is in the inner city, but several miles away from the nearest Catholic church (which is the Latin Mass parish). And usually, we are so freakin’ busy that I usually take a 20-minute lunch–there’s no time to drive to a parish for a Mass.

I wish that the Catholic priests would come to the hospital more often and do the “rapid Mass.” This is what happens at the Catholic hospital in our city–apparently there, the priests have learned to say Mass in 15 minutes or less because they recognize that the employees and the families of patients just don’t have the luxury of even a half hour. GOOD FOR THEM!

I think that’s the answer–faster Masses. I know that to some, this seems disrespectful and sacriligious–is it? Wouldn’t it be better than offering Masses that only the elderly retired can attend (although those people should not be deprived of their Masses either!).

As for an early morning Mass–ours starts at 6:30 a.m.–I have to be at work by 7. It’s just not feasible. Why don’t they have that Mass at 6:00 a.m.? Then I could and WOULD attend!

Are you serious?


Your second point is valid. Regarding your first point…ok, semi valid. But America is down the street from the province office, and it has a history of starting with a predictable conclusion and then finding “data” to support it.

It, and its parent province, exemplify 'being out of touch with working class Catholics".

Yes, I am. I know that many older people continue to work. But many don’t because at 67, people can collect the maximum amount of Social Security that they earned.

Obviously the amount of SS can be a pittance depending on how many hours during a lifetime a person worked, and if this lady only worked for a short time and/or worked in a low-paying job, she will not be able to live on SS. I suspect that’s the reason she still has to work at age 67. It’s too bad, but it’s reality for many in the U.S.

If she was an immigrant to this country, she might have worked only for a short time and probably worked in a low-income job, therefore, only earned a small amount of SS pension money, and again, that’s why she has to work to earn enough money to live on. I understand that.

I also know that some people just love working and have no plans to retire every. Good for them!

But many Americans–like me!–are more than ready to retire at age 67. Heck, I’m 63, and if we were debt-free, I would retire even though I would be leaving some significant SS money on the table! I’m just tired, and I feel like work is getting harder. It seems that technology is moving much faster than I move, and I frankly have a hard time keeping up with all the computer stuff. Also, it’s getting to a place where we have to have an I-phone to be able to do certain tasks, and I still don’t have one and don’t really want one–I’m happy with my little flip phone.

I just don’t like my job anymore as so much of it is PCRs instead of reading plates (petri plates of agar with bacteria growing). It’s boring, and because the profession has not attracted a lot of young people, we are more short-staffed every year, and that means working every other weekend instead of every third weekend, and doing a lot of overtime, which makes me even tireder.

So yes, I’m serious. Why is she still working at age 67? Obviously, none of my business, but I think it’s worth asking.

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