What can be done to stem the losses from and reinvigorate the Catholic Church?

Hi folks,

It’s my first time posting. I’m a born Catholic but I spent most of the last six years away from the Church in a couple of Protestant churches. I came back to the Church after my evangelical mega-church, Mars Hill Church, imploded recently following a string of scandals. What was once one of the fastest-growing and largest nondenominational churches in America is dissolving at the end of this year. Sad. Not sad.

I’ve always been pretty much in agreement with Catholic doctrine. Sure, I have some trouble with the emphasis on Mary and a couple of other things but I think and have always thought that Catholic doctrine is the closest to the Truth of Christ. I have enough faith to know that I’m probably misunderstanding something in the areas of doctrine I have trouble with.

So, what drew me away for those six years? I think it’s an important question because I’m likely not an anomaly. Other Catholics have been drawn away, are being drawn away, and will continue to be drawn away for similar reasons. They are being drawn out of the Church to primarily Protestant/Evangelical churches, “spiritual but not religious” lifestyles, and to Atheism. The statistics attest to this. Thirty percent of adults raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic and 10% of all Americans are former Catholics. I’ll tell you what drew me away.

  1. The vast majority of Catholic churches I am familiar with have been dead and lifeless compared to the Protestant and Evangelical churches I have experienced. I’ve been to many Catholic churches as well as many non-Catholic churches all over the world. When I say “dead and lifeless” I mean that in a couple of ways.

A) Protestants and Evangelicals simply, from my subjective vantage point, have more genuine interest in living out their faith individually and in community than Catholics do. They seem to be much more “on fire” for Christ than most Catholics I know and encounter. And BTW, I know far more former Catholics than I know current Catholics. That is sad. The culture of the Catholic Church is to be subdued and restrained. But the mandate of the Great Commission requires a joy about our faith. I rarely saw that in Catholic Churches.

B) Protestant and Evangelical church services were typically much more alive than Catholic Church services. I saw a few exceptions to this, most notably a small Catholic Church on Guam in a quonset hut. For all of Mars Hill’s faults, it’s services were often joyful experiences brimming with life and energy. Obviously, engaging preaching, awesome worship music, and excitement are not the complete package but they also are good things when they focus Christians on the reality of the salvation offered by Christ.

  1. In addition to Catholic churches corporately driving Catholics away, the way individual Catholics walk in their faith is also responsible for the exodus of Catholics from the Church. In my case, I saw two primary ways this manifested itself:

A) Most of the Catholics I know now and the ones I have known for as long as I can remember are much more “check off the box” Christians than they are Christians who seem to have a genuine desire to engage in a personal relationship with Christ. They see Mass as a boring requirement that they’re supposed to do, not that they want to do. Their faith seems pharisaical rather than focused on love: more concerned about rules and regulations than mercy and humility.

B) Catholics do not know the Bible and Catholics do not know their faith. In my opinion, this is the single greatest weakness of Catholics today. If they knew their faith and they knew their Bible, it would mean that they were joyful and excited about their faith. However, that’s not the case. Protestants/Evangelicals, the “spiritual but not religious”, and Atheists can all peel Catholics away from their Church with relative ease because most Catholics have very little to no idea how to answer their questions and challenges. They could not explain their faith to another person beyond a preschool level (and I don’t mean that in the good, Matthew 18:3, sort of way). The classic question Evangelicals ask Catholics is “Why do Catholics say you need works to get into heaven when the Bible says faith is what saves you?” The typical Catholic is bewildered and flummoxed by this question. It doesn’t take too many more similar questions for the Catholic to begin seriously wondering and become convinced that the Catholic Church is in heresy and represents the whore of Babylon. This would not be the case if Catholics knew their faith and knew their Bible.

So, that has been my experience. Like I said, I don’t think I’m an aberration. The Catholic Church is the One, True Church but most Catholics seem to have very little real appreciation for that fact and the droves of people fleeing the Church bear that out.

Oh, and as an important end-note, in my opinion Pope Francis is a great move in the right direction. He is a big part of the reason I came back.

I’m an ex-Protestant convert to Catholicism who was* not *brought up in the Catholic Church.

Or any church for that matter - I did have a bit of Sunday School when I was younger in the Presbyterian Church, but I dropped out of that by the time I was about 13.

I can appreciate the OP’s comments about Protestant enthusiasm. My wife goes to a Baptist Church, and I tag along about once a month on the average I suppose. They’re very evangelical - they have a strong mission base, and run programs at various times in the year to try to reach out to the local community.

In school holidays for example they’ll run a kid’s program and they go to a lot of trouble over it. In a couple of weeks they’ll have an elaborate Carols night, which will be aimed at the local community as much as the church itself. They teach English to migrants or non-English speakers.

They have a strong music base. We don’t do too badly in that area, but I think we could have chosen a more attractive hymnal.

But there’s a difference in enthusiasm. In their sermons too, there’s always some sort of appeal to people in the audience who might not be Christians. Catholic priests seem to take it for granted everybody in the church is Catholic, and know the basics already. The Protestants don’t take that for granted. So they tailor their sermons accordingly.

I do a bit of work with the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. I’m convinced that many of the people we help are going nowhere until they gain some sort of faith in God. And frankly, I’d be uneasy in most cases to suggest they attend a Catholic Church straight off as I think they would not feel either welcome, nor would there be any attempt in the homily or liturgy or service to recognise there might be those in the congregation who have no idea what Christianity is about.

Whereas the Protestants would almost certainly make some sort of appeal to such people to come forward, or talk to somebody, or be prayed over, or come to a special meeting or whatever.

In my own case, I came into the Catholic Church with a fairly good grasp of Christian essentials from my first Protestant pastor. I also had been around churches long enough not to expect miracles, so when things weren’t always as appealing as they could have been, I just sort of shrugged and stuck it out. But I had a Christian background to begin with.

Frankly I think there should be more “back to basics” in Catholic homilies from time to time. There’s a lot of emphasis on social justice, which is fine, but for a person with no previous background in Christian tradition, that’s putting the cart before the horse.

Works flow from faith, and you need to get faith first. Faith comes from hearing, and unfortunately we don’t hear much about judgement, heaven and hell in Catholic homilies.

As someone who attended various different churches, primarily Methodist and evangelical, for a few years while I took a break from Catholicism, I understand most of your concerns. After I returned I put a lot more time into trying to understand the faith and even was a RCIA sponsor which helped me a great deal. Even after 12 years of Catholic school I was very poorly catechized. But, what I have come to find put from so many of my old friends who were born and raised Catholic just like me their reasons for leaving the Church have to do with the Church’s teachings and their disagreement with them. Many of the girls I attended Catholic high school with attend a church where woman are calling themselves Catholic priests and claim they have been ordained by a legitimate bishop. They firmly believe that SS marriage is OK and anyone who disagrees is discriminating. They feel the doctrine regarding birth control is one of the greatest causes of evil in the world. I could go on and on but these are the people I know who are leaving the Church and the only way to get them back is to change the doctrine. Every time Pope Francis makes a comment that they can possibly interpret as signaling a change they post his picture on FB and say I love this man. Reinvigorating this Church and maintaining our CCC will be very difficult. The secular world has taken a toll on us.

As someone who is ever so gradually working his way toward becoming a Catholic, this topic has been on my mind ever since I realized, much to my shock and surprise, that the “evil, apostate, misleading” Catholic faith is in fact the true faith. I can’t pretend to have any answers here, but just to say that people (Catholics and non-Catholics) probably need to be made aware of what the Church really teaches, really believes and really stands for.

Wings71;

You assume too much that isn’t true.

Catholics are dead and Catholic worship is dead and lifeless, Evangelical worship is more alive, Catholics don’t know their faith, Catholics are leaving the Church in droves, there is an exodus from the Catholic Church…

:confused:

Maybe that is your experience but Jesus is alive, the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of millions of Catholics worldwide and the Catholic Church is growing in the South. Catholics understand what many zealous Evangelicals do not, that holiness - a decrease in sin and an increase in virtue - is the strict requirement for entry into heaven and so for us the struggle is on the inside.

I am an extraordinary minister of communion. I see people come up to receive Jesus with tears in their eyes. I would ask that you please stop lecturing Catholics that we are lifeless and that our worship is dead because you really don’t know what God is doing in a hidden way inside any individual. Just because we aren’t doing backflips off the pew doesn’t mean that we are not alive on the inside in a hidden, quiet, humble way, just like Mary.

-Tim-

Please go to the RCIA classes and get reacquainted with Catholic teachings. Praying for you on your spiritual journey that the Holy Spirit will guide you to the truth.

I would have to say i agree more with the OP actually, and i think this may be something of a geographical difference. I live in Philly and people are much more “culturally” catholic here. They send their kids to catholic school and maybe go to mass because they feel obligated to. I have cousins in Georgia however, where baptist and methodist are everywhere, and their catholic parish seems to take a page from these churches book and have a more evangelical zeal. The churches don’t have gothic architecture, there are hardly any catholic schools, and instead of a choir they have guys play electric guitars, and the people there get pretty into the liturgy. While i don’t like this style of the mass, i think it is popular because, and i really don’t know how to put this without sounding condescending and/or judgmental, most people don’t come to worship so they can be challenged to do social justice and hear theological nuances, but they go just to feel good about themselves. Probably because of our faith and works theology, the Catholic temperment is much less feel good and is supposed to challenge its members, at least in theory.

[quote=Wings71] Protestants and Evangelicals simply, from my subjective vantage point, have more genuine interest in living out their faith individually and in community than Catholics do. They seem to be much more “on fire” for Christ than most Catholics I know and encounter.
[/quote]

Be careful. It is passing judgement on what is in the heart, which only God can do. What is external and visible can easily by a “whited sepulcher” St. Paul says we are dead and buried with Christ.

Protestant and Evangelical church services were typically much more alive than Catholic Church services. I saw a few exceptions to this, most notably a small Catholic Church on Guam in a quonset hut.

Again, beware. You can not judge a Holy Mystery, a Sacramental force, the Workings of the Holy Spirit by externals. Aren’t Black Friday sales even more “alive” than Evangelical church services?

The Holy Mass is not measured by how excited everyone appears. It is the work of Jesus Christ our High Priest, and is by its very nature a work of Spirituality and Truth. The Hebrews complained of the manna in the desert. Catholics sometimes are just like them, in complaining of the Bread of Life at the Mass.

Nevertheless, you make some valid points, especially with regard to the poor catechesis and Biblical knowledge of too many Catholics.

In my Catholic Church there is a very high number of daily Mass attendance. Older couples, young families, many young people, single people, (at least they are alone.) I don’t think any one of them would trade the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for any lively preaching, singing or fellowship. We have the scripture read to us every day. (False notion that the Catholic Church doesn’t use the Bible.) If one attends daily Mass in the Catholic Church for 3 years, you will have had the whole Bible read to you including the Old and New Testaments. We are there to WORSHIP God, not each other. Fellowship is done in many other ways. Interesting thing about today is so many protestant preachers are seeking the TRUTH and converting to Catholicism. Many former Catholics are returning also. Watch Journey Home" on EWTN on Monday nights at 7 pm CST. God Bless. Memaw

Wings71,
There is some truth in both what you are saying, and what is said by my fellow Catholic defenders here.

Pew research shows that in all “christian” faiths have about 15-20% of the congragation who are fully involved in the daily practices of the church. That is not less or more based on doctrine, but the percentage does vary per church. This may be what you are seeing.

As background only, I am a very recent revert to my mother church from 40 years of protestant churches. I have taught protestant theology at many of these churches and was very active.

All of that aside, there are two different focuses at work in my observations.

Catholic churches and pentecostal churches tend to focus more on holiness than relationship… although since VII that has been changing. Unlike the pentecostal churches, I believe the Catholic church is on the right path to relationship with Jesus Christ.

Most other protestant churches are focused on relationship over holiness. They don’t see Christ the King with his bride, they see “Me and Jesus”. There is a move back and I think guys like Tim Keller are on the start of that path as well.

Holiness is beautiful. It is the bride on her wedding day, all in white, pure and everything in place. But the preparation for the wedding day does not prepare you for the life of marriage. It can be allot of fun, allot of work, and even frustrating, but the preperation doesn’t give energy, it takes sacrifice. One trip in a muddy field can wreck the preperation.

Relationships are dynamic and full of energy. Sometimes it is VERY good, but sometimes not so pleasant. A relationship can appear beautiful, but be a real mess behind closed doors. A relationship without the wedding is always on the surface. “Dating is concealing, marriage is revealing.” It can be allot of fun, allot of work, allot of pain and can take sacrifice but also give energy.

As a christian, we are called to both. We are called to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and through him the Father, Holy Spirit, Saints, Angels and the Holy Church (his bride). We are also called to BE a part of his bride through holiness, and to get our selves prepared for the wedding feast.

The Catholic church IS the only church with the correct doctrine on both, but the theological ministry (application) over the last 200 years has left more people preparing and less relating.

All that being said, God IS the head of the church. It is his plan (not mine), and sometimes the lesson is patience.

I don’t know where you got all this from…personal experience perhaps?

However…having spent over 35 years outside the Catholic faith and among “Jesus People”, Southern Baptists, and Assembly of God, I have to say that there is a problem with your perception, because what I saw was very shallow teachings of shallow and errant theology (if any…sometimes it was more psyche counseling from the pulpit.) and, as a Sunday School teacher, I saw the majority of my students with lackluster spiritual lives and a lot of showmanship and pretense at services.

  1. In addition to Catholic churches corporately driving Catholics away, the way individual Catholics walk in their faith is also responsible for the exodus of Catholics from the Church. In my case, I saw two primary ways this manifested itself:

A) Most of the Catholics I know now and the ones I have known for as long as I can remember are much more “check off the box” Christians than they are Christians who seem to have a genuine desire to engage in a personal relationship with Christ. They see Mass as a boring requirement that they’re supposed to do, not that they want to do. Their faith seems pharisaical rather than focused on love: more concerned about rules and regulations than mercy and humility.

And how is your own? You are very critical of others but I can say that I have not seen this in my own experience since coming home to our most holy faith some 13 years ago. See My Testimony

Moreover, I have never seen any such “corporately driving Catholics away”…in fact, I see just the opposite. I see an ever growing and vital community of believers that are busy about Our Father’s business.

B) Catholics do not know the Bible and Catholics do not know their faith. In my opinion, this is the single greatest weakness of Catholics today. If they knew their faith and they knew their Bible, it would mean that they were joyful and excited about their faith. However, that’s not the case. Protestants/Evangelicals, the “spiritual but not religious”, and Atheists can all peel Catholics away from their Church with relative ease because most Catholics have very little to no idea how to answer their questions and challenges. They could not explain their faith to another person beyond a preschool level (and I don’t mean that in the good, Matthew 18:3, sort of way). The classic question Evangelicals ask Catholics is “Why do Catholics say you need works to get into heaven when the Bible says faith is what saves you?” The typical Catholic is bewildered and flummoxed by this question. It doesn’t take too many more similar questions for the Catholic to begin seriously wondering and become convinced that the Catholic Church is in heresy and represents the whore of Babylon. This would not be the case if Catholics knew their faith and knew their Bible.

This assumes that n-Cs do, which, again, has not been my experience. in fact, I have found that most Catholics do indeed know their Bible at least as well as, and often better than the n-Cs we interact with with the only real difference being that we don’t reel in off chapter and verse the way they do. Even so, most n-Cs have very little Bible knowledge outside of a few passages used to “witness” to others, but if you get them off from those passages they generally can’t find the book of Ecclesiastes, Matthew 25:31-46, of the Bread of Life discourse with both hands and a flashlight. Frankly, it’s pathetic.

The problem for us Catholics is one of perception. we are so often told by n-Cs that we do not read our Bibles or aren’t encouraged to by the Church , (which is baloney, we can gain a plenary indulgence for reading it!) and yet…in my experience my Catholic brothers and sisters know it better even though they may not know the chapter and verse references as well.

So, that has been my experience. Like I said, I don’t think I’m an aberration

. The Catholic Church is the One, True Church but most Catholics seem to have very little real appreciation for that fact and the droves of people fleeing the Church bear that out.I think you are. :smiley:

Oh, and as an important end-note, in my opinion Pope Francis is a great move in the right direction. He is a big part of the reason I came back.

:shrug: That’s good. Now we can all follow his example, but you missed out if you didn’t avail yourself of (at least) his two predecessors.

Oh…and in answer to your title question…which should be "What -]can be/-] is being done to -]stem the losses from and/-] reinvigorate the Catholic Church?

You don’t seem to be aware…

[LIST]
*]Catholics Come Home
*]Symbolum Apostolorum
*]DynamicCatholic.com
*]Christ Renews His Parish
*]St. Paul Street Evangelization
[/LIST]

These are just a few…but I’m sure there are lots more.

Like those christmas lights Church Militant!

Define more “alive” or on “fire” for Christ … I say you speak of superficial things … like being entertained at a service rather then being fed the very Body and Blood of Christ … festival versus worship of Christ and His saving us from our sin …

So here are my thoughts - Do we as a Church need to improve … always … and we are … .However, it is not easy when less then 7% of the parishioners perform 80% or the volunteer hours and donate 80% of the financial resources with an 84% overlap between these two groups ,

But what do parishes ‘do’ … I can speak to two parishes that I regularly attend … one large urban affluent - one poor rural and small.

***Large Parish ***- operates a K-8 school - has a very active men’s bible and faith sharing group that meets every Saturday at 7:00 AM, a very active Knights of Columbus group that supports several good causes including Father Taaffe’s Homes for Unwed Mothers and St Vincent de Paul conferences [also Catholic], an adult faith formation group, regularly each year [Lent and Advent] parishioners gather in small faith sharing groups in homes where each group studies and discusses the same materials, groups of parishioners regularly serve a meal [paid for, prepared by and served by] at another Catholic parish in the inner city to homeless. The respect life group provides support financial and volunteer to crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life organizations and families in need. There are youth groups - Jr/Sr high in addition to Confirmation and Religious Ed. There is a women’s group like the men’s group, there is a seniors group. The KOCs sponsor a boy scout troop. AA meets at the parish … every night there is some activity happening at the parish …

Small Parish - Every Saturday - except during the coldest months of the year this parish cooks and serves a Saturday afternoon meal for any and all, the lonely, the poor, the marginalized - anyone - free of charge. During the cold months - they open their parish hall up - every night at 5:00 PM to anyone who needs a warm safe place to sleep. They give them supper, a shower, a chance to wash and dry their clothes and a warm cot to sleep on with breakfast in the morning before they close the hall at 8:00 AM … every day - 7 days a week from the first night the temperatures drop until spring when the temperatures begin to rise. This parish offers financial aid to the poor. When the parish does not have the funds or items needed they go actively seeking it in order to help people - our priest has literally given away his best shirts to the poor - keeping only two of the worst shirts for himself [something that can be frustrating for the parishioners that buy him shirts - Haha - but we know his love for Christ] … They support a St Vincent de Paul council and store in the community.

As a whole - Every single day - EVERY SINGLE DAY ,the Catholic Church feeds more people around the globe then any other organization. We provide health care to more people, educate more people. We even visit more imprisoned people than any other organization. The Church is global - but if you look in your own communities [large and small] you will see the Church feeding the hungry and caring for the sick. Jesus said when you feed the hungry, give drink tot he thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the imprisoned - you do that for Him …

Now is that not being alive and on fire for Christ? I say it is … We do that with about 7% of our parishioners … What can we do if you and so many like you would take the necessary step to engage?

Instead of telling the Church what it [the Church] needs to do to improve … You [you are the Church] engage - You find your passion and you begin action …

The 7 - 8% of your parish is already engaged - they can’t carry you any more - they are doing. They are reading their bibles, they are feeding the homeless and visiting the sick, they are already alive and on fire [even if they go about their ministry without fanfare and flare] …

You need to move - you need to get involved … you need to do something -

And - if you knew your scriptures better - you would know that the Bible never says anywhere that we are saved by faith alone … in fact the only place where the words “faith” and “alone” are found together is in a Letter of St James - where find that we are not saved by faith alone - because faith without works is a dead faith …

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? 17 So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

Thus it is our faith in Christ that must be put into action [works] …

and St Paul tells us in Phillipians that we need to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’

So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.13For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.

… there is knowing ‘gotcha’ scriptures and there in knowing the scriptures as lived in your life and in your actions … one maybe by book, chapter and verse . the other through your heart … [granted both would be best - but given one - I’ll take the average Catholic ;)]

Happy Thanksgiving :slight_smile:

And - if you knew your scriptures better - you would know that the Bible never says anywhere that we are saved by faith alone … in fact the only place where the words “faith” and “alone” are found together is in a Letter of St James - where find that we are not saved by faith alone - because faith without works is a dead faith …

Yada, please read what I said. I said most Catholics are bewildered and flummoxed by being asked that sort of question by non-Catholics. I know what the Catholic Church teaches with regards to salvation and agree with it. I know the Bible very well. You speak of James 2:18-24. There are also many other passages that relate to this, like Matthew 7:21 and Matthew 25:21. Many, if not most Catholics, are unaware of passages like these from the Bible and even more unaware of how to correlate them to passages like John 3:16, Gal 2:16, John 5:24. .and Rom 10:3 that seem to support the notion of sola fide.

I’m saying this not to attack the Church. I love the Church. I want to see it grow and reach more people in a real and meaningful way. I said this in my OP, but I’ll say it again, the Catholic Church is the One, True Church.

I’m all for social justice. We need to be doing it. I think this is a strong suit of Catholicism. Relative to other churches, we do social justice very well. Let’s not let our guard down in that area. But Atheists can also carry out social justice projects too. The Great Commission tells us, though, to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:19-20). We do that by “go[ing] into all the world and preach[ing] the gospel to every creature.” (Matthew 16:15) Social justice without the preaching and making of disciples is not what Christ expects of us. It’s like Peter says: “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Pet 3:15). The people who see us engaged in social justice need to know that our love of Christ is why we are doing it.

Interesting thing about today is so many protestant preachers are seeking the TRUTH and converting to Catholicism. Many former Catholics are returning also. Watch Journey Home" on EWTN on Monday nights at 7 pm CST. God Bless.

That’s awesome if that’s true. We all know of Scott Hahn who is the prototypical example of this. Do you have statistics on the numbers of Protestant pastors converting to Catholicism? I don’t. However, in 2008, Pew reported, “While nearly one-in-three Americans (31%) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24%) describe themselves as Catholic.” It also said 10% of all Americans were former Catholics. In 2008, the US population was 304 million. So, 30.4 million Americans were former Catholics. That’s not a good trend.

The only reason the US Catholic population is holding steady is because of the large proportion of Catholics among immigrants. Speaking of immigrants, the decline in Catholicism is very concerning. In May of this year, Pew said, “Among Latinos, Catholicism has experienced a net loss due to religious switching. Three-quarters of Latinos (77%) were raised Catholic, but just slightly more than half (55%) report that their current religious affiliation is Catholic. Only a small share of Latinos (2%) have become Catholic after being raised in another faith or in no faith, while nearly a quarter (24%) of Latinos were raised Catholic and have left the faith, for a net loss of 22 percentage points.”

Pew asked Latinos why they were leaving the Catholic Church. Here is what they said: "The survey asked Latinos whether certain factors were important in their decision to change religions. A majority of those who have switched say an important reason for switching was that they just gradually drifted away from the religion in which they were raised. Almost as many say they stopped believing in the teachings of their childhood religion.

On a separate question about the main reason for switching religions, Latinos cite various factors, including dissatisfaction with religious institutions, practices or people; changes in personal spirituality; and family or life factors."

To me, and maybe this is my own perceptual bias, the reasons Latinos are citing for leaving the Church sound a lot like the reasons I cited for what drove me away from the Church. And btw, if you didn’t pick up on it in my OP, I’m back in the Church now. I love the Catholic Church.

I also have to very much disagree with a number of the posters who suggested that Catholics do know the Bible and their faith well. Yes, of course, there are some Catholics who know the Bible and their faith extremely well. I’m talking, though, about the vast majority of Catholics. I went to Catholic school and I’ve been in Catholic Bible studies. I’ve also been in Protestant Bible studies. In the Catholic Bible studies I’ve been to, I have always known, by far, the most about the Bible and Catholic doctrine of anyone there. There has never been an instance when a person in a Catholic Bible study has known more about the Bible or the faith than me. I’m sure there are many Catholics who do have more knowledge than me, but they haven’t been in the Bible studies I’ve been involved with. I don’t say that to brag. When I go to a Protestant Bible study, I am probably in the mid-range of folks when it comes to Bible knowledge. I’ve even talked to Catholic priests who don’t know the Bible very well. Again, I don’t say any of that to brag or attack. I’m saying it to highlight an enormous deficit in the Church that needs to change.

(continued in next post)

(continued from previous post)

Similarly, I’ve never personally met a Catholic who has been on a mission trip. I know that many Catholics go on mission trips. Again, I’m just saying I’ve never personally met one. On the other hand, among non-Catholics, I’ve met many who have been on mission trips and it’s not in the least bit uncommon. No, going on a mission trip isn’t any particularly great sign of being saved or of being a “great” Christian or any of that. It is, however, an indication of some degree of fervor and aliveness and dedication. A person who goes on a mission trip typically has to raise money for the trip and has to take time to go on the trip. It usually isn’t something that just happens without effort.

I don’t have time to address the rest of the people who piped up in disagreement. The Catholic Church has some serious issues which are driving people away. I’m the last one to suggest that we should compromise our beliefs or our doctrine to appeal to people’s “itching ears” but I am saying that we should work on invigorating the Church. The description the Church in Acts 2:42-45 is one of a vital, glad Church. That is what I’m suggesting we get back to.

And finally, let me make this very clear again. I LOVE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. IT IS THE ONE, TRUE CHURCH. I say all of this because of my love for the Church. I want to see it winning followers and accomplishing the Great Commission.

I happen to live in Cobb County in the northeast Atlanta suburbs.

You do not have an accurate picture of the Church in Georgia under Archbishop Gregory. Much of what you describe simply is not so.

-Tim-

You have a well stated post. I would suggest a different trajectory on this post however. Alow me to explain

I would suggest one person receiving the Eucharist worthily is more than all the emotionalism in a protestant mega assembly.

If they truly knew Jesus, and the bible, and truly understood the faith given once for all to the saints, they would be Catholic.

given the high rates of divorce in this country, (approaching 60% of marriages) it’s possible most of those “former” Catholics left the Church because of divorce and remarriage.

Alive?

They have no sacraments, no Eucharist. They CAN’T have the sacraments and the Eucharist because they have no valid ordinations. Salvation then is on their terms not Our Lord’s terms. When judgement day arrives, will they hear Jesus say

what part of the following did you not understand? John 6:54-57

the reality is, Jesus told us how we are to love Him. We must Do whatever He tells us to do. That unfortunately doesn’t automatically translate into people will obey Him.

I would suggest, Catholics in good stead, (not deserters) are the only ones who can do all that Jesus commands. What appears to be the protestant version of “personal relationship with Jesus”, is a relationship on their terms not Our Lord’s terms.

No Protestant group no matter the stripe has the sacraments and particularly the Eucharist

Sad to say, I agree with that. I would suggest however, even if a person was woefully uncatechised, but faithful in their life, and receiving the sacraments regularly, they would be geniuses in comparison to the one who could recite the scriptures backwards and forwards but wasn’t in the Church, and didn’t receive the sacraments.

Again I agree. Not the Churches fault there but the individual Catholic.

And one’s ignorance is NOT always innocent. [FONT=Arial]1791 . [/FONT]

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