What Catholicism seems to be missing

I find myself in a little bit of a dilemma… You see, I am a recent convert from Protestantism. I converted and was baptized and confirmed last may. So I freely admit that my views in this post could easily be skewed by the simple fact that I don’t have much experience in the CC.

First of all, I love the Catholic Church. It is absolutely beautiful, the liturgy is amazing. I spent the time in mass yesterday finding myself wiping tears from my eyes, simply struck by the presence of God and the beauty of The Church, ( along with the reality of my own sin and feeling unworthy yet grateful to be there. )
Yet, I can’t help but feel something is missing… Something that belongs and yet isn’t there. At least in the few parishes that I frequent. Yet, from listening to Catholic radio ( XM and AM ) I feel like it must be Church wide. What is it ? Passionate preaching of the gospel… Where is it ? Every single time I go to Mass, regardless of the parish, when it comes time for the homily, the priest pulls out his pre-written sermon and reads word for word… This week it was an essay on why the death penalty is wrong. Seriously ? How DRY !!!

Now obviously Protestantism is missing its share of truth… Or I wouldn’t have left it. But let me tell you one thing many of them get right: their passionate preaching of the gospel ( as they see it ) and their love for the lost, which is why they just can’t stop preaching it.

I just don’t get it. There is a certain percentage of people occupying those parish pews that are lost ! Some of which are cradle “Catholics” ! And we are listening to a homily on political issues ? Who cares ?!
I feel the same way EVERY time I turn on Catholic radio, with the exception to catholic answers. If I turn on the radio, I promise you there is an 80-90 percent chance they are talking about either abortion, contraception or marriage. All day every day… All while countless ppl within the listening area are dying without knowing our Lord. It just drives me nuts !
When I listen to Protestant pastors on YouTube, such as Francis Chan, etc. it is like rain in the desert… Absolutely refreshing! Just listen to one of his sermons and see if you disagree… Try Lukewarm and loving it… m.youtube.com/watch?v=z227Trx0r3w
Now obviously me and these ppl would disagree on some theological points, but they love God in an intense way, and they are our brothers and sisters in Christ… And quite frankly most Catholics could learn something from them.

Anyway, I guess I’m just ranting. I could go on and on about this… But for now I’ll wait for some responses.
Take it easy on me :frowning:

Edited to remove the word " c-r-a-p ", as it showed up as **** and looked bad.

Hi Creek Crawler,

I’ll post my reflections on this later, because this situation within Catholicism is partially necessary but also partially needing of improvement, and it’s going to take a large post to explain. For the moment, you should edit your post and remove the colorful language just to make sure this thread doesn’t get locked. This forum maintains a very formal tone.

The reason that Protestant Churches have more dynamic sermons is that the sermon is the heart and sole, the core of their religious service. In the Catholic Church, the sermon is secondary to the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.
If you want to hear dynamic preaching in a Catholic Church, try to find a Church that has priests from the Jesuit or Dominican Orders. Their sermons may not be on the order of “Fire and Brimstons”, but they are far and above in quality over the “canned” sermons one usually hears.

I wouldn’t pass judgment on who knows our Lord. Some people can find Christ in a sermon that sounds boring. And my experience with preaching is not very similar to yours. I’ve been fortunate to hear many excellent homilists in my life. But may I recommend listening to Ave Maria Radio? They will talk about abortion, contraception, and marriage (which are indeed the moral issues of our time), but also about parenting, Catholic history, virtues, etc… My favorite shows there are Kresta in the Afternoon and Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo. :o Every show has audio archives to download.

First, my experience has not been that Catholic priests always (or even mostly) read their homilies. They usually speak somewhat freely, even if substantively ‘per-scripted’.

Second–FWIW: the homily in the Catholic Mass, is far less significant than the corresponding part of [most] Protestant services (the sermon). This is due to the importance of the Liturgy of the Eucharist (including the offertory). Even in the Liturgy of the Word, the Bible readings (including the Psalms), are more important than the Homily. But the Eucharist is clearly the high point of the Mass.

Third–in protestantism, the ‘cult of personality’ naturally, carries much more weight. That is, the charisma of the preacher, is reflected in attendance and in the offering. Yes it is also reflected in the Cat. Church, however, the viability of a given Parrish is not dependent on the charisma of the Priest, while Protestant churches that fail to keep their pews adequately filled, may have to close up shop (so to speak)–and butterflying/forum shopping is widely accepted amongst protestants–except for Catholic Churches; that’s largely frowned upon. :wink:

So, yes, Protestant services, on average, are often/usually more entertaining than Catholic masses. But worship is not entertainment; it was never intended to be such (it may be incidentally ‘entertaining’, but it’s not ‘entertainment’).

Now, all that said–the Catholic Church could stand to be a little more ‘user friendly’; masses could stand to be a little more…engaging, to the modern, contemporary church goer…

It sounds like you are on fire! Maybe you could ask your priest about assisting with a parish-led Bible study, so you can spread that fire in your small-group.

Did you ever go through “dry” times when you were a Protestant?

Regarding dry homilies, there is not much to say there. I cant disagree, but enough priests are good, in my opinion. Not great, but as another commented, we dont go to Mass for the homily. The Mass is about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. Nothing else really matters after that, in my opinion.

Regarding, deficiencies in Catholic media, I dont have a clue what you are talking about in this area. Every radio station I listen to has great teaching! EWTN alone has a great mix of everything! No, there are not great sermons generally. However,after listening to the theological errors of Protestant radio and TV preaching, in my opinion, it is NOT such a good thing that there is so much “good” Protestant preaching on the radio or TV.

Try EWTN TV and radio, some other stations and different times that you listen or watch. Good luck. God bless!

Catholics tend to focus on these controversial issues as they are the sins that put the most people in danger of eternal damnation. Why? Because many catholics believe that contraception and homosexual marriage (As well as abortion in so-called ‘extreme’ cases) are ok, whilst Scripture and Tradition most definitely condemn them. By the mere act of supporting them, they are committing mortal sin.

the interesting thing about a non catholic chruch service-- is you can learn about the anointing of the Holy Spirit – and how that anointing is not with every speaker–

and you can develop spiritual decernment - and observe the giftings of the Holy Spirit

  • where as in a catholic service – the homily may be un inspiring – but the emphasis is on the communion service-- and every think else is less important–

and besides – there is nothing that can be done about it- or so my catholic friends tell me

as only a catholic priest has the ability and authority to provide the “real presence”

Blessed Fulton J. Sheen


Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the , and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His
Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us , the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life.



I believe that the wise posts that compared the main focus of the Mass, the mystery of the Eucharist with the emphasis of protestant services being the uplifting sermon, (many of the televised ones being about how God wants us all to be rich as long as we are prepared to tithe.) are correct.
I have been a practicing barrister for many years and pride myself on my oratory and word smithing. I listen to the normal Sunday sermon and can only agree with you. If I hear one more about the parable of the lost sheep, whilst we have to go out and face a hard world, I will puke.
But then I look at our priest, his tireless work in the parish; his glorious calling as our Christ on the altar and in the confession. How I envy him, and respect him in all his hard work.I look at his hours dealing with those needing advice or confession, or hospital visits. I see him dealing with the sub-sets of catholic action within the parish.
So he doesn’t find the time of the Jesuit or the Dominican on retreat who can tailor the words and spend time considering the nuances of effect.He is the solicitor, that needs to be the generalist and deals every day with the people.
So I put my stupid pride back in the heel of my shoe where it belongs and am thankful.

I’ve seen both in my short time in the Church. I’ve seen many lack-luster homilies and I’ve seen many really good homilies that were not prepared.

The fact is that not all priests are created equal. Some men can really preach well off-the-cuff(such as the head pastor at my parish, who is also the professor of hermenuetics at the Seminary here), other priests need a prepared outline or homily to remember their message and/or stay on point.

Whatever their limitations you have to realize that God made them priests for a reason, and that reason does not include personal entertainment. We have a responsibility during Mass to be attentive to what is being said in the homily, regardless of the eloquence of the homilist.

The homily is meant to challenge us to live the gospel in our daily lives, no matter how it is delivered we are to do our best to apply it and pray over it in our hearts. And the Eucharist is to give us the grace to follow through.

You must be careful not to emphasize one at the expense of the other.

the ofm-cap priests are all excellent teachers and preachers.


Church > 2014-02-10 12:51:08

Pope Francis: rediscover a ‘sense of the sacred’

(Vatican Radio) To rediscover the sense of the sacred, the mystery of the Real Presence of God in the Mass: that was Pope Francis’ invitation during the Eucharistic celebration this morning at Casa Santa Marta.

The first Reading of the day speaks about the “theophany” of God in the time of Solomon the king. The Lord came down like a cloud upon the temple, which was filled with the glory of God. The Lord, the Pope said, speaks to His people in many ways: through the prophets, the priests, the Sacred Scriptures. But with the theophanies, He speaks in another way, “different from the Word: it is another presence, closer, without mediation, near. It is His presence.” This, he explained, happens in the liturgical celebration. The liturgical celebration is not a social act, a good social act; it is not a gathering of the faithful to pray together. It is something else. In the liturgy, God is present,” but it is a closer presence. In the Mass, in fact, “the presence of the Lord is real, truly real.”

“When we celebrate the Mass, we don’t accomplish a representation of the Last Supper: no, it is not a representation. It is something else: it is the Last Supper itself. It is to really live once more the Passion and the redeeming Death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is made present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world. We hear or we say, ‘But, I can’t now, I have to go to Mass, I have to go to hear Mass.’ The Mass is not ‘heard’, it is participated in, and it is a participation in this theophany, in this mystery of the presence of the Lord among us.”

Nativity scenes, the Way of the Cross… these are representations. The Mass, on the other hand, “is a real commemoration, that is, it is a theophany: God approaches and is with us, and we participate in the mystery of the Redemption.” Unfortunately, too often we look at the clock during Mass, “counting the minutes.” This, the Pope said, is not the attitude the liturgy requires of us: the liturgy is God’s time, God’s space, and we must place ourselves there, in God’s time, in God’s space, and not look at the clock”:

“The liturgy is to really enter into the mystery of God, to allow ourselves to be brought to the mystery and to be in the mystery. For example, I am sure that all of you have come here to enter into the mystery; however, someone might say: ‘Ah, I have to go to Mass at Santa Marta, because on the sight-seeing tour of Rome, each morning there is a chance to visit the Pope at Santa Marta: it’s a tourist stop, right?’ All of you here, we are gathered her to enter into the mystery: this is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is the cloud of God that surrounds all of us.”

The pope recalled that, as a child, during the preparation for First Communion, there was a song that spoke about how the altar was guarded by angels to give “a sense of the glory of God, of God’s space, of God’s time.” And when, during the practice, they brought the hosts, they told the children: “Look, these are not the ones you will receive: these count for nothing,” because they have to be consecrated. So, the Pope concluded, “to celebrate the liturgy is to have this availability to enter into the mystery of God,” to enter into His space, His time, to entrust ourselves to this mystery:

“We would do well today to ask the Lord to give to each of us this ‘sense of the sacred,’ this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray in Church, to pray the Rosary, to pray so many beautiful prayers, to make the Way of the Cross, so many beautiful things, to read the Bible… The Eucharistic celebration is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only He is the unique One, the glory, the power… He is everything. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.”


Since you are a convert, you have been conditioned to think that the sermon is the most important aspect of the Sunday service. However, as you pointed out, you do understand the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and are properly disposed to receive Him in communion. He gives Himself to us each time we come together to worship and thank God for sending His only son to suffer and die for our sins. Sometimes daily Mass doesn’t even have a homily! But I am not going to daily Mass for good preaching, obviously. I am there to be united with Him, in body, blood, soul and divinity. The priest in my current parish is an excellent homilist, who never uses notes, always instructs us about the commonality of the daily readings and how they can apply to our daily lives. However, I have been in parishes where that was not the case at all. Either way, I hear the word of God in the liturgical readings, and receive Him on my tongue and inside my body and soul. Sometimes the singing is good, sometimes not. But none of that matters. You are on the road and have entered into His church. That feeling of ‘something missing’ will dissipate over time. You may always be sensitive to those who just don’t seem to “get it” in the pews. You may be called to a ministry to teach or run a Bible study. Welcome home and don’t worry. You are on a lifelong journey of learning more and more of what Christ has called you to and for.

I’m amazed you actually heard a homily about the death penalty. I have NEVER heard 1. Rarely do priests talk about hot button issues that many Catholics wrongly support.

If I had to hinge my adherence to the catholic faith based on the quality of the homily, I’d be of another religion. But as other posters have so eloquently stated, the Mass is a special gift to us catholics and the Eucharist is the reason why we should attend daily!

Several of the responses had a similar statement to the quote above. Out of curiosity, what in my post led you to believe I was talking about being entertained ? Why would “passionate preaching of the gospel” = entertainment in your mind ?

I’m talking about being absolutely broken hearted over the state of mankind, and just beside oneself over the fact that there is good news for them, and an urgency to preach it. Much like Paul in Romans 9 where he says “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people…”
Paul was so anguished for the lost that he could wish that he himself would be cut off from Christ and lost forever, if only others would be saved!

I understand that the sacrifice of the Mass is the focal point of our gathering as Catholics. That’s a fair point. But here is the problem as I see it… The early Christians did NOT simply come together to share in communion. They layed down everything to preach to the lost, under pain of horrific death.
Seems to me that the Protestants have lost their way in neglecting the former in favor of being hyper focused on the latter… While Most Catholics seem to have lost the way in almost completely neglecting the latter in favor of being content with the Mass alone.

Thanks for sharing CreekCrawler,

Wouldn’t it be funny if the Church had an ‘American Idol’ type of recruiting process to get the best preachers!?

There can be parishes that don’t have the greatest preachers. We travel a ways past 5 or 6 parishes to go to one that has priests, from whom we like to listen.

Perhaps also, what you are not considering are the Catholic hospitals, food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, jail programs?

Not knowing your parish, or location, there is a chance that you parish has teams working with those in need.

It might be worth stopping into the office and letting them know you want to get involved in more, in the Church.

God Bless!

Roslyn (not really reading the posters before me) my first response to your feelings would be that we don’t really go to the mass to hear fabulous preachers, we go to be with Jesus Christ. In the Word, in the people (when two or more are gathered in His name He is there), in the body and blood of Christ and in the priest who stands in persona Christi. Jesus is called Emmanuel meaning God with us. God is with us in a most special way when we are gathered together at the mass.

My second response would be to quote St. Paul by saying that the body we share is a participation in the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

That’s telling us that we are supposed to participate in the mass if we are going to get anything out of it. We must pray, with each other sincerely, sing joyfully to the best of our ability, purge our sins out to Jesus before we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, with the sacrament of confession and our acknowledgement of our sins and asking for forgiveness at the beginning parts of the mass. We must approach Jesus with a clean heart if we are to fully receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I have been to protestant Churches and it seems there’s an entertainment factor that the congregation expects. It’s not like that in ours because we are the Church, not just the ones in front so we get what we put into it.

Then participate in the functions of the Church so you get to know people of the Church. We have something called CRHP, pronounced Chirp, which means Christ renews His Parish for the women and the men separately. A weekend retreats and small faith sharing group. You might find more about it online. There are small faith groups and bible studies, service groups, etc. A Parish is a family of God under a bigger umbrella of a family of God which is the bigger Universal Church, and so get to know them and the Church like your own home. You’ll just get to love your family…:slight_smile:

Participate in the mass. Be a Eucharistic minister or a lector or something which will make the mass more meaningful and also help you grow in your faith.

And as for the preaching, if it really doesn’t speak to your heart, either talk to the priest, attend another mass or go to another Church nearby. God should speak to our hearts and if He isn’t there can be things we can do about it.

Gods peace.

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