A lot of people just don’t believe it, that’s the problem.
An old Jewish woman I used to work with remarked to me that she thought it was ludicrous to think that the Almighty was sitting on His Throne taking attendance (for the High Holy Days), I think that many Catholics have a similar view about attendance at Mass.
Many people definitely have this attitude as it’s typical of today’s culture. Priests and catechists need to be aware that most of us don’t live in traditional Catholic cultures anymore. We sometimes need to be told things.
You’ve hit the nail on the head from my families standpoint too. There is in now way that NC’s would be looked at with such charity in my wife and kid’s parish as you explain above. The parish is the only one in a town of nearly 7K, and it almost died off once due to their view of NC’s, and it’s starting down that road again.
I don’t want to go to church to be met with put downs from the priest or awkward looks, so I don’t “push” my family to go (I’ll go if my wife says “let’s go” obviously)…and to be honest, my wife isn’t a fan of that parish either due to the way they look upon NC’s so she doesn’t really want to go see people look down their nose at us either… She (we) left that one once because the priest wouldn’t perform our wedding.
I can personally attest that a reverently celebrated Mass played a roll in my reversion to the faith. The “bells and whistles” and mannerisms indicated to me that these were a people who truly believed these lofty ideas of Catholicism. It made me reflect more on the Real Presence.
Sometime after that our parish started “coffee and donuts” and suddenly I went from knowing 1 or 2 parishioners to, well more than I can count right now.
Bells and donuts are not the substance of my faith but, in the mystery of this physical and temporal existence, it’s pretty awesome that God can even use bronze and flour and sugar in his plan of salvation.
In the old school traditional days, people knew their neighbors a lot better than they do in the current era. “coffee and donuts” was less necessary as you saw your fellow parishioners all week, you went to school with them, participated in church festivals and spaghetti dinners and bingos.
Thank you for sharing. I am also continually amazed at how God can use the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary.
Honestly, the reasons people are drawn to the Church are many and varied. For me, it was a community I encountered in college of young, vibrant believers that made me start to pay attention. But, of course, even that wasn’t the final word.
There are no five things that are going to draw every single person into the Catholic faith. Truthfully, there is one thing: Jesus. We do need to do our best to fire on all cylinders and be all things to all people. But few of us can manage that on our own, and, frankly, we don’t have to. We all need to play our part.
And to that end, I think we need to be careful. It’s not uncommon in these types of discussions for people to bemoan that “the Church” is not doing this or that or “the Church” is doing this or that poorly. While that may be true insofar as it goes (and the Church is always in need of reformation), what often gets overlooked is the fact that the Church is made up of us. It is easy to point fingers and expect other people to step up and do what we think they ought to do. It is much more difficult to point our questions at ourselves and ask what we can do. What can I do to spread the Gospel? How can I be a witness who draws people closer to Christ? It’s not all up to the pope, bishops, and priests. We have our role to play. We cannot just sit idly by and expect great saints to arise around us. We need to pray for the grace to be a great saint ourselves.
And, yes, I realize this applies to me. I know that I fall short and I know I have a lot of room for improvement. I pray every day for the grace to be a better evangelizer.
So many people do not understand this.
The parish was the center of the neighborhood. All the kids went to school together, and even if they went to public school, they still lived in the neighborhood, there was no “busing”.
Neighbors socialized together and shopped in the neighborhood, everything they needed was right there.
I know in my mid-sized city in the Northeast, at one time there were 7 parishes within a 3-mile radius of my house. Now there is one, and I have no idea how long they will be able to sustain themselves.
More than 30% of my neighborhood is vacant homes, and what was one a huge Catholic population of European immigrants is now a huge population of middle-eastern & African immigrants who are Muslim. We have 3 mosques in my neighboorhood now.
As nice as it would be, the idea of the neighborhood Church is gone. There will never be the fellowship and comradery in the Church that there once was. Our society has, sadly, moved past that model.
Here are the 2 scariest passages from scripture IMV
Matthew 7:13-14 , https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mt+7%3A13-14&version=RSVCE
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy,[a] that leads to destruction, [ ἀπώλεια, ] and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. IOW few are saved.
So one could ask, Why only a few are saved? (emphasis mine)
Jesus said, because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. Those who endure to the end (the few) are saved. When the gospel is preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; then the end will come.
Mt 24:12-14, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24:12-14&version=RSVCE
The problem today as it has always been, and apparently will be till the end of time, there are people who don’t fear God nor hell. So they do their own thing.
I would just say this.
I grew up in the system you say you wish was back. I say the same thing. The reality is, that didn’t protect anyone who took their eyes off the ball.
Back in the day, the 50’s, most of the guys in my class (me included) were altar boys. We all had the same religious formation…at school. Not necessarily at home. Nor did any of us pay much attention to that last part (about another guy’s home life) back when we were young sprouts ourselves. Fast forward 60 yrs… one of these old friends that I hadn’t seen for 50+ years, called me. He said he had stage 4 cancer which means he had a death sentence. I went immediately to see him. I couldn’t believe what I saw. He had as it turned out, 2 months from then to live. It took a mere few minutes for me to ask him, are you still practicing your faith? He said he hadn’t been to mass in 40 yrs. I said I’m not going to leave you alone till I take you to or have a priest come to reconcile you to the Church and to Our Lord. I was ready on the spot to make that happen. There was a Catholic Church around the corner. I literally was going to put him in the car and we were outta there. He promised me he would see the priest. And he called me to say he had reconciled.
Maybe I was put on this earth to do that one act for an old friend.
I was replying to Augustianian’s comments. I did not say that I don’t think fellowship is important, I said the Church is different now than it was 60 years ago. People are spread out, families that worship together, in many cases, don’t live near each other or have kids who go to the same schools. People “parish shop”, so we have to come up with different ways for fellowship, not keep looking to the past and say, “Look, it worked then, why not now?”
These people wont even consider walking into Mass without faith driving them.
Faith in worshipping God must be stronger then faith being only applied to an ornate Mass. The heart, given the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit, recognised and worships God regardless of surroundings, and sees Jesus in fellow worshippers. Afterall we are one body of Christ.
Are people forgetting we are there to worship God, not count the number of incense swings?
The Holy Spirit gifts us faith. It is a humble simple faith. A faith where we meet and speak to God regardless of our surroundings and those on it. We are one body under Christ. We ask to become members of the Body of Christ , joined to the assembly, regardless of its outward appearance and nuance, when we answer AMEN on receiving the Body of Christ.
This is our petition. This is the Epiclesis.
We do the Catholic Appstolate a huge diservice in focussing on what our worship of God, and partaking of the Eucharist is not.
It is our job, as Catholics, practising Catholics, to imitate Jesus, and allow Jesus to shine through us , to those who the Holy Spirit fills with grace faith and charity.