What to say to a fallen-away Catholic?

I was talking with a gentleman in my town who was born and raised Catholic but it seems he drifted away after he lost his wife and he mentioned to me that he attends services at another Christian church in our town (a mainstream Church). He said something like “Catholics (do this) and these people (do this) but it’s the same God!”

I don’t quite know how to respond, especially if I’m asked. On the one hand, I believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church. On the other hand, non-Catholic Christians are not the enemy but our “separated brethren” and share in some way in our Christianity. It might not be worth it to start an argument with somebody over something that may be a matter between him and God, and it might be best to wait for God to call that person to His Church when God chooses.

Thanks in advance.

First, spend time on your knees on his behalf. The more and the more frequent, the better. Man’s words fail, but he cannot resist the Holy Spirit. Invoke the Spirit through prayer.

Second, Christ Himself lives in the Tabernacle. It is Him, just as Christ said. Walking away from the Tabernacle is walking away from Christ, toward those who have only a book as the foundation of their church.

Third, read up on the real presence in the Eucharist. Get him a copy of Mark P. Shea’s compact book: This Is My Body, written by an Evangelical who sought to understand the Catholic position, and subsequently converted. Most Catholic bookstores should have it. I think it’s about $5.

Fourth, repeat the first step until successful.

Christ’s peace be with you.

Thanks for the reply.

#1 I’ve already done, and I agree with you on #2.

On #3 I’ll mention the “real presence” if he brings up the subject again and if he inquires further will recommend that book or some other reading.

I often wonder why not all Christians are Catholics. Perhaps God calls someone to His Church when the time is right, according to God’s plan (maybe when the person is ready?)?

Thanks again.

A) Don’t you miss the Eucharist? That would be my first and main question because it opens up all sorts of comments which - if properly addressed, can be turned into questions and questions can be answered. 2) Being “like the catholic church” is not the catholic church. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…then why not stay with the original? III) Is the “greener grass on the other side” just a reasonable facsimile or just astro-turf? Stick with the original. You get the idea.

How do you lke my numbering system? :slight_smile:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Not only are many of us poorly catechized, we are horrible evangelists. This is why so many are outright leaving, or just slowly drifting away. If he truly understood the nature of the Eucharist, he would have no desire to leave. If our separated brothers and sisters in Christ knew the true nature of the Eucharist, the spiritual blessings within it, they would join in unity.

The spirit of division, the spirit of antichrist has lead to the fracturing of Christ’s Body. The Holy Spirit, the spirit of unity, as God is unity, leads us back together. This is the difficult part: many things are accomplished only through prayer. Thus, we continue to pray.

Christ’s peace.

You invite him to Mass.

(which I know you probably already have)

God has put you in this person’s life for some reason. Listen to the Holy Spirit, ask for the right words to be put in your mouth when dealing with your friend … (hey isn’t that in the Bible somewhere? :wink: )

I will pray for you.

Thanks for the reply.

Good point. Especially in light of my other post, this may be the time God has chosen to bring someone to His Church.

This is not even a friend of yours that you keep in constant touch is it? I’d say leave it alone, but you should work on your knowledge a while and eventually an opportunity to share your personal faith will come up. People, especially sincere Christians, love to hear conversion …inspiring stories about faith and new epiphany type experiences. God is constantly working in our life. We must present ourselves to God …open to Him …allowing Him to make us grow. All you can really do is plant the seed.

I verbally beat up, but in a respectful way, the priest that was patient enough to show he really cared and added enough to the discussion to make me realize that all my complaints were noted and he even agreed with me on most of what I complained about. Honestly, that was the best thing he could have done. Many of us older Catholics were not properly taught. Some of us grew up in mixed religious or non-practicing religious homes. I may not truly be his fault he thinks the way he did.

Prayer and study are your 2 best evanglist tools. You can really turn someone off even with truth staring them straight in the faith. Do not try to do God’s job. You plant the seed and God will make it grow. However, it would be good to obtain some really decent materials appropriate for handing out. Example.

**Recommended CD’s **to buy/download for free if you need in the front of most Catholic churches
Scott Hahn’s Conversion Story
"The 4th Cup"
"How to help bring fallen away Catholics bach to the Church."
Highly recommended books:
“The Lambs Supper” by Scott Hahn

Recommended books to suppliment the CD’s
"Christ in His Fullness:A Protestant Minister Discovers the Fullness of Christ in the Catholic Church" by Bruce Sullivan [my personal plug for a new friend of mine…he called me one day unexpectedly to discuss my journey]
Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on ‘Romanism’ by ‘Bible Christians’" by Karl Keating [founder of Catholic Answers]

I have more detail but would end up writing a book.

The main thing is to first act the part of a truly Transformed Christian…Catholic with a solid understanding or knowledge of the teachings of the Church…as illustrated by the early church fathers. Pray that you become the solid example for all to see. But be prepared to give an account for why you believe what you accept…sounds familiar doesn’t it…scripture.

Learn the touchy verses and why they are uniquely Catholic and not some watered down version of the true Christian faith in the Church of Christ. Learn it but don’t argue it. You MUST let God do the work. Be transformed and a light in the world. BTW: I was working on becoming a Protestant Minister as well. That’s how I know so many Prechers…I married the youngest daughter of a Church of Christ Bishop who’s 2 oldest brothers are still Protestant Ministers today. Long story. There is always hope for us fallen away Catholics to return to the “FULLNESS OF CHRIST”. If you see this Bruce, thanks.

PAX Christi tecum

Thank you so much for your reply. Today I was thinking about how so many people I’ve known always knew what was best for me yet never took much time to hear what I tried to say in-between their many smug, self-assured words of wisdom.

Second that…and i’ve had practice!

A few weeks ago God sent me a man who just discovered his faith after 20 years. All i did was listen, nod my head, agree, and let him talk. We keep in touch (he went back home out of town) and he is slowly coming around.

-reveleations

This is such a great response! My family has been having issues with my growing Faith that I’ve been graced with. They just don’t understand. I am especially concerned about my mother, rasied Catholic (pre-Vatican II) went to Catholic HS and 2 Catholic Coll/Uni for undergrad and grad (she’s amazing) and hasn’t been to confession in over 30 years. If what I’ve read about receiving Eucharist w/ grave sin on your soul is true, I shudder in fear for her. I pray for her conversion. It has come to me through God’s grace and prayer that my example is an important factor in her Evangelization.

This…

…I find truly enlightening and hope inspiring. Thank you! :clapping:

Invite him to something at your parish, not necessarily Mass or a spiritual or liturgical event, but a social event, or especially service project. We have so many spouses, relatives, friends who have started coming to Mass, because they first helped with socials, parish dinners, parish picnic, fixing bikes for needy children, sorting clothing and food donations, repairing homes and other projects.

Thanks for the reply, but my parish has few outside activities.

This I think was part of the problem. I remember he used to mention that the other churches in town had activities (Lenten suppers, etc.) and ours didn’t. Not that that makes it right to leave the Church but maybe he feels some sort of a personal connection with the community there he wasn’t getting.

If your concern is that not going to confession in 30 years is a grave sin, I was told by a priest that the requirement is that we go once a year if we are in a state of grave sin. Of course, we should go more often than that regardless. You might want to check that out with an authorative source.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.