My wife is an adult convert. While we were dating, she began questioning some of the teachings present at her church - she then started something which others like her have in the past; church/theology shopping.
I went with her to different Christian churches not just because I wanted to be a supportive boyfriend, but also because things were serious enough between us that we were talking about engagement and marriage at that point. Since wherever she decided to go could impact us in the future, I went with her- while still going to Mass Sunday evenings by myself.
Eventually, we went to one of the many Catholic churches downtown. Before going, I already knew that the parish had a “reputation” (and told her this before hand). So in addition to going with her for supportive reasons, I wanted to see the place for myself. What happened?
Before Mass even started, we were both asked if we wanted to bring up “the bread”. The parish runs a soup kitchen, and they started Mass by having people bring up the bread during the opening procession. We both declined. I didn’t like it, but I could gloss this over.
There was a woman dressed in black who stood near the priest, and said some of the prayers the priest should be saying (the priest did say the words of consecration). Definitely wrong.
This isn’t an abuse, however during the homily the priest said that during the Transfiguration the Apostles were in an “altered state of reality”.
At this point I turned to my girlfriend and said “you know, you might be able to receive communion here”. She said “I’m not Catholic though”. My reply; “I’m not sure this is valid”. After a pause I said “maybe it is valid, so don’t go up after all. But there’s a lot of stuff going wrong here”.
Before the Our Father, they asked everyone to go up around the alter, which was a folding table (they didn’t use the normal conventional one). Not just kids, but everyone. In the middle of Mass. I know some religious communities do something like this and it’s totally fine. But during Mass in a setting where everyone is in a different Sacramental and/or vocational state, it’s not appropriate.
Everyone went back to their seats. And then, what was more horrific than everything else combined. The EMHC’s held onto baskets of unleavened and leavened bread that people walked up to and picked out themselves. I was so shocked that I turned to my girlfriend and said “it’s a Jesus buffet. They made the Eucharist into a Jesus buffet”.
We both refused to go up for communion. Her because she wasn’t Catholic at the time, myself because at the time I wasn’t certain it was valid - and I was furious with what transpired.
We left, and I told her that was not accurate as to what a Mass should be like. She knew that already, with the homily raising some severe alarm bells with her. We never went back.
As for corrective actions, the parish was run by a group who has pontifical rite, which meant the diocesan bishop couldn’t correct them - if any change happened it would have to be superior, then Rome. Years later, I’m unsure of what’s going on there now.