Where did we go wrong?


When I go to mass every Sunday there are many people who leave right after communion, eager to get out of the crowded parking lot, instead of practicing the virtue of patience. In my former Lutheran church, the fellowship was great. We had coffee fellowships after service and many education classes. On top of that, almost every member knew who every other member was, unless they whisped away after communion.** In these ways I definitely admire the Protestants, for most are very welcoming and have great fellowship. As for improving in getting our message out, that is most definitely a great need in the Church. Many great saints spent their lifetime here on earth evangelizing pagans, Protestants, atheists, etc. I would agree that this could be somewhat improved in the Church.**

**Where did we go wrong?  When did we stop caring about the salvation of the non-believer?  When did we stop evangelizing to the world as whole.  Would the Apostles be proud of our current status quo?   We forgot something along the way, it seems.  Am I wrong?   **


I have wondered the same.

Here in the UK it is the protestant Churches that are the main evangelists. An Anglican, Nicky Gumble (among others), has worked tirelessly on the Alpha course for introducing people to the Gospel and there is now Alpha for Catholics.

I think the protestant churches definitely deserve credit for their efforts in this area (and they’re not trying to poach Catholics in the UK which I get a sense may happen in the US?).

So good question; and I wonder the same.


Honestly, I do not mind if you quote my posts and also post my forum name. I truly believe that the Catholic Church is the greatest evangelical community in world history, with more missionaries, world relief, and the spreading of the Gospel more then any other faith in world history. I was not denying this in my post you quoted. I am well aware of the great martyrs and there works in China and other communist nations. The context of my post, however, referred to extremely local settings. I have no idea of the case in your location, but in my county, Catholic parishes come nowhere close to the evangelism as the surrounding Protestant parishes. I wish this wasn’t the case in my area, but I would be ignorant to say otherwise. In fact, our community paper advertises every Protestant church in the area with basic information, yet here are no Catholic churches in the paper. There are no advertisements for RCIA, conversion, or parishes available for reverts, people who recently moved into the area, etc. I should of been more specific of my context, it was solely on the local setting.


For the most part, it was the missionary Priests and nuns who did the evangelizing. We, as lay people, have become complacent. We expect them to continuing that practice. Yes, even in our country where there is a shortage of priests, we want them to do it all.
I think if the church, and the families, would encourage more vocations, and look at the possible lay evangelizing. It would be a big relief, I think. :slight_smile:


**Everything you have said is true where I live and have lived for the last 25 years. Is this problem evident all over the United States? I would hope not, but the realist inside me says we fall short, very short. **


Let us pray that this isn’t the case nationwide. One problem I noticed when I was Lutheran was that most missions were internationally based. I often have seen the same in my area. Why missions are necessary and quite noble in third world countries, we must also evangelize in our own country. We still have a significant third world population in America, and we only have a population of 23.9% Catholics. A good first step would be to balance national and international missions. If it is balanced, a more effective national mission method is necessary, at least from what I have observed.


I am hesitant to agree with that, not knowing the full history of the evangelization that was done.

We, as lay people, have become complacent.

Without a doubt.

We expect them to continuing that practice.

** Ditto**

Yes, even in our country where there is a shortage of priests, we want them to do it all.


I think if the church, and the families, would encourage more vocations, and look at the possible lay evangelizing. It would be a big relief, I think. :slight_smile:

No doubt.


We had a mission recently at our church and the priest who was speaking spoke quite directly about how “unfriendly” Catholics can be. Even my wife commented on some of the parishioners’ responses recently when she told them of our recent conversion to the Catholic faith. The replies were sometimes lackadaisical at best. Quite sad, really. Granted, there have been a few enthusiastic replies.

In our former Protestant church, new converts were greeted very enthusiastically and most were genuine.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of parishioners don’t even take off their coats during Mass and some leave immediately after receiving Christ. I think they’ve lost their sense of home within the Church.

We don’t let this discourage us because we are overjoyed simply to be receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist. I just think its sad that many don’t realize what they have and they don’t seem interested in getting to know their brothers and sisters in the family.

Personally, we are hoping to help in developing a sense of community within our parish. Under the guidance of our rector, we have a small group that is meeting once a month after Sunday Mass to share and discuss particular topics of study. I’m praying that our enthusiasm will be contagious and perhaps we can light a spark to re-ignite the flame in a few others.

I think the key is to diligently pray for God to show us ways that we can be “Jesus” to others and then act on it. It could take weeks, months, or years, but we pray in faith, believing that we have already received it. God is faithful.


Welcome home and I will pray for your success.




the passage you quote remarks on two local congregations and makes comparisons about ONE aspect of the practices of some members of those congregations. From those observations, he makes a sweeping global statement about ALL Catholics and about the evanglization efforts of the entire Cahtolic Church

the fallacies pile up on each other creating a traffic jam of illogic.

does the writer, or OP, honestly think having coffee klatches will address evangelization, and their absence is a sign that congregants do not evangelize?


Here in the states we have nearly ceased the “Active Evangelism” and have become complacent with “Passive Evangelism” thru missions like Catholic Charities.

Now we have a Pope that wants to strive for ecumenism which IMHO effectively annihlates any “Active Evangelism”

We are not out there Evangelizing to non-believers proactively. We are not out there trying to save Souls proactively.

And if there are groups out there proactively evangelizing for the Catholic Church, they are very few and very low profile


Is it different in your Parish? If so what are you doing to evangelize? Is it working? How many people where brought into your church last Easter?


I think our biggest problem is that we do not evangelize inside the Church. There are so many Catholics that have no idea about the church they attend each Easter and/or Christmas (if they even do that). You also have people that go the Mass every Sunday that knows very little about what the Church teaches. Many Protestants know more about our Church than most Catholics. That is the reason why we are loosing the pew war.


No doubt there.

There are so many Catholics that have no idea about the church they attend each Easter and/or Christmas (if they even do that).

That is a result of poor catechism during the dark ages of the 50s - 90s

You also have people that go the Mass every Sunday that knows very little about what the Church teaches. Many Protestants know more about our Church than most Catholics. That is the reason why we are loosing the pew war

I think another reason is the “Been There Done That” mentality that is sweeping America like a pandemic plague. The need to be entertained…


Are you familiar with Catholic Answers, EWTN, Relevant Radio, et al?


Those are passive methods too, not proactive…Evangelism via happenstance. EWTN, if you happen to have cable. Both radios if you happen to live in an area that provides it.


I think part of the problem is that the Catholic Church is Two-Thousand Years Old. Most protestant/evangelical/non-denominational churches are not only young but NEW in the physical sense. When someone builds or establishes an evangelical church it is a small church, unknown, thus the members of that church are very aware that they must go out into the world evangelize and generally have a seeking/inviting attitude towards non-believers and other Christians.

The Catholic Church has been around for two-thousand years, Catholics feel, in fact Know, that the church is old and Established. Thus most Catholics lack the sense of needing to grow physically and spiritually, because the general attitude is that the Church is already in all the corners of world and now we just need to get along with simply being Catholic. In my opinion that is really why a lot of Catholics are lukewarm when it comes to evangelism for non-believers and mentoring for other Catholics/Christians.


What if you didn’t happen to be in that particular part of Jerusalem on Pentecost? The Apostles went out to preach, sure, but it’s not like they primarily doorknocked or stood on street corners - they started with the synagogues because the Jews were most likely to be receptive to their message, and slowly worked their way to reaching out to the Gentiles.

I think you’re seriously misguided and very insulting to the founders and workers at EWTN and CAF to call what they do ‘happenstance’.

It is beyond belief that you would apply that term to them - there’s nothing at all happenstantial about creating and running a TV, radio or internet site and magazine publication, making the shows or producing the information that are broadcast or printed, and fighting to get the broadcast licences, equipment and other infrastructure you need.

Here’s a litmus test - if Nero was alive today would he be hauling Mother Angelica and Karl Keating off to prison or execution? Answer can’t be anything other than yes, surely. Those are two very influential and highly dangerous-in-a-good-way people.


Where did we go wrong?

You should have asked, “When do we go wrong?”

I think we go wrong whenever we refuse to have faith and practice the use of the gifts which the Holy Spirit has given us.

St. Paul says, “The kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.” (1 Cor 4:20) But sometimes, I’ve observed that we have a tendency to talk and talk but do not allow the power of God to flow, through miracles, signs and wonders.

Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these…” (John 14:12)

I would like to tell you what the situation is like here in India. I am sure you must have heard of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (it would be a pity if you haven’t). In March 1992, Pope John Paul II stated "At this moment in the Church’s history, the Charismatic Renewal can play a significant role in promoting the much-needed defense of Christian life in societies where secularism and materialism have weakened many people’s ability to respond to the Spirit and to discern God’s loving call.
It is a movement within the Catholic Church emphasizing the release of more of the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit in a continuing and New Pentecost for all Catholics. I have seen wonders and miracles occuring within our very own Catholic Church!

(Read more : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Charismatic_Renewal
or do a google search)

I’ve seen the release of the gifts of the Spirit. The gift of tongues (entire congregations praying in tongues, I’ve been there), the gift of prophecy, the gift of healing, and so on. I’ve seen evil spirits screaming and coming out of people (like they did when Jesus commanded them)! I’ve heard of (although not seen myself) people being raised from the dead!!! The effect of this renewal has been so powerful, that even non-Catholic denominations have recognized this power and are working together with the Catholic Church! They no longer think of Catholics as “lost” (as some others do).

The conclusion is that we go wrong whenever we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to work powerfully.

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