Wife and I concerned about hypocrisy in the church


#1

First I want to state that this is my first post and I am glad to be a member of this board. My wife and I have been studying Catholicism for 6-8 months now and are becoming very convinced that it is Christ’s true Church. This investigation has been a lot simpler for me, because I became a Christian when I was 17 and didn’t have an upbringing full of indoctrination into a certain way of thinking about Christianity. I have been on my own, and have always been very interested in theology and church history. When I converted, I went with friends to a pentecostal church. Later, when I began to study theology, I became seriously Reformed (because I just assumed that the Protestants were right). My wife and I are now Anglicans, but standing on the banks of the Tiber. It has been a more difficult journey for her because her family used to be Catholics, but left the Church when they “got saved” and became Pentecostals. So she grew up just thinking that the Catholic church was bad news, and on top of that, she never once met a devout Catholic believer. All of her Catholic friends were hypocrites who lived in sin with no true faith or repentance, and just went to Mass because they had to, and thought they could do whatever they want and just go to confession.

Anyway, this is probably still the biggest issue for both of us, because although we can assent to the intellectual arguments for Catholicism, we are still in an environment where most of the Catholics are not really trying to live for God. We feel like we have to choose between joining the “true Church” and being surrounded by hypocrites who will probably spurn us for trying to be real Catholics, or being in a Protestant church full of people who are there because they really want to be, and who love God and are seeking to follow Him.

What is your advice to us?


#2

My counsel would be not to worry about other people’s hypocrisy (actually, it isn’t hypocrisy if they’re not pretending to be faithful).

The only hypocrisy I worry about is my own, and it keeps me busy enough. I wonder that you didn’t find hypocrisy of different kinds in the churches you have attended. I certainly did.


#3

MercyGate,

I sincerely apologize if my post was unfair towards any particular group, or if it made it sound like I think I’m beyond any hypocrisy. That’s not what I meant at all. Obviously there is hypocrisy everywhere. I don’t know what it has been about my and my wife’s experience with the Catholic Church, though, but it seems to be particularly widespread. In my high school it was the assumption that the really devoted Christians were not Catholic.

Anyway, your post is probably what I need to hear, in that this is actually just another prejudice we have against the Church from limited experience/knowledge.


#4

Continue on your journey. The hypocrites need you to help set them straight.


#5

The question is how will you live out your faith? It shouldn’t be dependednt on the others in the Church. The Church is a hospital for sinners. You will find all kinds in the Catholic Church and none is without sin.


#6

You know, this is something I’ve thought on several occasions, not about myself, but about the “on fire” evanglicals in general. It’s been so encouraging to both me and my wife to read the testimonies and the work of former evangelicals who converted. From what I’ve seen, many local parishes need the magisterium, unity, and sacraments of the Catholic Church with the fiery devotion of the protestant laity.

But I don’t really know how far that holds up. Through college and the internet I’ve had the joy of meeting many truly devout Catholics. Sites like this one are a great service to the Church!


#7

My advice is to dive in full-body into the Catholic Church and you’ll find plenty of great people who are extremely devoted. I’m 26, and there’s a group of us between 25 and 32 and I’m not even too too involved with this group yet but they say the rosary every day, go to adoration, go to mass daily, etc. etc.

Go to mass on a weekday or adoration, and there you’ll find the really hardcore Catholics.


#8

God does allow wheat and weed grow together in His church.
If you are sure Catholic Church is the true church our Lord Jesus established himself, would you let the weeds in his church stop your journey home?

Your wife’s Catholic friends may not measure up according to your standard, but by all means, they don’t represent the Church.

Plus, God has never expected us to be responsible for other people’s behaviors, or to follow others’ behavior patterns. We are expected to look up to the Lord and follow Jesus’ examples.


#9

You’re right. But I want to say that this doesn’t have anything to do with our “standards” or whether we should be responsible for their behavior. We simply want to be in a place where we can be with people who love God and are devoting their whole lives to Him. You know, Christian fellowship and all that. It’s pretty important.

No I think I can honestly say that perceived problems in the laity at a given parish would not keep me from becoming Catholic.


#10

Hi AV,

I think you already know the answer to your question. You’ve done your homework, inched closer to the inevitable and the last choice is a little scary, and honestly, as you’ve seen, a little disheartening. Not all Catholics are on fire for the Lord. It’s true; a lot of people are complacent.

Why is that? I don’t know. Maybe they feel secure in the Church. Maybe it’s because they were born Catholics and don’t have the fervor common to converts (to any religion). But I suspect it is just human nature.

The bible is full of warnings, 2000 years old, to be on guard for Christ’s coming “for we know not the hour”. Yet many, even then when the Lord had just been there, let their oil run out and could not find the narrow gate. How much more so today when some in the Church even doubt that Jesus really meant all He said in the Gospels, and many outside the Church doubt He even lived.

So come on in! The water’s fine! Stir us up and bring your gift of the Spirit with you! And help some of your new brothers and sisters find that gate.

I’ll be praying for you.

Gem


#11

You can’t find a good Catholic?

You are worried about what has not happened or happening yet. Why would you be worried about what others spurn you for trying to be real Catholics if you have swum over to the other side of the Tiber? :slight_smile:

Take the first necessary step - become Catholic - then deal with what is next. Being a Christian, whether a Catholic or non-Catholic, s/he will be a witness for Jesus - and this always includes being persecuted.

Have you ever thought that your worries might not come from God but from the other end which is trying so hard to convince you not to join the Church?


#12

Hi “amans_veritatis”. Welcome to CAF. And I will keep you and your wife in my prayers, as you contemplate that swim across the Tiber. God bless you both. (P.S., I have heard that the water is fine! :wink: ).

Since I have been a member on this forum… I have often read posts from folks, such as yourself… who express a certain disappointment in seemingly lax or insincere Catholics. Sometimes, there is a perception of how firmly those around us believe (or disbelieve). I try to keep in mind, however… that each persons true faith, is known only to God.

My advice would be in accord with those above. Please don’t worry too much, about the belief or seemingly non-belief (hypocrisy) of those around you… but rather, bring your “light” into their midst. Our dear Lord may well and truly be calling you and your wife, to do just this. Sometimes, we “Cradle Catholics” can begin to take for granted… the priceless value of our faith. And the witness of those who have converted to the Catholic faith… serves as a reminder to us all, of the wonderful gift God has given to us.

Remember the words of St. Paul to the Romans…

“…For there is no distinction, as all have sinned and have need of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through redemption which is in Christ Jesus, Whom God has set forth as a propitiation by His Blood through faith, to manifest justice, God in His patience remitting former sins; to manifest His justice at the present time, so that He Himself is Just, and makes just him who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23:26)

I would also ask you and your wife, to please pray for us already in the Church. It wasn’t until I had been “fallen away” for 10 years and returned, that I began to realize the precious gift which Our dear Lord had given to me. I will never leave Home, again… that’s for sure!

God bless you both!


#13

Thanks, Gem. This was very helpful and encouraging.


#14

Isn’t it common when we join some group, we tend to look at the negatives more than the positives, and for this we hinder ourselves from joining?

Another point, if one is worried about others to spurn us for being a good Catholic, one does not have the faith/courage/desire to be a good Catholic. Is this true for some degree?

Let’s not worry about what has not happened yet, take the first step and allow the Holy Spirit workswith us on the next. We can’t see the steps ahead of us if we have not taken the necessary step.


#15

There are ALWAYS, somewhere within any parish, people who are devout and willing to be friendly and whatever it is you mean by “fellowship”.

But, why would anyone distance themselves from God so as to be closer to mere men?

Perhaps dealing with the “non-fellowship-oriented types” is a great opportunity to bear a cross for those who ARE “on fire” for God?

:shamrock2:


#16

Do Catholics not talk about fellowship?


#17

Yes, such as: Fellowship

But as I’ve never been non-Catholic (though only Catholic for less than a year) I have really NO idea what non-Catholics mean by “fellowship”, and try not to assign either a negative or positive value-judgement to what they mean by it.

Rosary groups, and Novena groups, and Fraternal groups (Knights of Columbus, YLI, etc) are what I’d call HEAVILY “fellowship oriented”, but what do I know!? :slight_smile:

:shamrock2:


#18

My situation was a lot like yours when I came back to the CC from Pentecostalism years ago. Like other posters have said, you will find fellowship within the Church with people of like mind. Either way, once you’ve come to assent intellectually to the Church’s’ claims, you really don’t have much choice.


#19

Hi.

I was confirmed in the Catholic Church on Easter this year, after completing RCIA. I am a former pagan high priestess, so it was quite a transition for me. I’d just like to share a few things from my journey…

It was my husband (back when we were just friends/starting to date) who led me to both Christ and the Church. Not by preaching, or “witnessing” in the sense that most protestant churches talk about, but by the quiet example of his life. He is a devout Catholic who is always a gentleman, always helpful and polite to everyone he meets. He goes to Mass, prays every day, and is active in KOC. He was my sponsor for RCIA and, when I complained about missing my teaching role from when I was a high priestess, he talked me into signing up to help with our parish’s RE program. If he isn’t on fire for God, I don’t know who is.

But the really neat thing is, when I started attending Mass with him and going to parish events (and in our parish they have a potluck dinner or a party or something going almost every month), I met lots of people who are like him - quiet, sincere, devout Catholic Christians. I was most impressed with our priests and our deacon, all of whom spoke and lived as “humble servants of the People of God.”

The Catholic Church is filled with wonderful people - and I’m sure there are also people who are less devout. Such is life. I’m happier in the Church than I ever have been in my life, and I believe that you will find peace and joy here too.


#20

I know where you are coming from. I converted about 14 years ago from being a Baptist. I have heard talk of fellowship only a handful of times. I wish we had more people like you that are devoted to serving Christ. Maybe it is your calling to put a spark into your Catholic friends, or at least remind them of what they are missing by living a secular life except on Sundays when they are required to go to church (which they may or may not do depending on there commitment).

Maybe it is your calling to bring your protestant friends over to the Catholic faith. If you know the truth shouldn’t they? How great would that be if you had them at your church?

There will be sinners everywhere. The Catholic Church is so huge that, yes, we have many levels of faith. But unlike many of our protestant brothers we still attend church even though it may be contrary to the way we lead our lives.


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