Brandon Vogt

Pope Francis on 10 Reasons Why People Reject the Church

Pope Francis

The Church’s most prominent outreach today, the New Evangelization, aims at reviving the spiritual lives of those who have drifted from Christ. While these people may have been baptized and perhaps catechized, while they may attend Church semi-regularly, they have never been truly evangelized. They have never experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ or real transformation through his Church.

A couple weeks ago, Pope Francis delivered a powerful message to the Brazilian bishops in the midst of his World Youth Day celebrations. Unfortunately, it didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved.

Speaking on the New Evangelization, and using the Emmaus Journey as a framework, the Pope encouraged his listeners to reflect on why people reject the Church today—why, like the Emmaus disciples, they decide to walk the other way. To bring people back to Christ and his Church, we must understand why they leave in the first place.

To that end, Pope Francis offered ten specific reasons:

1. The Church no longer offers anything meaningful or important.
2. The Church appears too weak.
3. The Church appears too distant from their needs.
4. The Church appears too poor to respond to their concerns.
5. The Church appears too cold.
6. The Church appears too caught up with itself.
7. The Church appears to be a prisoner of its own rigid formulas.
8. The world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past.
9. The Church appears unfit to answer the world’s new questions.
10. The Church speaks to people in their infancy but not when they come of age.
 
Read the excerpt below for more context:

“The two disciples have left Jerusalem. They are leaving behind the ‘nakedness’ of God. They are scandalized by the failure of the Messiah in whom they had hoped and who now appeared utterly vanquished, humiliated, even after the third day.
 
Here we have to face the difficult mystery of those people who leave the Church, who, under the illusion of alternative ideas, now think that the Church—their Jerusalem—can no longer offer them anything meaningful and important. So they set off on the road alone, with their disappointment. Perhaps the Church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions; perhaps the Church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age.
 
It is a fact that nowadays there are many people like the two disciples of Emmaus; not only those looking for answers in the new religious groups that are sprouting up, but also those who already seem godless, both in theory and in practice.
 
Faced with this situation, what are we to do?
 
We need a Church unafraid of going forth into their night. We need a Church capable of meeting them on their way. We need a Church capable of entering into their conversation. We need a Church able to dialogue with those disciples who, having left Jerusalem behind, are wandering aimlessly, alone, with their own disappointment, disillusioned by a Christianity now considered barren, fruitless soil, incapable of generating meaning.”

Which of these reasons do you see as most significant?

 
(HT: Thomas Doran at Catholic World Report)

  • CATRYNA49

    Well, from the standpoint of an ex-Catholic, I can say that just reading the Bible and asking nuns and priests pertinent questions because of the conflicts in Bible facts and Catholic rhetoric caused me to walk away from Catholism at age 10. I never returned and began a search at that young age, for the next 20+ years, until I found Bible Truth. It’s no wonder that Catholic Italians are turning away from Catholic lies among others world wide.

    • Alfred Marquez

      The Jehovah’s Witnesses have ignored Jesus’ words in Acts 1:7 and have speculated on dates that only God is privy to. For example, they predicted that Armageddon would come in 1879. When Armageddon did not arrive in 1879, they moved it to October 4, 1914, then April 1918, then 1925, then 1975, then before the year 2000. And to buy even more time, they have changed the definition of “the generation that shall not pass” for the 9th time in 4 decades. The latest made-up definition is that Jesus wasn’t referring to only 1 generation, but rather TWO (2) OVERLAPPING GENERATIONS. You can’t make this stuff up. Oh wait… you can (and they have_. You see the Watchtower has made up a colossal mountain of BS since they started in the mid 19th century because they know that all they have to say is “Nu-Lite !!” and the 7 million delusional followers worldwide will believe every word of it. Truly sad.

  • hakeem

    To me with all the Gay, pedafilers, and pagan traditons that the church never addressed is probaly why. Oh did i mention there invovement in political war
    Shameful. Lets go back when they killed people in the name of God. if you didn’t convert, just as Muslims do. Jesus said: you will no my true followers by the love they have among themselves. Why go to WAR when Jesus said: Are war is not with flesh and blood its with evil spirit creatures

    united Nations will soon destroy her Peace and security

  • Bill McKenzie

    People of all times turn to God and His Church when man’s solutions fail (as always happens). Right now we worship technology. It keeps us sterile and comfortable. We think we are gods.
    Technology however cannot protect us from man’s inhumanity to man. War will come. It always does. And when it does it will knock us to our knees and knock some sense into our heads. This is the spiritual cycle of life. Those who doubt this are the most surprised when it happens.

  • disqus_TR2uV7KHOY

    Yeah, I got linked here from a sedevacantist site. It was like Vatican 2 set up a pub in the church where people were trying to recover from alcoholism. The pub representing worldliness, people went to the Catholic church to get away from the world and recover from it. Now, V2 brought the world into the “church” and so anytime “Catholics” try to do anything anti-worldly, the action is met with worldly opposition – within the “church”. This has driven traditionalists away from any “church” purporting to be “Catholic” which accepts V2.

    All the excuses Francis gives have pretty quick Catholic answers.

    1, 2 – because of inherently contradictory V2/worldliness.

    3, 4 – lack of prayer because of lack of discipline from V2. “With God all things are possible”

    5 (coldness of the worldliness from V2)

    6, 7, 8, 9 – this is revolutionary-speak. It is exactly Catholic tradition which has the answers to the same problems. Ecclesiastes says, “nothing is new under the sun”. “Modern” problems are the same as problems in Jesus’ day. The Catholic Church is eternal.

    10 – Spiritually, we are to be children of God – “coming of age” means … becoming a child of the Devil?

    It is simply a failure to adhere to tradition which has sent a lot of people away in droves since V2, as well as the freely chosen evil of many others. If the Catholic Church was thought of through a business lens, people would say, “hey, how do we grow this business? How do we multiply the flock?” They would then take action and go door to door like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons do, etc. Instead, the policies of V2 are inherently anti-missionary and pro-indifferent ecumenism. Modern “Catholicism” is recovering alcoholics put into the pub of Vatican 2 – the structure’s design itself guarantees failure.

  • Jadissock

    So, all 10 reasons can be summed up in one – “Spirit of Vatican 2”

    • disqus_TR2uV7KHOY

      Exactly.

  • Clare

    Every single one of these ‘problems’ and more are all blown away when one visits Medugorje and learns how to truly Pray, Fast, Read Scripture, go to Confession, and respect and receive Holy Eucharist. Medj IS the solution for the church and wider society today.

  • Florin S.

    Aug. 18th: I don’t like to say the “Church” does not do this or that because the Church is the Bride of Christ…members of the Church do not meet the needs of the people…the Church is out there in the midst of persecution, danger, out there in the midst of poverty, illness…etc. I know…I’ve worked in Haiti and in India with Mother Teresa and I have seen self sacrificial love of men and women, lay and religious, giving of themselves almost to the point of death and, in some case, to the point of dying. I have seen men and women, lay and Religious, press on while suffering from malaria, pneumonia, as malnourishes as the people they serve…and they do this for the love of Christ and His Church and His people. Then there are those, lay and religious, who sit on their comfortable, at times luxurious, seats while hunger and pain are all around them. Many feed and house their animals better than the poor. Where are the homilies that will feed the people, give them strength and courage to keep going; where is the fire in the soul? Some Priests even go on line to get their Sunday homilies and then read them at the lectern, word for word instead of reflecting on the Gospel themselves and then offering the fruit of that reflection to the people. Pope Francis is giving a beautiful, powerful example of what we should all be doing…we should get out of our comfort zones and mingle with the people of God, especially those who live on the periphery, the marginalized, the lonely – go and volunteer even once a month at a homeless shelter or help to distribute food to the poor and elderly…bring your children along so they can see Christ in you in action…work together to create a culture of life and of love, of true brotherhood. If we don’t we all lose…our Catholic Church is a shining beacon in the dark, a center of hope and of healing…all members may not be but remember, we have the living God, Jesus Christ, in our Churches, our tabernacles…He is there, He calls, He waits, He gives…let us not forget that. and May God bless us all and lead us out of ourselves to serve others in His Name…

  • Petrichor

    I’ve seen lists like these before and they seem to miss the most crucial reason for why anyone would reject Catholicism: its teachings are false, be they on metaphysics, ethics, history or theology.

    I wish I could find more Catholics who’d interact on those issues rather than the ones Pope Francis mentioned.

    • Proteios

      You should probably ask your priest about specific examples you may have. Most of us Catholics are so weary of the ignorance that accompanies most blanket statements like what you made or da Vinci code logic that it just isn’t worth addressing people who could care less about our worldview, their only goal is to ridicule it by dressing up their viewpoint with revisionist history or the Steven Hawkins approach by redefining what nothing is. Its just just annoying and adds nothing to the intellectual capacity of a discussion.

      • Petrichor

        My experience has been fairly different Proteios. I attended Catholic seminary for several years, and my brother will be a priest next year. I’ve been Catholic most of my life and even taught catechesis at college. So, I’ve spoken with lay and clergy alike (even with my Bishop!). Just disappointed I guess. Do you know of a forum where Catholics substantively engage these issues? I tried catholic.com for a while but didn’t find what I was looking for.

  • Terry

    The RC Church has always existed as one of the supporting institutions of the broader community, which was based on the extended family. The aunts, uncles and cousins were the community. The Church didn’t have to fill the emotional needs because they were filled by the large extended families. The Church was only there for extended support of their worship or greater needs that the family couldn’t provide. On the other hand, protestant churches have always been based on individuals building a new community. They have 500+ years of welcoming new-comers who have left the Catholic Church, or otherwise join the church from their former communities. Therefore it is a part of their essence to be good at building community support systems. That was their focus from the beginning. The focus of the Mass is mainly vertical, many of the other religions have a more horizontal focus. Their Sunday school, bible studies, even the potluck dinners are viewed as important and seen as an extension of their church service. WE have to pull teeth to get anyone to stay around after mass for anything!

    All well and good in the old days. But now we no longer have large close knit extended families. The supporting institutions no longer support our values or morals. We need to band together and learn to fill these needs outside of the weekly obligations of Mass attendance.

  • kidinwheelchair

    I think the Church is perfect in Her Teachings..but some (many) of the people either dont’ know the faith or don’t care about the faith…and they reflect badly on the entire Church.

  • Bruno M.

    I think reason 9 is probably a major factor. The Church is really unfit because not a single priest that I have ever known is conversant in science or the moral dilemma of today’s people. Yeah we are caught up in rules like divorced and remarried and we don’t care what happens to them but we want new converts. How can that make sense if you cannot even take care of the people you have. The decrees on the pill and abortion are long out. Who of those Catholics cares who are still in the Church? No priest would touch that subject. Besides, we have become undistinguishable from the rest of society but make strident proclamations about morals and faith when we have none, at least not better than the rest of faithless society. Look how the women dress on Sunday morning. Ah, constitutional rights! Moral? I’m fine, you’re fine. Let’s talk about fundraisers. So why go to Church? We have degraded even the Holy Eucharist to the point where the equal opportunity exercise far surpasses the sublime mystery of the event in importance. Now we need a new theology for women so the rest of the men will leave too. Alien concepts like the Cross of Christ, conversion, repentance, sacrilege, justification, sanctification, heaven and hell (ha!), the Passion and Resurrection, are simply way out of range for any priest, bishop, and cardinal. Women and young people are major subjects. They should make Obama a cardinal. He has the same priorities. Who did you say Jesus is? or Mary? or angels. Forget it; it’s alien!

    • Proteios

      I don’t think a priest can be an expert on everything. But talk to your lay-faithful. There are a lot of us scientists in the pews who have wrestled with different issues that pertain to bioethics, for example. Also, there are Catholic physicians, although not knowledgeable in most of science,do have their own ethical issues to wrestle with. Ain’t easy, but we do it.

  • Jose

    “The Church appears too caught up with itself.” I fact caught up with ifs selfish self. I can’t believe such a bunch of ignorant fanatics, when it comes to gay issues. If someone catholic or not does not understand nor accept homosexuality it is fine. They don”t have to. We live in a free world, but Christian religions and more so The Vatican who should be the people in charge of promoting brotherhood are the ones inciting heterosexuals to violence against their gay brothers and sisters alleging some stupid bible-quotes that some evil ancient writer came up with to portray his primitive instincts of marking dog territory as: “Grrrr!! Hey, this is my home tree (my church)… I created it and marked it with my urine (the bible scripts forbidding homosexuals in it). So don’t you even think of coming close to it.”
    Come on, people! Open up your eyes, you guys live in the dark ages. Get informed responsibly. Being gay of accepting gays as brothers and sisters is not going to send you to hell. What really is going to end up in hell is your church if you keep expelling your “not qualified” people… “Because God said: he made the man for the woman—period!!” And then you point out middle eastern people for violent behavior and violent religious beliefs. Well, you guys should take a look in the mirror yourselves, because your christian churches are really promoting terror against your own gay brothers and sisters.
    Being homosexual means you choose sex-mates among same your same sex prospects. PROSPECTS… here’s your first clue. If you are cute, sexy, young, etc, etc. but you are heterosexual you’re no qualified as a gay’s prospect: so don’t be afraid. And even if you happened to be a gay prospect. If you didn’t feel attracted to that particular gay man or woman, rest assured that you are not going to be sexually harassed. And much less if we all understand that a church is no place for loitering or cruising for sex.
    Receive warm regards,
    an ex-catholic from Mexico.

    • Proteios

      I don’t see that at all.

    • Kasey Dougge

      Jose, if this makes you feel better about leaving the church, that’s fine, but I hope you realise that none of what you claim is dogma or church teaching. But if you really can’t accept the concept of discreet homosexuality, you can join one of several other main line Christian denominations which have come to a different decision regarding homosexuality. The English Anglican Church comes to mind, they bless gay unions and have openly homosexual pastors. Mind you, this teaching has done little by way of increasing their numbers. Great Britain is strewn with former Anglican churches converted to other uses. This leads me to surmise that those who use the homosexual issue as a reason for rejecting Christianity are just engaging in self righteous justification.

      Most people I know, who no longer attend any church, temple or mosque do so because they are too caught up in the present to give any thought to spirituality. They also suffer from the conviction that no one should be able to tell them what to do, not priest, minister, rabbi or imam.

      As for the pope’s words, bless him, but I think he’s all over the place when it comes to the reason Catholicism is in decline in the west. He needs to focus on fixing the deep flaws in the church especially concerning child abuse and the Vatican bank. Those two issues have provided more ammunition for attacks on the Catholic Church than any of its dogmas. Benedict made a start on both fronts and Francis needs to keep focused on these two sever problems.

    • Morrie

      Thanks for the lesson on gay cruising. Maybe the Catholic teaching on sexuality is a little deeper than you think. The primary purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation – cooperating with God in His creation of a new person made in his image – a person with an immortal soul. Hence sex is sacred and should remain in a marriage between a man and woman.

  • David

    “The Church appears to be a prisoner of its own rigid formulas.” I can personally identify with this one. As a lifelong Protestant who converted to Catholicism (or attempted to), I cannot be confirmed because of a required annulment of my wife’s previous marriage. She does not want her former husband notified or brought into the annulment process in any way, so I cannot be fully received into the Church or ever receive communion during Mass. So I’m stuck where I am. What is a convert to do? It seems to me that the annulment process is in need of reform.

  • Catherine

    “7. The Church appears to be a prisoner of its own rigid formulas.”

    I believe that this item is, hand’s down, the gravest reason that people leave the Catholic Church, distrust and sometimes despise it (and yet still, with longing for it in their hearts), and do not come back. People are so totally secularized, thinking that it is only JUSTICE to have Gay & Lesbian Marriage, Women as Priests-Bishops, etc., and that pregnancy is a rank INJUSTICE if a woman does not want to be pregnant or give birth. They see that the Church is Top Heavy with elderly (often, white men) who know nothing of living as a minority or a woman in a VERY UNJUST World. Why listen to them? So they listen to the World…..

    One solution in my view is for the Church to put FAR more stress on Biblical knowledge for everyone. It is easy to go to Mass and not have to STUDY and really take in the words of Christ, in context. With Biblical emphasis, it is very difficult for one to say that the World’s notions of Justice are morally correct.

  • Janie Wright Kearns

    Brandon.. The list you have provided is taken a bit out of context. The Holy Father was addressing the Bishops in Rio and was referring to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO RIO DE JANEIRO
    ON THE OCCASION OF THE XXVIII WORLD YOUTH DAY, MEETING WITH THE BISHOPS OF BRAZIL, ADDRESS OF POPE FRANCIS, Archbishop’s House, Rio de Janeiro, Saturday, 28 July 2013) and suggesting reasons they may have been “leaving”. He clearly doesn’t outline specific reasons people are leaving the church in today’s world, nor was the directive of the meeting meant to discuss the “why” people are leaving. People leave Gods one true church because they fear truth and want justification for the manner in which they have chosen to live their lives and because many parishes have lost their Catholic identity. Some are clearly protestant. These churches can not maintain their flock for long, because they do not have the fullness of faith, nor do they have the “source and summit” of faith.. Jesus, fully present in the Holy Eucharist.. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

  • Abin

    point 3 and then point 8

  • 3 REASONS WHY PEOPLE LEAVE THE CHURCH:
    1: Vatican II and its ambiguities.
    2. No teaching of the Four Last Things…we all go to Heaven.
    3.Since we all go to Heaven, there is no need for Catholicism.

    • Proteios

      Just the other day I got into one of those conversations with a ‘there is no such thing as sin, the devil or hell’ types. I thought it sounded nice that the religion this person cobbled together was so much in line with their life (alcoholism, questionable ethics, lying, gossiping, questions of sexual purity just to name those that come to mind). It was like eating only cake and ice cream while losing weight and feeling fitter. Now, I’m not saying that none of us sin. Just that it is important to know that we are falling short, to get back into Gods grace and strive to sin no more. But be aware of this and accept the good with the bad. Sometimes, ice cream and cake make you fat and unhealthy. It’s good to limit that.

  • Thomas J.Stratford

    Actually it’s the church that drifted from Christ.

  • Rae Marie

    I am a faithful Catholic but one thing that does turn me off about the Church is weakness in liturgy and catecheses and a lack of spiritual direction for laypeople. It sometimes seems like they just don’t care about doctrine, faith and liturgy anymore- like the fires have died. THAT is singularly the most un-attractive thing about the Church for me.

    • Proteios

      Somewhat true. I think there are opportunities if you take them or make them. If you sit back and wait, the current mindset means rarely does someone approach you.

  • 7. The Church appears to be a prisoner of its own rigid formulas.

    In the West this can be summed up in 2 words: Sexual Revolution.

  • ForChristAlone

    With all respect to the Holy Father, he is not speaking infallibly and this is his opinion. I am NOT saying that his opinion should not be weighed and prayed over but there might be more accurate reasons why baptized persons leave the Church. I would say that many people leave the Church because they have succumbed to the ways of the world. Could we do a much better job at catechizing and evangelizing? Without doubt. Can we be more loving as individuals and as a Church? Without doubt and this has been true for 2,000 years. But many need to be open to the need for a change of heart and the need for salvation through the Church. Many today are unreceptive to the truth that the Church teaches.

  • Robert Salazar

    Here are some of my thoughts:
    1. The Church no longer offers anything meaningful or important.
    True. We have ceased being a Church of devotions. When was the last time people saw a Corpus Christi procession.
    2. The Church appears too weak.
    When bishops fail to uphold Catholic doctrine for fear of becoming unpopular, what is our motivation and strength.
    3. The Church appears too distant from their needs.
    True. Confessionals are never available on a timely basis. And seeking help, you just cannot get a straight answer,
    4. The Church appears too poor to respond to their concerns.
    Too poor in spirit. Of course, when archdiocesan websites focus attention on Catholic high school and university football games, you wonder what their focus is.
    5. The Church appears too cold.
    If you are not part of the clique, you are on the outs. Who has Cardinal Dolan’s ear at the Alfred E. Smith dinner? Certainly not the wait staff but the waited upon.
    6. The Church appears too caught up with itself.
    People are more concerned with putting their version of liturgy and music for every one to see and admire, instead of the Church’s own. How did Marty Haugen become more popular than Palestrina?
    7. The Church appears to be a prisoner of its own rigid formulas.
    Obviously not true. Ever attend a Novus Ordo Mass. Very few follow the rubrics.
    8. The world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past.
    The world has always done that. Not much different today.
    9. The Church appears unfit to answer the world’s new questions.
    The Church does have answers. It is not the answers the world wants to hear.
    10. The Church speaks to people in their infancy but not when they come of age.
    Man does not change. He may have more technical advances but man himself has not changed. Is it not in scripture that one should be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven?

    • Proteios

      1. Each year. We don’t miss it. But our area is a bit thin on the holy hours, adoration, and few other devotions…first Friday, divine mercy, etc.
      2. Many do. But the faithful rarely rally behind him. Just complain. The media only says something to denigrate a faithful bishop and praise one that ordains women…sorry. “Ordains” women. Sme of this is our fault.
      3. Overworked priests. We could use 3x more as a minimum.
      4. Unclear on this one. Perhaps you are suggesting catholic schools and universities should be operated faithful to Church teachings. I agree.
      5. I don’t see this one. A person must not only take opportunities, but make opportunities in this regard. I am proof of that. When I stayed in the lurch, no one said anything to me. When I got involved, that changed. A lot.
      6. Some truth to that. Not universally true, but I’ve seen examples that would make your hair turn white….or in my case fall out.
      7. I agree. I wish it were moreso locked into a rigid formula. And if we are merely talking about teachings in sexuality which are dignified and respectful in a hypersexualized world, then I really don’t need to hear this nonsense for the 1000000 time. The modern ways of viewing sexuality aren’t good.
      8. Because all new things are good. Like billions of tons of solid waste floating in the pacific. The drug addictions due to designer drugs. The deadly nature of weapons of war. The deadly toxic poluution to support our smartphone, hybrid car with rare earth metals. Etc. yep. New is always better. You just have to ignore a lot.
      9. Yep.
      10. I think that’s the problem. We stop listening.

  • MBTN

    Personally, when a person who is: older, single, never married, no family, no children, and a convert to top it off, one must sincerely study a
    parish to see where the unity in the community truly lies. There are many, many people like me in the Church that is clueless as to what can be offered to this demographic.

    I find it interesting with Pope Francis’ remark on expanding the roles of women in the church. “…but we don’t have a deep theology of women in the church.”

    As is, I hold fast to the quote from St. Theresa of Avila:
    “The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”

  • Julian Barkin

    To me, it’s one of two, with reason number 10, but not in the way that people think:
    1) Not on the list: It’s all about being self-absorbed and wanting to sin and do whatever you want in this world, and the Church with it’s topics of “sin” and “hell” are barriers to ME doing what I want. And so, chuck away the church to do what you want like divorce, contracept, be an active homosexual, bisexual, whatever-sexual, take drugs, have pre-marital sex, remarry a bunch of times cause the big bad Church won`t let you remarry (without annulment, and even then it`s a pain in the but and they can say No).
    (2) Number 10 “ The Church speaks to people in their infancy but not when they come of age.“ but not in the sense that it doesn`t apply to the adult world. The Church`s wisdom does apply. Rather the institutional Church over the last few decades has failed to preach an authentic Gospel message in parishes, schools, from theologians, etc. Instead the people in charge have gone with a “Jesus loves everyone“ and soft feminine image of our Lord, or theologies and philosophies that violate the teachings of the Church, even apostasy and heretical beliefs. So if it doesn`t apply to adult life, it`s because they are giving a childish or “watered down version“ of the faith that does injustice to Catholics, and many a young person once they have reached their teens can see the “fake version“ of the faith as total lies and stupidity, thus making the Church “not worth it.“

  • Tom

    I say number 9 on the list is the biggest.

  • Randy

    2. The Church appears too weak.

    It just seems like THE CHURCH needs to take a stronger stance on its people placed in positions of power such as Cardinal Dolan in NY and his controversial comments about being in favor of Homosexuality ” or Nancy Pelozi and Biden Catholics who stand behind a president who supports everything from abortion to gay marriage, yet they are able to claim they are Catholic and receive communion. Those are just a few examples of the people in power making our church look like a joke. I understand the Church herself is perfect I just wish her people would be too!

  • Corey Grimley

    Many parishes in our diocese are starting thatmanisyou.org programs. DO IT! Addresses MANY of these topics.

    • Julian Barkin

      Corey, this is so BADLY needed in the Church, between the way society is radically feminist and puts down traditional manliness in every way possible, but also because as a whole, the institutional church has mostly feminine involvement. In a STANDARD parish, you may find some boys altar serving, some older men (rarely younger) men doing lecturing or choir, but for the most part, the other positions (E.g. lay assistant, sacristan, catechist) is done by women. What does that say to a young man? Further, you probably notice that young boys and men, even with a decent family, have NOT been taught how to be TRUE CATHOLIC MEN as adults in this world, either directly or by being reared by their parents to do so, not to mention between high divorce and absentee fatherhood, the male role model tends to be absent. This program should be made more available and presented to bishops in every diocese to help in bringing men back to the Church and promoted in schools too!

      • Anna

        Yes, because men just have it SOOOO HARD In the world today. What’s it like back there in the 1930’s?

        • Proteios

          I think you need to open your eyes.

        • tognola

          C.S. Lewis has a great book titled God in the dock, yes, open your eyes.

      • It is up to men to fix this. No point in men poor-mouthing; they should instead act like, you know, men, and get involved.

  • JohnMcG

    I’m not sure if the important question is which reason is the most important, but that we respond to it as Christ did — by engaging them in conversation that causes their hearts to burn within them, and in the breaking of the bread, which is how those journeying came to know Jesus.

    • Bingo. Totally agree. Though we should note that *before* the journeyers experienced the bread, the Scriptures were explained to them. They understood, then believed, then communed.

  • JoseProvi

    “The Church appears too distant from their needs.” Sometimes the Church doesn’t really provide a community for people. I would say that when people are in need (spiritually or materially) the local parish is distant and tends to send them elsewhere. I can’t say that I know of many parishes where parishioners are on the lookout for those in need and try to assist them. Many people I know that have left the Church have done so because they felt distant from their parish. I think it has a lot to do with the size of a typical American parish vs. the smaller evangelical churches but then again even mega churches are known for creating small communities within the large community. There is something in our Catholicity that seems to prevent most parishes from being welcoming or community-building.

    • I think you’re on to something, Jose. Jennifer Fulwiler wrote a great article on how living near a smaller, close-knit parish community can do wonders for one’s faith life:

      http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jennifer-fulwiler/how-living-near-your-church-can-transform-your-parish-and-change-your-life/

      • tognola

        Good point, I suffer it myself.
        On the side, sometimes I wonder how much community has been lost to the recovery movement, which in my contention is Gnosticism-apologetics at its root which was warned as “modernism” by Pope Pius X.
        This situation that has not been helped by the Church’s own apologist stand to the 12 step communities themselves after V2, even recommending it and hence loosing its own community members tempted to belong to what feels good rather than what is good.
        *Here I am talking about millions of people that are not at Church while they are in a community whose doctrine is basically ruled by vote.
        But It is perhaps the way of Jesus Christ? That is, truth persecuted by popularity. Lived today mystically as it was historically when his body was in isolation after Crucifixion awaiting Resurrection. Please take this not as schism, I know the many good things aa offers, so was in my life, but there was hidden and dangerous yeast.

    • Julian Barkin

      I think JoseProvi, what also plays a part is that many parishioners just go for their weekly obligation out of tradition or the obligation itself, and leave. It`s like an inconveinience out of their week. They don`t truly understand the Mass and what the parish is about. So they don`t chime in and leave “community“ to the daily attendees, clergy, and the eager beavers who love this stuff/need attention in the ministries they do,

      • Brandi

        I agree, Julian, I think people need to be catechized, so they can understand the Mass. There needs to be less “feel good” homilies and more sound orthodox teaching just what it means to be Catholic. I think we’ve been too afraid of offending people perhaps and have gotten away from teaching. That said, I think if there is more teaching of the faith on why we do things the way we do, what the Sacraments are, things most of us should know, but perhaps need reminding of, we might find more people at Mass who have a love for Christ.

        • Proteios

          Agreed. My dad just got done explaining his departure from Christianity was due to fire and brimstone. All fear. I said many now don’t see the pint because its all feel good. T the point where sin has magically disappeared from homilies. What we need is balance. God made great beauty. God also commands obedience. Lets balance out the things that help us avoid falling as well as those wonderful things that strengthen us.

        • E. Murray

          Since Vatican II people have left the Church in droves. Before Vatican II there were so many conversions the priests couldn’t keep up. Vatican II taught heresy (ecumenism and religious liberty were previously condemned, amongst other things) and gutted the Church of its Catholic substance and installed pastors who are Catholic in name only, as a result the Church has no credibility and no attraction.

    • Proteios

      Agreed. I thinks, however, this is a symptom of our entire culture. A culture that has become socially inept. Unable to socialize effectively, even with Church acquaintances, much less people needed advice. This is amplified by poor catechesis. Most people I know. God people. I would be hesitant to make them a godparent to my children in the hopes that if anything happened to me they would continue my children’s Catholic education..or even help while I’m around.
      Bottom line. W need work on social skills and education in our faith. Then I suspect we can evangelize. Otherwise, this year of evangelization is like demanding all kindergarten era be proficient in differential equations. It’s likelihood of success isn’t great.

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