Thursday, September 25, 2014

PLEASE NOTE HOW FIDELITY TO THE CATHOLIC DEPOSIT OF FAITH KEEPS PEOPLE FAITHFUL

empty-church
The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is getting some interesting answers:
Notice the reasons why people stop going to Mass. It is all about a loss of Catholic Faith. Those who stay want the Faith to change and transform them. Those who leave want to change the Faith!

September 23, 2014 2:45 pm  •  

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has taken a page from Pope Francis, asking the faithful to reflect on their experiences in the Roman Catholic Church.
Specifically, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki has investigated one crucial question: Why have some Roman Catholics in the diocese stopped attending Mass? 
To answer the question, Paprocki enlisted several professors at Benedictine University at Springfield to survey parishioners.
Professors Phillip Hardy, Kelly Kendra and Brian Patterson surveyed 575 lapsed Roman Catholics from November 2012 to March 2013, asking them why they had stopped attending Mass or had left the church altogether; what might motivate them to return; and whether the church's stance on issues like homosexuality and abortion had factored into their decision.
Meanwhile, from February to March 2014, 827 Roman Catholics still active in the church were asked about whether their spiritual needs were being met.
Results from the survey released last week indicate four major reasons why some Roman Catholics stop going to church, among them: Disagreement with church doctrine on birth control, women as priests, homosexuality; A view that there are too many scandals in the church; A feeling parishioners are being judged by the church or are not welcomed.
Here's a sampling of some of the comments left by lapsed Roman Catholics completing the survey:
-- “My daughter came out to me as gay, and I went through a divorce after 28 years of marriage. The Church doesn't want either one of us.”
--“Being divorced they do not let you take communion. Treat you like an outsider. But they allowed priest [sic] that they knew were bad to stay in the church.”
-- “The archaic idea that only men can lead a congregation and be in the clergy, the underlying message of guilt and fear and the lack of diversity and openness to gays.”
-- “I struggle with the way the Catholic Church has not adapted an ever changing world. I also feel sometimes people are looked down upon instead of being lifted up by the church.”
-- “I have visited many parishes in the Springfield community trying to find a priest that seems dedicated to his parishioners and the word of God. All of the priests seem too wrapped up in themselves and the ‘power’ they perceive they hold. They all seem more wrapped up in themselves, much like politicians.”
-- “My parish was a cold place. You could walk in on Sunday, go to mass and walk out without speaking to another soul, I longed for fellowship.”
And here is a sampling of comments left by active Roman Catholics:
-- “I believe in the Catholic Church and this is my parish, born and raised where I raised my family. This parish has supported me thru good times and bad, it is where Our Lord gives me comfort.”
– “I attend to serve Jesus and the people. I attend to be close to Jesus, and partake of the Eucharist. I go to honor God as he has commanded. I enjoy the people around me, I go to be inspired throughout the week.”
– “Our priest is amazing, very down to earth, loves the people. We have a wonderful choir that adds to our masses. There are so many very special people in this parish that work together to make things happen. We have a group of young families that are also very active.”
When asked what the church could do to increase attendance, some suggested a media campaign, others recommended taking full responsibility for the child sexual abuse scandals, while still others pushed for higher-quality priests.
As the survey points out, however, there might not be much that can be done about Roman Catholics who have left the faith because they disagree with the church's teachings -- short of changing that doctrine.  
If you're curious to hear more about the survey results and what the Springfield diocese plans to actually do given the responses, Bishop Paprocki is hosting a forum on Monday, November 24 at Benedictine University at Springfield.

10 comments:

Richard M. Sawicki said...

This survey hands Bishop Paprocki an absolute Godsend of a "teachable moment".

He needs to utilize all modern means of communication and media to acknowledge the results, highlight the differences in the statements of the "two camps", and begin a charitable campaign of both fraternal correction, and energetic "remedial catechesis"!

These poor souls who say things like, "the Church doesn't want either of us" or "I feel like I'm being judged", need to be reached and enlightened! They've been so brainwashed by the secular culture as what the Church is and what Her purpose is.

Modern high-tech media presents an excellent tool. Bishop Paprocki MUST take advantage of it NOW, before even more souls slip away into the cultural and spiritual abyss.

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

JusadBellum said...

It's an excellent survey. A better one would be to run an experiment with those who demand the Church change to 'get with the times'.

1) Would you fundamentally change your beliefs to attract friends?

i.e. if you are a Democrat or Republican, would you switch sides in order to attract a neighbor to your next house party?

Most people would not change party affiliation to be more acceptable to strangers. But to demand the Church change to cater to them.... then they're suddenly "faithful" and demand to be counted as having an opinion that matters?

It's like a tax cheat who no only doesn't pay a dime to local, state, or federal taxes, nor votes but actively scams the system demanding to be treated as a great citizen.

We are either disciples of Jesus as Lord or we're only here for the coffee and donuts or social benefits.

But regardless of what we think, the fact remains that we're on a battlefield between Heaven and Hell, and the world, flesh, and devil seek to destroy us in this life and the next while God seeks to restore us to life in Him in this life and the next.

The greatest "spiritual awakenings" and reformations have come not from watering the Church's doctrine down but by highlighting eternal truths and calling for heroes and saints to rise up.

And rise they will, either as white martyrs or red martyrs. It's entirely our choice as to how the American saga will unfold; we can become disciples in peace time or under the duress of full, open, bloody persecution.
It can, and will happen here, unless we chose to conform ourselves to the Word rather than the World.

John said...

Some of the most faithful and active parishes are the TLM based sspius and sspeter communities.

RCIA and NO Sunday Schools, with some exceions I am sure, fail to impart a Catholic identity. Heck, many of the clergy lack serious Catholic identities.

We are living in a culture in transition. However, we lack the necessary spiritual resources to offer Catholic values in the public square. These resources were squandered at Vatican 2 and in the post council period. Immoderate and confusing messaging about what it means to be Catholic still continue unabated. Do not expect much improvement until Rome and local efforts to preach a clear message is once again realized.

The Roman Empire with its Arian Catholic culture died. Athanasius and Clovis working together saved Catholicism as they were the only non-Arians left who truly cared Catholic faith and values at the time.

It will be so again. Pope Benedict XVI said that the Church will be smaller in the future but it will survive. I believe people are not yet willing to listen to his teachings in a serious way.

The Catholic Church needs to become more self referential because Jesus Christ was too. It is the narrow road but the only one leading to where we all want to go.

Anonymous said...

(Published under Anonymous because OpenID gave an error).
Bee said:
I have always thought that at one point or another, in all of our lives, the Church's doctrine is going to conflict with what we want to believe and what we want to do. And at that point, that critical juncture, the rubber will meet the road, and we will either change ourselves to conform to God, or break with God because we can't stand the tension the choice forces upon us. St. Thomas More is a perfect example of this, and shows even if it means losing everything, even our lives, we must, we must, choose God's way. Even if our child is gay. Even if the parish is "cold." Even if we think the "underlying message is guilt and fear..."
Honestly, living our Faith is like Jesus telling you to step out of the boat, and inviting you to walk on water. When you read the Gospels, and see how many people just walked away from Him after being inspired by Him, is it any surprise we still see it happening?
"Will you leave me too?" "Where would we go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life." So be it.

MR said...

Speaking of fidelity to the Catholic deposit of faith:

"Spanish bishop: Pope says he will not change Communion rule"

http://www.ewtnnews.co.uk/catholic-news/World.php?id=10812

Bill Meyer said...

I read the reasons of those who left, and common to all of them seems to be: lack of catechesis.

Not wanted? Where is that in doctrine?

The Church doesn't adapt to the times? Why should it embrace corruption and perversion, and adapt its message to those aberrations?

JBS said...

JusadBellum is proving to be a very fine addition to the group of regular contributors here.

George said...

Richard M. Sawicki
You are right. There needs to be a follow-up (or follow-ups) to this. The major reasons given why some Roman Catholics stop going to church, i.e.: disagreement with church doctrine on birth control, women as priests, homosexuality; a view that there are too many scandals in the church; a feeling parishioners are being judged by the church or are not welcomed, are the same(or similar) responses that such a survey would produce in any parish across the country.Among these will be those "Non serviam" whose opinions will be difficult, if not impossible to change. The parish would I think, have more success reaching those who feel they are not welcome or feel disgust and disenchantment because of all the scandals. There will be those who will continue to separate themselves from the flock on being told the Church cannot change its magisterial teaching.
The prayers of faithful Catholics for these fallen-aways can also be of great assistance

Anonymous said...

Father, at my former parish there is a situation that is currently all over our local news stations and is also trending on some other local stations across the country. It is a prime example, to go along with the examples given here, of how avoiding certain teachings of the Church will cause great damage to the Church and her members. I have written before about my former parish and this is the culmination of much of that.
The story in short: The gay music/Liturgical director is asked to resign by our archbishop who has been the target of local media for almost 2 years for supporting the marriage amendment in this state. He is asked to resign after he “marries” his same-sex partner. Since the parish is a cult of the priest and now it seems, cult of the music director, a good amount of the parish members are crushed and can’t understand how this could happen. They say ignorant things like; "We just have to figure out how we can be more loving toward each other in all of our diversity", and, “it’s sad and it kind of angers me that he can’t be here for the reason that he married his partner”, and, "I'm disappointed that somebody's out there that says somebody is not good enough,".
The music director sent this message to the parish; "I know the vast majority of people at St. Victoria live lives that are truly examples of the way Christ would live; free of judgment, filled with love." The priest said; "Yet, it also speaks to the gap between understanding how to be faithful to church teaching and yet remain true to one's self as we stand before God. Neither is easy. Perhaps ultimately it's about contrasting visions of what it means to be church".
I am angry because the priest and deacon there did nothing to address this in the 18 years the music director was there. They not only failed to help this man and the rest of the parish understand what the Church teaches on this issue but they talked behind the scenes about how the Church is wrong on this. Now as a result of one man’s sin and the failures of his priest we have chaos in a local church. I still belong to a men’s prayer group there and their very families are being fractured by this. We have been together for over 10 years and have discussed this issue and they are well educated on it but their families are not. It has the potential to destroy marriages. They are asking me “what should I do?”
So I ask you Father, what should they say, what should they do? Here is an example:
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/09/28/st-victoria-church-pastor-speaks-out-on-music-directors-resignation/
Vianney1100

Anonymous said...

Father, at my former parish there is a situation that is currently all over our local news stations and is also trending on some other local stations across the country. It is a prime example, to go along with the examples given here, of how avoiding certain teachings of the Church will cause great damage to the Church and her members. I have written before about my former parish and this is the culmination of much of that.
The story in short: The gay music/Liturgical director is asked to resign by our archbishop who has been the target of local media for almost 2 years for supporting the marriage amendment in this state. He is asked to resign after he “marries” his same-sex partner. Since the parish is a cult of the priest and now it seems, cult of the music director, a good amount of the parish members are crushed and can’t understand how this could happen. They say ignorant things like; "We just have to figure out how we can be more loving toward each other in all of our diversity", and, “it’s sad and it kind of angers me that he can’t be here for the reason that he married his partner”, and, "I'm disappointed that somebody's out there that says somebody is not good enough,".
The music director sent this message to the parish; "I know the vast majority of people at St. Victoria live lives that are truly examples of the way Christ would live; free of judgment, filled with love." The priest said; "Yet, it also speaks to the gap between understanding how to be faithful to church teaching and yet remain true to one's self as we stand before God. Neither is easy. Perhaps ultimately it's about contrasting visions of what it means to be church".
I am angry because the priest and deacon there did nothing to address this in the 18 years the music director was there. They not only failed to help this man and the rest of the parish understand what the Church teaches on this issue but they talked behind the scenes about how the Church is wrong on this. Now as a result of one man’s sin and the failures of his priest we have chaos in a local church. I still belong to a men’s prayer group there and their very families are being fractured by this. We have been together for over 10 years and have discussed this issue and they are well educated on it but their families are not. It has the potential to destroy marriages. They are asking me “what should I do?”
So I ask you Father, what should they say, what should they do? Here is an example:
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/09/28/st-victoria-church-pastor-speaks-out-on-music-directors-resignation/
Vianney1100