Wednesday, October 20, 2010
CATHOLICS COME HOME!
Click this sentence to view the Catholics Come Home website and various commercials that will be shown on local television!
Our Diocese will be launching a national program to reach out to Catholics who have stopped practicing the faith. During the Advent season there will be television and radio ads inviting Catholics who no longer attend Mass to return.
From you own experience what are some of the reasons why Catholics stop practicing their faith?
I know from what I have experienced from parishioners I know who stop coming to Mass, that divorce and remarriage outside the Church is a big factor as well as marrying a spouse who might be very strong in their own religious affiliation, strong then the Catholic is in theirs and the Catholic starts attending religious services with the more religious spouse.
A story on Catholics Come Home from Rome Reports:
Posted by Fr. Allan J. McDonald at Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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these commercials are beautiful! They made me proud (in a good way) to be Catholic. I do hope many fallen away Catholics do feel their heart tug and return "home to Rome" -
The divorce/remarriage issue probably tops the list, but the main reason for Catholics abandoning their faith that I have witnessed over the years is the ill-treatment they've received at the hands of a priest.
I spent a few years working for the "alternative" Catholic press and I have interviewed people who were molested by priests, had their children molested by priests, were removed from their positions in their parish because they spoke out against something their priest wanted or spoke out against his behavior. I have known of priests who hung up in the ear of people seeking their assistance (my late mother and my wife have both experienced that) and my late father was so angry at one bishop for his apparent focus on money rather than doing the right thing that he stopped going to Mass for nearly 30 years. Thanks to one exemplary priest, my dad was able to confess his sins and receive the last sacraments a week before his death.
So I would say that priests behaving badly would top my list for why Catholics leave the Church. However, I would have to add that it's a lousy excuse. Priests are as human as anyone else and we are not accountable for their behavior. But we ARE accountable for ours. Even if the only priest you know is a sinful hypocrite, he has valid apostolic orders and the sacraments he administers are still valid, regardless of the state of his soul. If a priest is hurting you or someone you love, offer the pain up and pray for the priest. He is actually offering you a chance to suffer unjustly just as Jesus Christ did and there is a great reward for that kind of "dry martyrdom". I understand how people are hurt, but in the long run, leaving the church because of someone's faults is a lame, empty cop-out.
I think Robert, that you are correct. Certainly if a person has been abuse in any way and sexually exploited by an official of the Church, clergy or laity, that would impact upon one's desire to participate in the Church. But even there, I know personally a few Catholics who were molested by priests either as a child or a teenager. By the grace of God, they can distinguish between the actions of a few and even their mental illness and also the poor ways in which those in authority handled the errant cleric, but still found solace in their Catholic faith and the sacraments and were very good Catholics despite it all. Bishop Boland at a workshop we had on Catholics coming Home a couple of weeks ago spoke of the variety of reasons why Catholics leave the Church and he mentioned the poor treatment that many perceive they have experienced in their home parishes or schools by priests or nuns. But I think the vast majority who no longer practice the faith fall out of the habit of doing so, and become slothful in this regard. They are lukewarm Catholics with no real zeal for the faith. How to set a fire under them is a good question and maybe this program will touch their hearts, or should I say that the program will open them to God touching their hearts and setting them aflame!
'But I think the vast majority who no longer practice the faith fall out of the habit of doing so, and become slothful in this regard'
Lukewarm Catholicism combined with all the messages we're bombarded with that promote do what YOU want.
Lukewarm parenting about the faith leads to children becoming lukewarm Catholics, and if it happened in the age of The Spirit of Vatican II...well it's actually amazing that as many Catholics stayed as did stay.
That's what happened to the children in my home. Out of 6 children, 5 drifted away from the Church...and drifted off to no church at all.
I remember no family praying together beyond saying the blessing before meals. Our dad was certainly no spirtual leader of the house. Inside the parish there was no instruction on what the Mass really is and therefore no a bit of awe.
The teenage age years are hands down the most important years to take the practice of Cathoicism up a notch or two and guide the teenagers closely. This is when they usually either begin the drift away or begin the solidification of their faith.
But it's truly 'never too late'!
Lukewarm Catholicism in the home and watered-down catechesis in Catholic schools are the problems I see.
I was born in 64 so I have no memory of the older form of Mass. We did not have many religious practices at home as a family and my mother is not Catholic. I remember when the guitar players arrived at our church for Sunday morning Mass and my father grumbling about "guitar playing hippies." I didn't understand at the time why he was so upset. He continued to practice his faith and in fact, was a daily communicant, and often served at the altar for weekday Mass. However, I did not know any of this until my mother told me 30 years later because he was utterly incapable of sharing his love of God and the Church with me. He was an angry abusive man and I grew up hating everything he stood for. I left the Church at 15 shortly after his death and was away for nearly 30 years.
When I returned a few years ago one of my Catholic friends and I began comparing what we had been taught about the faith in Catholic school. She is 10 years younger than me, and obviously things had changed in religious instruction, because she received First Communion a year before she made her first confession and she did not understand the difference between a mortal and venial sin. She rarely goes to Mass anymore.
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