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Whats Wrong With the Catholic Church

Fr. Joel Being Catholic 10 Comments

Catholics in the United States are leaving the church faster than ever. In the past 10 years our area has seen a 30% decrease in Baptisms and a 40% decrease in the number of Catholics choosing a church wedding, and lots of declines in school and catechism classes. While the Catholic Church in the South and Southwest shows some good growth, churches in the Northeast and Midwest are shrinking rapidly. The result is net decline. Nationwide for every 1 person who enters the Catholic church through the RCIA process, 6 people are leaving!

Any company that was losing customers this fast would be working hard to reinvent itself. The Catholic Church moves slowly, but the truth is now painfully obvious: the Church needs to make some changes. I’ve heard lots of suggestions: better music, more welcoming environment, teaching the faith in a more engaging way, fun youth activities, more adult programs, multi-media, and the list goes on. People have been suggesting even more drastic solutions for years: bring back Latin, or get rid of celibacy, allow members to vote, make women priests. I have hit upon the one change that I think will make or break us. Every Catholic needs to be able to answer this one question:

When did you fall in love with Jesus?

Romance isn’t something we typically associate with being Catholic. We think of Popes and Bishops, priests and nuns, Catholic schools and your local parish. We think of teachings and rules, catechisms and big books and Tradition. We may think of saints and stained glass, or angels and demons, rituals and sacraments and incense and candles. What does the Catholic Church have to do with falling in love with Jesus?

In a word: everything. Our faith began with simple, humble people who fell in love with Jesus. His teachings captured their minds. His merciful love changed their lives. And his death and resurrection stole their hearts. They could never have imagined being loved so much. And then were sent into the world to bring the Good News: God loves you, forgives you, and wants to be your friend and Savior. It was God’s love for them, and their love for Jesus, that inspired them to give themselves fully to Him. Many of them died rather than deny Jesus because they couldn’t live one day without Him.

Behind and beneath everything the Church does, from Sunday Mass to daily prayer to Moral Theology, is the love of the heart of Jesus. Jesus’ love is the reason priests are celibate, why divorce is still frowned upon, and why we keep insisting on social justice and sexual morality. And love for Jesus has inspired countless generations of Catholic families and foreign missionaries. A vibrant parish is a community in love with Jesus; a true Christian is one who has fallen in love with God. And this is what’s wrong with the Catholic Church of today.

 

Comments 10

  1. Thanks for challenging me to focus on my love for Christ and His love for me! If we love like Christ, we will have the Joy we were created for. Thanks for Caring and Sharing!

  2. Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; For Love is strong as Death, longing as fierce as Sheol. Its arrows are arrows of fire, flames of the divine. Song of Songs 8:6 Yes, fall in love with Jesus. It’s the best evangelization tool there is!!!

  3. “In this is love, not that we have loved God. But that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 Jn 4:10. “But God demonstrates his Love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8

    How powerful it is to know that God initiated this. Christ coming and taking our place was his idea, even while there was nothing lovable in us! My only question would be, why do so many Catholics not seem to grasp this? What can be done to better lead them to Christ’s love?

  4. It says “. A vibrant parish is a community in love with Jesus; a true Christian is one who has fallen in love with God. And this is what’s wrong with the Catholic Church of today.” Still don’t understand what you mean? Do you think Christians have fallen out of love with God? Or the idea of God? I think it’s a little simplistic to think that this is the reason that the Church is declining. There are MANY reasons that people are leaving the Church. I think you need to look a little closer.

  5. These are indeed disturbing statistics. My two sons did not have a church wedding because they love the outdoors (cross country runners, nature lovers, a spiritual connectivity) and the Catholic Church refuses to do outdoor weddings. Didn’t Jesus begin his ministry outdoors by the seashore and on the hillsides? Perhaps this might be worth revisiting. I think the Catholic Church can become more responsive to parishioner needs without losing the core of our faith. Thank you for your thought-provoking insights.

  6. The “ solution “ is complex and only God can solve, the the way for me to start is to “ Love Christ” and to change myself to be more Christ Like. Trying to understand without bitterness is hard for me, but when I put Christ “first” I feel His unconditional Love.

  7. What is wrong with the Church? They are ignorant and in denial. As a public school teacher, I have personally watched thousands and know that millions of children were brainwashed to believe religion is an insignificant, ignorant, superstitious, and even violent and dangerous institution! And watched it be replaced with tolerance and the gaia (earth goddess) religion. Don’t believe me? Read your kids/grandkids books. This makes me angry at the Church for not doing a thing about it. And it seems some are promoting these things knowingly or unknowingly.

  8. The article still doesn’t offer a solution to the mass migration away from the pews and sacraments. Analysis is easy, offering a solution is not.

  9. Put the Mysterium back into the Mysterium Fidei…Quit holding hands during the Our Father. Kneel for Holy Communion. Bring back incense. Make the Mass feel like it is part of heaven, and not some earthly club for social activists. Put apologetics back into the sermons, and leave out the funny anecdotes and meaningless humdrum boring platitudes about love. Talk of the devil and hell occasionally, you know, like Jesus did.

  10. I would like to respond to my own comment and ask a different question. What’s right with the Catholic Church today? My answer would be despite 2000 + years of satanic attacks and good discussions, we are still “one Holy and Apostolic and Catholic Church “! We are called by Christ no to divide but to unite.

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