Skip to comments.Pope Francis on 10 Reasons Why People Reject the Church
Posted on 08/17/2013 2:06:44 AM PDT by NYer
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.
(HT: Thomas Doran at Catholic World Report)
I am nominally a Crazy Evangelical but I find myself to be a universal Christian, who recognizes the work of Jesus Christ in both Roman Catholic and Protestant/Evangelical communions.
Here’s what’s wrong, with all due respect, dear Roman Catholics.
You aren’t getting that personal salvational relationship with Jesus Christ, except as an afterthought. The church looms so big in your picture that Jesus Christ is made to look small, as if He can’t stick around without the Roman Catholic church’s constant help.
I don’t intend to delve into doctrines, but if you just make room for Jesus Christ to directly act towards your souls as you receive Him with gladness, you WILL see victory! That’s why God raised up the Protestants; He knew you had forgotten about that even though it’s spelled out in the Bible.
No, dear Roman Catholics, the Protestants don’t have everything right. But neither do you. Christ is being very forbearing here and forgiving the obstacles. But He does want to get at you directly. Try to be less full of yourselves and Christ will come in.
He did it for me and I am a Crazy Evangelical.
It seems to me that the Pope’s strategy is to merely talk about how dead and boring Roman Catholicism seems to people. And then he offers, as if it were a solution, a new emphasis on the poor or vague notions of love, as if Catholicism is just one gigantic charity or teddy bear dedicated to social renewal, since the “old” message of an individual’s spiritual renewal isn’t meaningful any longer.
But such appeals as what color of shoes the Pope chooses to wear now only tickles the ears of self-righteous people who think that caring for the poor makes them justified, when really they are spiritually poor, and naked, and dead in their sins. The draw here isn’t on the need of salvation, but on the need to be a Catholic for social reasons. Contrast this with the Apostles who constantly preached Christ and Him crucified, not amongst people who merely thought it wasn’t meaningful to their life anymore, but to people who wanted them dead for saying it.
It’s the Protestants that are molding to the ever changing values of this modern world—which is evil—the Catholics not. THere is a reason why. Clearly you are naive about Catholicism. Your comments show this. I’d recommend reading up on how Protestantism was first birthed and why before making such ridiculous statements. That would just be a start. You know nothing about Catholicism. Yours is just a wide berth of assumption.
“You arent getting that personal salvational relationship with Jesus Christ”,
“The church looms so big in your picture that Jesus Christ is made to look small”
The conflict is very simple. You see yourself as an individual going at it alone with Christ. We see ourselves as a community. To you it matters very little if you go into church every week because you have a personal relationship with Him, and it’s unnecessary. To us, it’s a requirement that we go.
Yes, the Church looms large, but who’s at the head of it? Christ himself. There is no conflict between Christ and his Church.
It is odd that non Catholics care about the Catholic church. It is like looking into the window at our shop every day when you pass by.
#8 This indoctrination starts early nowadays.
With all due respect, that is simply not true. You may believe it to be, but you are incorrect and I would be wrong not to point this out. Christ is the head of the Church.
#11 - The Church didn't frog-march what they knew to be pedophile priests into the waiting arms of Police and State Prosecutors so that they could be tried for sexually molesting young boys and young women. Rather, the Church chose to hide these child molesting pedophile priests by moving them from parish to parish, without so much as thinking about the victims of these heinous crimes.
That's why. It's hard to assign legitimacy to a Church that fails to protect the youngest and most vulnerable, while protecting pedophile priests.
As for the ten problems listed, IMO every church whether Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Lutheran, etc.. has those problems at one time or another. It's all in how that Church chooses to deal with the problems that keep them relevant (or not.) It's those Church's that change the message that ultimately end up losing. The message doesn't change, the message changes us.
One last comment: I was born, raised, reached communion and confirmation, and was married to my wife of 27 years in the Catholic Church. There are some incredibly good Priests and lay folks within the Church who IMO do God's work. It is a shame that #11 as I stated above continues to hang over the Church. That however is the Church's fault for not embracing the victims, and rather embracing the criminals within for so long.
These types of responses are more projection than anything else. "I know you are, but what am I?" comes to mind.
Since Christ tore the veil removing the barrier between the Lord and man, what then is the meaning and role of Priests in the Catholic Church? How does that role conflict or not conflict with Christ being the head of the Church?
Why profess our sins to a Priest when the Lord hears our confessions Himself?
Why are Priests called "Father" when the Lord is our Father?
“It is odd that non Catholics care about the Catholic church.”
Rubbish! If Rome could leave the rest of the world alone I might agree with you. But in light of clear biblical warnings plus Rome’s bloody history, power, goals and soul-destroying doctrine, there is nothing odd about it. We would be foolish not to care. We would be heartless Christians if we didn’t sound the alarm.
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Matthew 15: 2-6
12. Never slavishly put tradition above God's Word.
"2 Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They dont wash their hands before they eat! 3 Jesus replied,And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, Honor your father and mother[a] and Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.[b] 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is devoted to God, 6 they are not to honor their father or mother with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Ain’t just the Catholic Church.
Most of the ‘modern’ churches are a buncha wimps. They can’t or won’t defend themselves from attcks by: gummint, ‘society’, IRS, Muzzies, the “educational establishment”............
Anybody hear ONE LITTLE PEEP concerning the attacks/murders/kidnappings of Christ ians the WORLD OVER???
Howsabout the burning/destruction of churches damn dear EVERYWHERE (NOT just in the ME).
Time for some pushback—Beecher’s Bibles (if you know your history) and jen-you-wine Christian Soldiers. Well, where the hell is it?
And never slavishly put Protestant tradition above God's Word regarding tradition.
2 Thessalonians 2:15Depends on whether the tradition is Apostolic (see above), or man-made, like Luther's novel doctrine of "the Bible alone," which is not biblical or part of Apostolic Tradition.
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
These reasons are wimpy reasons. These reasons do not really touch on the real issue.
The Catholic Church has not made it clear that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church since Vatican II. It is too busy running around making nice-nice with false religions sending the implicit message that you don’t need to be Catholic.
Yes, the Church teaches that others “can” be saved through the mercy of God (but not through other religions). The surest way if one keeps oneself in a state of grace is through the Catholic Church.
I know there are many on this site who believe otherwise and I’m not interested in arguing this doctrine. I’m only pointing out that the VII Church has not been sending the signal that the Catholic Church is the ONE true church for 50 years.
There are consequences for that.
There are consequences for that...True! I imagine decrease in vocations is one. A parish we attend sometimes for daily Mass (that has Perpetual Adoration!) just recently got rid of their 6:15 a.m. Mass most weekdays, retaining their 8:15 a.m. only, and on Saturday, they've eliminated their daily Mass except for on the First Saturday. (And this Mass is very popular usually bringing in 100 at the very least.) BUT this parish is down to just one priest, which is striking as it is such a huge parish.
I don’t understand why having one priest would cause getting rid of the 6:15 daily mass. Does he just want to sleep in those mornings? lol