MegaChurch or Catholic Church?

Megachurch. Two young ladies. Both had left the Catholic Church. Both were now attending “megachurches.” We had a good chat together. I wanted to understand their reasons for why they left the Catholic Church for a megachurch.

megachurches

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Megachurch
43,500 weekly attendance

I was at the bank and somehow I got into a spiritual conversation with two Hispanic executives that worked there.

Why the Megachurch?

When I asked why they exchanged the Catholic Church for the megachurch, they gave me a number of reasons:

  1. “My new church has an iPhone app. I can go on my iPhone and get Bible studies, sermons (video and audio). When I travel I can still watch the sermon, either live or later. I feel apart of the community.”
  2. “The preaching is dynamic and speaks to my life. I find practical encouragement.”
  3. “I felt judged at the Catholic Church.”
  4. “People were not friendly or welcoming at the Catholic Church. The first time I went to my new church, I was welcomed by so many people.”
  5. “My new church has classes and courses that are interesting and helpful.”
  6. “The music is better.”
  7. “In the Catholic Church, they use a lot of words that I did not understand.”
  8. “People pray for each other and know each other (in the megachurch).”

Although these two ladies didn’t articulate it explicitly to me, I could tell that they were very proud of their new churches. I could also discern in them a surprise that I am so “spiritual” and yet I am very excited about being Catholic. They assumed the “with it” people were leaving Catholicism for the bigger and better and deal.

I asked them what they miss about being Catholic. They replied with two answers:

  1. “There are not any crosses in my new church. I know it makes some people feel uncomfortable, but I wish we had crosses.”
  2. “What will I do when I die?” They were both unclear about whether they could get anything like Last Rites at the megachurch.

What About the Eucharist?

I asked both about the Eucharist: “Don’t you miss the Eucharist?”

This question didn’t phase them one bit. “Oh we still have communion. They pass out little crackers and cups of juice. I like this better because I thought drinking from one big cup is icky. Spreads germs.”

“But in the Catholic Church,” I replied, “we believe that the Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Jesus?”

I may as well have said, “Don’t you know that there are Martians in my back pocket.” She was unaware that the Catholic Church taught this. No idea.

The Problem

This, my brothers and sisters, is the crux of the problem. These girls were raised as Catholics, but did not know about the Eucharist. They did not know that the Eucharist is God. They did not understand the Holy Eucharist is the center of the Catholic tradition.

So when they compare our ho-hum Catholic music and pedestrian sermons to snazzy well produced musical productions and highly polished bulleted sermons from handsome professional speakers…where are they going to go?

If they had believed that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Lord Jesus Christ, then they would have stayed. This is the task of the New Evangelization if there is going to be one. Can we communicate the mystery of Eucharist. If we fail in that, everyone is leaving the building.

Godspeed,
Taylor

PS: I don’t mean to suggest that having the Holy Eucharist is an excuse for bad music, bad vestments, bad architecture, and bad sermons. The Eucharist is like a precious diamond. It deserves a platinum setting…not a plastic setting. We can’t say, “Well, we have the Eucharist – so you’re forced to stay and have a miserable experience every Sunday.” We can’t keep the sacraments hostage to mediocracy.

PPS: With 1 billion strong, the Catholic Church is the real megachurch!

pope visit

Pope Francis at Rio de Janeiro
3 million people

Question: Do you have friends who attend megachurches? What’s your experience. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Jasper Monroe Ylanan

    It reminds me of a story of a catechist and a group of children. “Why do we have to keep quiet during mass?”, the catechist asked the children. One kid immediately blurted out, “So that we will not disturb the people who are sleeping during mass!”.
    Admit it, our mass can be a bit boring. But, during that “boring” mass, a great miracle will take place! What can be a greater miracle than the changing of plain bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Blessed Lord? And I think that exchanging the Eucharist with iPhone apps, “cool” rock music, and “inspiring” homilies is like exchanging a diamond for a handful of pebbles.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      I agree. But they thought that the Eucharist was just another pebble.

      • Jasper Monroe Ylanan

        Because they think that the Eucharist is just a mere symbol.

      • http://clinmarjo.blogspot.com/ Maryellen Jones

        because they don’t know any better. The church is failing to evangelize. Your comment that we should evangelize the truth of the Eucharist is great.

        • Rick

          If you go to any of the large parishes in my city they are trying to style themselves after the mega Church encouraged by our last bishop. Teach happy clappy sermons, make people feel good, the truth be damned. I think many of the local priests if given the freedom would be handing the Body of Christ down the pews just like in any Mega Church. Really that is kind of what they are doing one lay person is giving the Body of Christ to another layperson why not just hand the plate down the aisle. The fruits of spirit of Vatican II have made the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism unrecognizable. To the average baptised Catholic there is no differance and most believe that all are going to heaven, God is a loving non-judgemental God you can pick what ever path to heaven you want. As a convert I was shocked to hear this and asked if this is true why should I have entered the Church if I could as easily been justified in my Baptist Church? So by the progressive teachings of your average Novus Ordo parish I could just go back to my Baptist Church and have no worry of my justification. We wonder why so many mega churhes are filled with baptised Catholics? Many priest believe that by not teaching the hard teachings of the Church and staying away from the truth of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurs during the concecration they will be loved and their parishes will be full, but they soon discover that they are filling the local mega church and suffer from a lack of vocations.

    • David Homoney

      The Mass is only boring to those that neither understand the Mass or the priest who doesn’t and can’t convey the great mystery and majesty of the Mass. If we truly want a restoration, to Instaurare Omnia in Christo, then the liturgy must be restored. I look at the reasons given by these girls and I wonder what they want. The average parish has plenty of liturgical innovation. They go rid of all that stupid Latin, all those old hymns, all those weird processions, and that stinky incense stuff. The got modern in design just like those megachurches. Gone are the kneelers, gone is the organ, in comes the flute, piano, guitar, and tambourines. Gone are the fiery homilies, in are the sappy worthless offend no one talks. Don’t dare tell people what sin is and the consequences of it. Don’t tell them to dress with dignity or modesty. Don’t stop mini-skirts or halter tops, thereby making Mass a near occasion of sin for the men there. No, just keep on with the be nice to each other and don’t offend each other.

      I guess these girls were not swayed by the Bishops falling all over themselves to support amnesty instead of being shepherds and teaching the faith to the faithful. Instead, every Sunday, week after week, people go to get their wafer and some wine, delivered to them by unconsecrated hands, by those dressed like they are going to the beach while they are in objective mortal sin, as they contracept, abort, fornicate, and commit the sin of Onan at rates as high or higher than the average population.

      No, until the liturgy is restored, and dignity is brought back to the Mass, nothing is likely to change. Save the liturgy, save the world. If they have nothing transendant and beautiful to come back to, they will never return.

      • Lina

        hear hear David… I like where you’re going with this. Totally agree that there’s no holiness in modern mass anymore. People dress up like they’re going to hang out with friends. People attend mass to look at other people. It’s sad but it’s the reality of things. Coming from a small island in the pacific, Mass is so holy and everyone is dressed modestly and when I moved to Australia I was shocked to see no one was kneeling to receive communion, girls in mini skirts, far out my dad would’ve kill me if I had worn a short sleeve shirt to church or wear a mini skirt to Mass. Nowadays, girls wear mini and singlet and then they go up pew and read the bible. Like what is up with that??? Every priest does mass differently and I’ve come to accept this is how they do things in this country so just have to live with it,

      • Bill Polakiewicz

        Amen

    • Margaret

      Try reading “The Lamb’s Supper” by Dr. Scott Hahn. Also, listen to his conversion story. Mass won’t be boring. I have all sorts of Catholic aps on my phone. I don’t know what this girl is talking about. Also, Catholics pray for one another. I will admit, we are a bit weak in welcoming one another. But then again, new comers need to get involved.

  • Sal

    Our daughter and her young family attend a mega-church. She was brought up more or less as an Episcopalian (I am the only Catholic in our family and was not able to catechize the children.) and her husband was completely unchurched.
    They like it b/c they have a choice of going on Saturday or Sunday, the sermons are interesting and the atmosphere is not “churchy”. It is serious, but upbeat. But most important to them and the major reason they looked for a church, they have a vibrant children’s program that their kids (11, 7 & 5) love. And they have learned a surprising amount there: Bible stories, verses, practical Christian precepts (even if their commission is a little patchy). From what they’ve shared with me, I’d have to rate it much higher than the “crayon Jesus” catechesis common at your average Catholic parish.

    Otoh- I’ve seen an IT engineer, who you would think would be the last person to teach First Holy Communion class, hold 6 & 7 year old’s spellbound using the St. Joseph Catechism. For weeks at a time. With no crayons in sight. So, it doesn’t have to be all flash, and it can be deep. You can use “hard” words, even. Now, this is an EF parish, so that might make a difference. But it can be done.

    • Christian LeBlanc

      Yes. I teach no-nonsense Bible-based 6th grade Catechism. By year’s end, the kids understand Catholicism better than many of their parents.

    • Bill Polakiewicz

      Remember, Jesus founded one church, the Catholic Church. God can not make mistakes, therefore any man who starts another church, goes against God. All other churches were founded by men. They are false religions. There are over 50,000 denominations. Which one do you chose to follow? Which one will save your soul for real? Study St. Paul, and then study the history of the Catholic Church. Continue studying until the day you die. Teach you children that they are standing on holy ground when they enter a Catholic Church where Jesus is sacrificed each and every time the Mass is celebrated. Teach them how to act upon entering a Catholic church. Teach them how they shoulc act in the presence of God.

      • thisoldspouse

        Oh, the tired “over 50,000 denominations” claim again.

        Name them. If they can be counted, they can be named.

        I’ll wait.

        • mortimer007

          tos, oh dear, touched a nerve did we?

      • lendtolease

        I think the C church kind of gave up its exclusivity over the years. many times, I’d venture to say it even left G-d.

      • c matt

        when they enter a Catholic Church where Jesus is sacrificed each and every time the Mass is celebrated

        A little clarification – Jesus is not sacrificed “each and every time” the Mass is offered. The one sacrifice of Jesus is made present at every Mass.

  • Kristy Knable Ziegler

    I left the Church when I was 15 because (1) I didn’t know what the Church taught, especially about the Eucharist (as you pointed out) and (2) because a Southern Baptist youth convention was able to make me understand that Jesus wants a personal relationship with me. I’ve since returned to the Catholic Church with a burning desire to help make Catholics (and non-Catholics) understand what the Church is. We have a mega-church in my city, but it isn’t as phoney as some of the others we hear about. They – along with other non-mega evangelical churches – are able to make the message of the Gospel REAL to people. They are able bring the Gospel to people in such a way that it transforms their hearts. So the question is – how can we do this in the Catholic Church, where we have the fullness of the Christian faith?? How can we make the Gospel real to people? If we can make it REAL to people, then we won’t have people sleeping in the pews.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Yes, a good bit of this had to do with preaching. Good Catholic preaching is way better than good Protestant preaching.

      However, bad Catholic preaching is way worse than bad Protestant preaching.

      • thisoldspouse

        Can you really call it “preaching” if it is bad?

        That’s like referring to “nutritious poison.”

    • Bill Polakiewicz

      Please read my long post about what priests need to teach their flocks about inside of a Catholic Church

  • Denise

    As St. John of the Cross said, “If they were of the truth they never would have left, but since they never really were of the truth, they couldn’t remain.”

    • http://clinmarjo.blogspot.com/ Maryellen Jones

      So true – but – at our parish the bad preaching won’t bring any to the truth. We learned the truth from Catholic publications such as “The Rock” and from solid Catholic presence on the internet. I learned a lot of truth from writings of the Saints.

  • sblasco

    You’re neglecting three (maybe three and a half) of the eight points you heard from them, though. I came to the Catholic Church from a dappled Protestant background of Baptist, Reformed, liberal Presbyterianism, and one straight-up “house church.” On the one hand, I wouldn’t be anywhere else, and I could never go back to taking any Protestant church seriously. On the other, as these two ladies articulated, every Catholic parish I’ve been to has been socially COLD. There is no, or next-to-no, sense of community, everybody either splits immediately after Eucharist or, if they talk to you for a few minutes, have forgotten your name by the next week. I’ve never been welcomed to a new parish, either before or after mass.

    My wife and I sometimes talk about how much we miss the community of which we were a part, in which we felt really included, when we were members of a Reformed church. There’s no replacement for the Eucharist, but so far, life as a Catholic is alienated and lonely.

    • Neil Frazier

      Test the waters at your nearest TLM. Unlike what you may have heard, most are warm and friendly. Just wait until you are out of the Sanctuary before striking up a discussion :-) Also, make sure the TLM is diocesan or at least in communion with Rome.

    • Mary Martha

      Yes, I know, and I’m sorry. When I moved to my current location over 30 years ago as a young single, I felt very isolated as well. No family, no friends, no singles groups and the least bit of a smile towards me went a long way. While I don’t have a solution to the problem, all I can suggest from my experience is to get involved in some activity within the church. Most parishes these days have many activities such as saying the Rosary before Mass, teaching CCD, Bible study, helping the poor, Prison ministry or some other ministry within your parish. What I DON’T want to see happen is that our Catholic parishes become social country clubs. I’ve seen that happen too, where there is so much focus on bringing people into the community, that they’ve forgotten the purpose of their being there in the first place….the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It makes me almost sick when I drive by all these popular mega churches. I don’t want to judge them, but from what I can tell, it seems they are a social gathering first and worshiping second.

    • Toni Meloche

      JMJ
      I agree. I have only once been welcomed when I moved into a new parish community. (I am a re-vert. I’ve been back for 10 years and have been in 4 communities do to job moves) I have since moved again and once again I feel isolated. People who are part of the community for years think your a tourist and many leave right after Mass. The parish i attend now is in a very tourist”y” place, but I feel unless I do something, then I will not be part of the community. It is hard to start in a new community, not knowing anyone, and being viewed as an “outsider’ when we are ALL a part of the Body of Christ! Even the priest appears very weary, hesitant, standoffish. I do know it is a 2 way street, but why do Parishes not have welcome committees???? Especially after a family registers???????? Peace T

      • dominic1955

        As a cradle Catholic, I really do not think we need “welcome committees”. For me, that is the worst thing about visiting Protestant churches (which I do because I like to check out the architecture)-the “welcoming committee” latches on to you. I appreciate the attempt to be nice and outgoing, but honestly, just go away. I mean that in all charity and niceness too.

        I do not really know how to explain it as I’ve always been on the inside, but the Church is indeed a family, and intimately familiar. No, we don’t have all that “community” stuff but we have something better in that the tie that binds is much more than surface “niceness”. I like that church is truly a sanctuary where I can go to get some peace and not be assaulted by people about this or that committee, or bible study, or whatever. I like that I can go to coffee hour…or not. Too often all that “community” stuff seems like mandatory fun and nothing kills truly organic enjoyment of company more than that.

        • Debby

          So, there’s no mandatory fun, but also no fun at all.

    • http://clinmarjo.blogspot.com/ Maryellen Jones

      Like you, I wouldn’t be anywhere else. The Catholic Church is a great gift, even if no one ever spoke to me there, Jesus speaks volumes through the Holy Mass. He is enough – more than enough.

      • Pat Mobilik

        I agree! we are not in church to be greeted by the people, but to go to church all focus on Jesus alone! After Mass is always a great meeting at the parish canteen for a bowl of noodle soup!.. that’s a party! and to start a party… you have to come participate at will and not wait for others to invite or spend time with you! because nobody knows you are new there.. people come and go! for all you know 80% of the church goer might be new there?… so, go make friends! setting up a reception committee for the church is a waste of time… church time is Jesus’s time (strictly that 1 hour on Sunday).. not yours. Yours and friends is 24hrs Monday to Saturday, and 23 hrs after Mass on Sundays! God is great! He only asked for 1 hour of your time and still… you want your presence in church to be officially accepted? “Christ increase, we diminish” I love being Catholic and very proud of the Catholic system.

    • Micha_Elyi

      …every Catholic parish I’ve been to has been socially COLD. There is no, or next-to-no, sense of community…
      –sblasco

      I think about these words of God in Genesis 2, “it is not good for the man to be alone” and remember God said this even though Adam was walking the garden with God.

    • Bill Polakiewicz

      You and your wife are the Catholic Church. Don’t compain, but lead the way. Welcome others even though they may be cold. Your attitude will rub off on other. Note, do not talk inside of the Catholilc Church. Socialize on the ourside of the church. The inside is where Jesus gives up his life for us. The Mass is real thing. Jesus is crucified on the altar, therefore you are standing on sacred grounds when you are inside of a Catholic Church. Please, show respect by making it a habit not to engage in idle talk on sacred grounds.

  • Neil Frazier

    Most “mega-’churches’” are self-help centers or plays on the heresy that you can demand God delivery on promises of “health and wealth”. Christ promised us the “world” would hate us, that we must carry our cross and follow him on the straight-and-narrow. News for the Modernist crowd, playing to wordliness will not save souls. We must save ourselves from this corrupt generation, not emulate it. Nothing against “financial peace university”, but it isn’t worship. That said, broke people can’t help support the Church.

  • Kevin

    Dr. Marshall,
    I’ve attended a Megachurch, but didn’t stick around for two reasons: First, I felt like I was being entertained, and think that it’s inappropriate for the focus to be so obviously on the churchgoers. Second, the Church teaches the Truth.
    I have a question about the Eucharist. Can you, or anyone else, give me advice on how I can develop the appreciation, awe and wonder that you express toward this “precious diamond”? Intellectually, I can accept what the Church teaches, but inside, emotionally, the idea stirs nothing.
    God Bless

    • Neil Frazier

      Test the waters at your nearest TLM. Unlike what you may have heard, most are warm and friendly. Just wait until you are out of the Sanctuary before striking up a discussion :-) Also, make sure the TLM is diocesan or at least in communion with Rome.
      Christ is given on the tongue to kneeling worshippers. Christ is very reverently worshipped in the Holy Eucharist. Not a crumb is allowed to hit the floor or touch unconsecrated hands. This alone has helped make Christ in the Sacrament more real for me.

    • Anne Roundtree

      For me, it wasn’t until I began attending the Extraordinary Form (FSSP) that I truly realized what a diamond the Eucharist is. I think it’s because of the whole attitude during Mass: the priest is facing God along with us, leading us to focus on Christ Himself. The congregation is reverent, showing with their bodies what they believe. In other words, there is no talking whatsoever inside the church, before, during or after the Mass, except in very low whispers. There is much silence, and I believe we take our cue from those around us…..when everyone else is kneeling, crossing themselves mindfully, praying in silence, their self-discipline makes me want to be more like that, too. Whenever I have doubts, I look around, and begin to actually absorb more Faith from others!
      When I first attended the EF, I found myself weeping many times during or at the end of Mass. Upon consideration, I began to see that it is the BEAUTY that made me weep, for it makes me see how good and true and beautiful God is, and I want to be more like Him.

      • Neil Frazier

        Martin, weeping for joy is very common at TLM, esp. for new worshippers. I am still struck by my smallness and God’s immensity, the magnitude of his love for us.
        Also notable, priest who pray the TLM usually are much more effective in the confessional. More of my sins have been found out and forgiven, and better advice received that anywhere else.
        I have to use tunnel vision and blinders when at the Novus because of the lack of modesty and my wandering eyes. This has never been a problem at TLM.

        • Kevin

          Thank you both for your recommendations!

    • Ben Woods

      Try eucharistic adoration.

  • Martin

    Dr. Marshall, did you speak to them Bible truth behind the Eucharist? Is there any hope for them to return to the One True Faith?

  • Lynne

    How sad! If that is the way they feel about our holy Catholic Church, then they are better off staying where they are where they will not offend Our Lord! A loss of the true faith!

  • Don

    Our culture today is fast paced, and to our children of this generation it is even faster with instant communication and feed back from societal social networks. By comparison, I sit in our Parish Cathedral during mass, and notice long moments of silence (no doubt in reverence), but even for me they are awkward and the one thing not well tolerated in our fast paced society. Joel as an example, never allows boredom to ever his sermons, he dazzles his audience at all times as do all those mega theatrical productions (i love your description of these events). We as Catholics could do better by paying attention to whats really important in our masses (the Eucharist), and adjust the things that are not so important. Do we really need to sit for sometimes up to 2 minutes after the homily before the father starts the rest of the mass?
    Young people do not easily connect with emphasis by sitting and waiting for something to happen.

    • Patti Day

      I don’t want to be impertinent, but God’s is the small voice that can only be heard in the silences. Yes, we do need two minutes of silence so that the Gospel and the homily, which hopefully clarified and amplified the Gospel, can be taken in and made relevant within our own life. If you find two minutes awkward, you may want to try making a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, just you listening to Jesus and Him listening to you.

  • Sam

    I was received into the Catholic church Easter of 2012. One thing that drove me crazy immediately upon entering the Church was how irreverently the eucharist was treated. It is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ! And yet it was treated by most as if it were the crackers and juice I used to receive at the Baptist church.

    Intellectually, I knew it was true. And yet each mass, I struggled to grasp the reality before me because everything in the environment of the parish was telling me it WASN’T true. There was the guitar strumming, the cheesy ditties, the army of extraordinary ministers distributing communion (I wanted to receive from a priest), the talking before and after mass, people and children wandering around the altar and tabernacle like it was no big deal, and the list goes on and on.

    What vexed me most of all was that the high-church Lutherans and Episcopals I associated with on my road to Rome were far more reverent of their fake eucharist than the Catholics were of the real thing. It was impossible for me to accept. So 6 months later, my family and I began attending a Latin mass. And we could never go back.

    Unlike the irreverent atmosphere we experienced in our original parish, the atmosphere of the Latin mass was fitting for the reality of Jesus, the King of Kings in the Eucharist. The music, the posture of receiving communion, the actions of the priest—everything suited the reality.

    I guess what I am getting at is that how we act has everything to do with what we believe. It is no wonder that people don’t know the eucharist is Jesus. Nobody acts like Jesus is there, even many priests.

    Many people, in defense of the novus ordo abuses, say “well Jesus is still there, it’s a valid mass, so just grin and bear it.” I’m sorry, we should not have to do that in the Holy Catholic Church. We have a vastly rich, centuries old liturgical heritage that is drenched with awe and reverence for Christ the King. It’s not as though we are starting from scratch. It is not as though we don’t know any better.

    As the liturgy goes, so goes the Church. We can try programs, books, conferences, and social programs until we are blue in the face. But until we return to reverent, awe-inspiring liturgy, the Church will continue to bleed members enamored with passing fads. If we do return to reverent liturgy, however, I am convinced the Church will find a new dynamism, increased conversions, and Catholics strong in faith. End rant.

    • Janie Wright Kearns

      God Bless you Sam.. and welcome home! I too, am a convert (2009). I experienced alot of what you describe, and have discussed with my priest on several occasions the lack of reverence and honor that should be provided the Holy Eucharist. Over the past 4 years, we have installed alter rails, have a FSSP Mass every Sunday at 6pm and there has been a great increase of people receiving The Body of Christ on the tongue.. kneeling. I do believe this is key to beginning to understand the honor due our Lord. The manner in which we present ourselves is paramount and directly reflects our love and understanding of our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I have seen many changes in our parish due to such changes… Tabernacle is center, Mass is celebrated ad orientum, male alter servers etc… it all makes a difference.

    • Margarett Cahill Zavodny

      I attend a parish where the Novus Ordo Mass is celebrated with great reverence, the truth is preached, and the music leads us to God in awe. It can be done!

    • Rebecca Duncan

      Great comment. I wish I could go to an EF Mass, I would in a heartbeat, but there’s nothing here. I would have to drive at least two hours and I just can’t do that. When I first became Catholic, I was completely shocked and disgusted when I started attending Mass. I thought it would be like I had read about and seen, the EF. I was so disturbed and discouraged. It drove me away for a while…I even looked into becoming Eastern Orthodox. But, I had to stick with Rome…I just wish I didn’t have to go to a Mass where we sing ‘gather us in’ constantly and all the other stuff that goes along with that nonsense.

  • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

    I wish I had more time to comment! In my search for the “Truth” I had two brief periods of the “mega-church” experience. All of this of course before my conversion to The Catholic Church in 2009. , Briefly, if you are searching for “the one truth”…I am convinced from my own experience that Our Lord will not leave you there. However, as a “non-judgemental” group goes…it seems to have it’s place in protestantism. Sort of like the first step in “coming to Christ” or back to Christ”. But you really find no depth…even if you want to volunteer, etc. It’s like…triage in an Emergency Room. As always, Dr. Marshall…excellent thought provoking post!! Peace of Christ be with you and your family!

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Great comment. Can you expand on “triage”. I thought that was an interesting analogy!

      • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

        Thank you, Dr. Marshall! I must have picked up a few words from
        my nurse friends!

        So as not to cause any confusion, In my analogy, I am using
        the term Triage in an ER setting where you access a patients severity of
        condition thus determining treatment,
        etc.

        My experience with the “mega-church” was similar in
        nature. First, when you just “fill out
        the form” and put it in the baskets, etc., on the way out of the door (no
        pressure!) The questions start out very innocuous
        —- is it your first time visiting? How did you hear about us?, etc.?

        Normally, if someone has come to such a huge church service,
        they want to be totally anonymous and not stick out like a “newcomer”. In mega churches there is always a flow of
        new people so no worries there.

        These churches generally have “classes” that start out with 101 and continue from there . The basic classes are for the “unchurched”. The people who were grew up without any
        religion whatsoever going all the way to those who want to just change their
        membership from one “denomination” to the mega church’s non-denominational.

        However, in between those two extremes, there are those who
        have been “wounded” by “denominational churches” and are considered outcasts ,
        to those who need help in financial recovery, marriage recovery, etc.

        The main point is there is someone to meet “your need” where
        you are “ That’s sort of the motto. If
        you are ready to give up on God , your life, your marriage, your children, etc.,
        they have someone who can meet with you,
        pray with you, find you help…etc.

        They even have a musical venue for what “meets your needs”. If you like
        rock music, country music, (even bluegrass where I live in Virginia )–
        they have that. In the little café area
        they have a more quiet scene with better coffee and pastries and chamber music.

        The
        point is that you come as you are and God will “meet you there”. Which sounds great. However, it doesn’t get any deeper and it really looks a lot like a revolving door accept for
        the paid people, staff, assistants, musicians, etc.

        Bottom line, they are really there to give you what you want…and slowly add God…but if you truly realize your need for God…then you soon realize that He does say “come as you are” but definitely not “I love you just the way you are so stay that way”. It’s just not true. It’s like staying sick on purpose. Hope this makes sense? If not I’ll try later on when I have more time. Peace

    • lendtolease

      Of course.

  • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

    P.S. Catechesis – RCIA in my entering the Catholic Church was at best, half-hearted. If Our Lord had not led me there and gave me the unquenchable thirst for knowledge of the Truth, RCIA would have caused me to perhaps reconsider becoming Catholic…:-( It is so sad but what is the answer?

    • Lisa

      I didn’t learn very much from RCIA. The CCD and RCIA programs are more Protestant than they are Catholic. Poor Catechesis is the number one reason why most post Vatican 2 Catholics don’t know their own faith. What I am trying to say is, never stop striving for knowledge. Read Church documents, study Church history, and the lives of the Saints. Pass what you know to others who do not know. The only way that we can learn the truth is to find out for ourselves. I have been a Catholic now for almost 20 years, and knowing for certain that the Eucharist really is my Lord and Savior, I will never go back to a Protestant church.

      • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

        Amen, Lisa! I could not either! I am using the knowledge I have (from the Church with source material) to answer questions from enquiring protestants and from Catholic friends in my own parish. That is why it’s important that we have those, like Dr. Marshall, who are not only faithful Catholics, but have been graced by Our Lord with intelligence and eloquence.

        • St_Donatus

          Have you thought about becoming an RCIA teacher and changing things. I met someone on a blog that did just that. He uses the old Baltimore Catechism for teaching because it is straight forward, easy to understand, and yet digs deep into Church teaching. Someday, when I have been back long enough, I hope I will be allowed to be an RCIA teacher.

          • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

            I’ve taken the classes and am certified to teach RCIA and also the children in Sacramental Prep… Certified with Virtus as well. The RCIA director wanted no help before- but our new parish priest takes catechizing seriously and, thanks be to God, it will be different this Sept! I plan on being there

          • St_Donatus

            May God Bless you in your efforts. I will say a prayer for your coming adventures.

      • Mary

        It doesnt help that they don’t have further catechesis after confirmation.If you don’t go to private Catholic high school,you pretty much don’t exist anymore in a Catholic parish.

        • prayerisouronlyhope

          In my parish, our priest conducts catechism for the adults in the parish hall, while the children attend catechism (separated by degrees of knowledge – young ones for First Communion, after that for Confirmation, etc.). We learn about Church history, dogma, lives of the Saints, etc. This is a SSPX parish, which I know a lot of you do not agree with, but every SSPX parish I know about, or have been involved in, has ongoing catechesis, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, etc.

          • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

            I do think that is wonderful. I only know that I’ve been graced to have found the Catholic Church 4 years ago and I stay under Papa Francis now..working for what is right from the inside. No disrespect meant to you or anyone else. I’ve just found home after 54 years in so many different Protestant denominations I felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears! This one is just right for me
            PAX

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    And you forgot to ask the $65 million dollar question: What would you do were you to fall into serious sin? Since they are now in a “bible church” I am certain they are familiar with the apostolic authority to loose and to bind sin. My guess is that they were never catechized about sin nor frequented the Sacrament of Reconciliation often (if at all).

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      If they didn’t know about the Eucharist, I doubt they understand mortal sin and venial sin and how confession works.

  • August

    It seems to me there is quite a lot of explanation about the Eucharist. Indeed, if it were possible, I would suspect it was promoted too much. I think we used to have a liturgical week once. But there is no waiting, no preparing, nothing anymore. People have it daily, and, embarrassingly, they don’t seem to change much for it. There isn’t any direction in the confessional anymore, not like it seems like there once was, when folks pretty much lived their whole lives in one place and usually had one confessor.
    I find these non-denoms often simply believe whatever the bible says. They don’t get into long theological debates- Jesus said it was his body so it must be so. Now, what they will have trouble with is understanding why there must be a priest and not their favorite televangelist or whatever.

    I don’t think you are hearing these people, or if you did, you quickly went back to one of the safe answers we’ve been repeating to ourselves these past few decades. People are having a very awful time of actually living, forming families and communities and managing to have some sort of decent life. They said they liked the megachurch because they didn’t feel judged. This probably because they could get away with birth control or some other form of long term sin without it being brought up. The sort of sins people end up feeling like they ‘have’ to do, because they don’t see how to do things the right way.

  • Terry Fenwick

    Another great one – and thanks for dealing with the frustrating things that do come up when you are a Convert with others – cradles – who have left – and suddenly you know they missed all the great reasons you came in! In the meantime, they are clapping their hands and singing without the Precious Body.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      It’s so sad to meet people traveling the opposite direction. So strange.

    • Pat Mobilik

      How sad…

  • Windyrdg

    I was struck by how shallow their reasoning was. I wanted to shake them and scream, “Fancy surroundings and slick presentations mean nothing. You aren’t going to Church for entertainment; you’re going to encounter the Lord of all creation…and he doesn’t live at the mega-church!” I find this with my own children. It would be nice if the family attended church. So they join a church. (They’re all the same, right?) I ask them about the sacraments, feast days, liturgy, etc. Their reply, “Oh, we don’t bother with that stuff.” The wide path that leads to destruction looks a lot more appealing.

  • Sad Heart

    My son who was raised Catholic and received all three sacraments of initiation, went to Catholic grade school and a Jesuit high school now goes to a megachurch. The parish that he left about two years ago has communal penance before the feast of Corpus Christi so that all will be able to receive the Eucharist. Of course not too many people from that parish seem to realize what it is they are indeed receiving at Corpus Christi.

    The music is spectacular at the new church. The homilies are “spot on”. The children love going there. Lord have mercy on us who no longer know YOU!

    • Micha_Elyi

      Hmm. Your son might be the former classmate of Father J–, the pastor of a nearby parish who was out shopping for groceries one day – wearing his blacks, of course – and was recognized by a cradle Catholic classmate of the Jesuit high school they had both attended for 4 years. “J–, is that you? You’re a priest!? Wow, that’s, uh, neat. And I’ve become a Christian!”

  • Patti Day

    The Catholic church will never be able to compete with the non-denominational mega churches. Do we even want to try? Their mega church message and delivery is crafted for today’s world, name it and claim it, no pain, no sorrow, it’s-all-good, whatever. In order to gain mass (small m) appeal, they have to keep re-imagining, rebooting, updating to stay the hippest and edgiest. The people can always hop over to the other mega down the street to get whatever satisfies right now, the biggest stage show, the preacher that rocks the house, the cushiest seats, the newest kiddie program. But in the end it’s all dross. Their message isn’t the Truth, it the world’s image of Jesus, hermetically sealed, well-dressed, clean and tidy. Jesus packed in the people with miracles and superb preaching. The crowds were standing room only, couldn’t wait to get to the next venue, even forgetting for days to eat, such was their eagerness to hear, but how quickly and in what numbers they turned away when they heard what was expected of them, not merely to believe He is Who He says, but to take up their own cross, that dirty, heavy, nasty thing, to suffer for the good of another, to die to selves, even to become martyrs. Can you imagine how the arenas of the mega churches would empty out if Our Lord’s entire message were preached. In the end, not all will be saved, not because they never heard of Jesus Christ, but because they refused to look further than the surface.

    • Mary

      Actually I attended a nephew’s baptism at a Mega baptist church, and got talking with a guy who said he left the CC because they weren’t strict enough on proclaiming sin.I did wonder where he had been going to church.

      • St_Donatus

        My sister said the same thing. Actually, I left for similar reasons for 30 years. The fact is most priests don’t give the hard hitting sermons that teach us how to be better Christians. I knew as much as I hear in most sermons by the time I was five years old but as Saint Paul said, we need the meat, not the milk.

    • http://clinmarjo.blogspot.com/ Maryellen Jones

      Amen, sister

  • LB

    Bottom line is: they want to be entertained!

  • TMJC

    I have to commend you on how neutral your tone was when reporting this, Dr. Marshall. I felt disgust when I read #1 on their hit parade, groaned when I read #2, and finally, resignation when I read #3. People want a warm, fuzzy, ME centred “spiritual” experience. They do not want the Truth.

  • RobinJeanne

    I promise that I will make abosolutely clear, with love and passion to truly share with my 4th graders the real presance of Jesus in the Eucharist. If God can creat EVERYTHIG from nothing, then He can easily change Bbread and wine into His Body and Blood. We usually teach that without a doubt but I want to make an extra effort to make sure they know this, not just in their heads but in their heart, with the power of God’s grace for I am but an instrament for the Lord.

    • http://clinmarjo.blogspot.com/ Maryellen Jones

      more power to you Robin. We need more teachers like you not only for 4th graders, but all grades in between. May God reward your faithfulness to his call.

      • RobinJeanne

        Thank you

  • Amazing Grace

    Our family members who left the Catholic Church for the mega-church did so for the music, activities for their kids, Bible classes and a minister who cared about them. The music was singable and the choir director was friendly. The minister gave engaging sermons, not fluff, and even mentioned how God had acted in his life…every Sunday! The minister actually knew their names and made them feel welcome. There was Bible class for the kids every week along with Bible camps in the summer. Even adults could have Bible studies for their age group.
    They were willing to forgo receiving the Eucharist, because Jesus was there in The Word! The whole family has memorized Scripture verses and it is nice to see their enthusiasm. We are praying that one day they will bring it back to the Catholic Church and experience the fullness of faith.

  • Anonymous

    I have come across the opposite problem lately. A dear cousin who was raised Catholic left the Church for a mega church in NYC. She believes Our Blessed Lord is present in her wafer. I told her to ask her pastor, that he would agree it’s just a symbol. But being a mega church, I don’t know if she ever actually speaks with him personally. I could believe the moon is made of green cheese~ that doesn’t make it so.
    The second one was a guy I dated for a short time. His belief was that since God is everywhere, that He is just as much in a Protestant wafer as in a consecrated host. I’m at a loss.
    Please help me counter these arguments.

    • MonBeach

      Your friends are correct when they say that God is everywhere but that doesn’t mean that God is “in” the wafer that they consume at their church service. If their logic is right then God would also be in their breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, wine and cheese, gum and ice cream. That sounds pretty silly right? The wafer or host that we consume at Mass is nothing more than a commercially produced wafer before the Mass begins but once it is consecrated during the Mass it then becomes the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Christians believe that the host is only symbolic of Jesus while Catholics believe that the consecrated host is the actual Body of Jesus Christ. It’s nice that your cousin believes that Jesus is present in the wafer that she gets at her mega church but unless that wafer has been consecrated during Mass by a priest it is only a wafer. I hope that helps. God Bless You!

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      According to his “God is everywhere and therefore in a Protestant wafer” argument, then my Cheerios in the morning are also sacramental. Not a very solid argument.

      There is a difference between “Where is God?” and “Is this God?”

      • Julie

        Yes, but why do you need to eat God and drink God’s blood? What’s the point? I’m not being flippant, I’m serious. What does it matter if this supposed actual flesh and blood of God Himself changes nothing it touches, or very little of what it touches? And what about people who are a million times more saintly than any Catholic saint who’ve never been Catholic? People who’ve never received Catholic Eucharist and who manage to reflect Christ in their every action, while too many Catholics who claim they’re infused with the DNA of Christ Himself are stunning hypocrites and cheats and liars and bullies and worse? What’s the point?

        • c matt

          To answer your first category of questions “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life within you” or words to that effect depending on the translation (I will leave it to you or others to find the citation – I think it’s in Matthew).
          To answer your second – I have never heard of anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, who is a “million times more saintly” than any Catholic saint. Blessed Theresa is not even a saint yet (that I know of), and I challenge you to put up anyone a “million” times more saintly.
          As for there are some better non-Catholics than some Catholics – well yes. Salvation is an individual occurrence. Participation in the Catholic Church is the normal means of salvation. But participation is more than mere membership, it also means living out that membership in your daily life – being in a state of mortal sin (which can come about by being a stunning hypocrite, cheat, liar, bully and worse) will not get you to heaven. As for those who are not in the Church at all, leading exemplary lives otherwise, who knows? My own view on it – the Catholic Church is the known road that gets you from point A to point B. Other roads are a crapshoot.

    • David Bates

      > “His belief was that since God is everywhere, that He is just as much in a Protestant wafer as in a consecrated host.”

      By that logic, there was nothing special about a certain carpenter from Nazareth.

  • Nola

    In my limited experience with other cradle-Catholics who now go to mega-churches, they left the Catholic Church first and then, feeling a void in their lives, began going to the mega-church because they “feel good” there and the mega-church is “welcoming” and “non-judgmental”. In my opinion it was because they did not have to deal with their mortal sins – in the cases I’m thinking of there were on-going extra-marital affairs and past abortions. Even though far too many Catholic priests no longer address these evils in sermons, they had had enough catechesis that they felt guilty and uncomfortable at Mass. So they found some place which would welcome them without all those hard, judgmental teachings. I’m sure for a lot of these younger people it is a lack of catechesis, but I also think for many it is an unwillingness to deal with mortal sin. Mega-churches may be more entertaining and may, sometimes, actually make the gospel message resonate with people, but when I’ve watched one of these “shows” on TV (and what they are is entertainment, not worship), it always seems to be focused on what God wants to do for ME, not what I need to do to please Him (such as repent and turn from sin).

  • Ben Woods

    Mega churches are selling emotion. They cater to the ever growing desire to be entertained. People like their faith if it makes them feel good. Ironically, once you understand and practice your Catholic faith there is plenty of inspiring emotion.

  • John

    I returned to the Catholic Church in January 2013 after being away and in some dynamic Protestant churches.Since I have returned I have more peace and my relationship with Christ is richer than ever. The thing I really missed while I was away was the Holy Eucharist. Now I am praying that my wife will come back to the Church also.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      You have a great witness, John. I’d love to hear more about what brought you back.

      Our prayers are with you and your wife!

      • John

        I had a very powerful conversion experience in 1975 and began attending a Charismatic church and my wife was saved about 6 months later. She also had been Catholic and we never considered going back to the Catholic Church. Through the years I held several different leadership positions. First deacon,elder, worship leader and eventually I had a local ministerial license. After 37 years I started to look at the the Catholic faith and began to study it. One of the major convincers for me was when I started looking at church history and realized that the Catholic Church was the church Christ started. I read many books including yours and also started listening to EWTN and Catholic Radio. In January this year I new what I needed to do so I made an appointment with a local Priest and he heard my confession,man was I free! What brought me back was the truth and there was no escaping it. The truth set me free.

  • ron a.

    Why one should NEVER leave: The Eucharist? YES! But, let’s not forget the doctrine of our Church: the Truth in the Word, as faithfully espoused throughout the centuries— and still alive today.

    I suspect many of their “reasons” are cover or fluff, masquerading for real life-style issues which conflict with Church teaching. (However, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I agree, the lack of good catechesis, which has resulted in so much confusion and loss, would be a reasonable explanation of why they left the Catholic Church.)

  • DonnyPauling

    I am a Protestant who attends Mass every day, Monday through Friday. I enjoy the reverence and have no problem accepting the true presence in the Eucharist. I will likely convert come Easter Vigil 2014. From my perspective, it isn’t the belief in transubstantiation that would keep people from converting. When Jesus says, “This is my body… This is my blood…” He didn’t state that a certain ritual must be performed to make it so. It is my opinion that the Church needs homilies that resonate with the people. People must see how scripture applies to their everyday life. They also must be taught that they can have a very personal relationship with Jesus, and that The Faith does not equal The Church. When what they encounter at church does not easily apply to everyday life, people leave to go where they are taught in ways that DO apply and to which they can relate.

    • DonnyPauling

      What I meant is that I don’t think it is the teaching of the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist that would keep people from leaving, but rather the other reasons I listed.

  • Robert Holihan

    The girls should come to Michigan we have a diocese that would accommodate their needs, we have one exception that is they don’t have a megachurch.

  • Lori Sanders Romes

    and this is why I am teaching at parish school of religion for the Catholic kids who don’t attend the Catholic school but a public one….their catechism is very limited and I hope to make a difference in this way!

  • GM

    One day at work while closing a deal with a customer the topic of religion came up. I was at that time a runaway wandering Catholic thinking about coming home to Mother Church. She asked if I went to a nearby megachurch and I told her I rarely went to church anymore but chose to pray, study and memorize the Bible from home where my family can actually be fed. As a family we grew tired of the years and years of the entertainment culture of Protestant services.

    She nodded in understanding and asked if I was Catholic and I had to think where she was going with that. I said yes: baptized, first communion…but never really practiced or knew much of the Catholic faith and ended up amongst strong Bible believing Christians that tried to live out their faith. The Catholics I did know were many and non-practicing and currently in Protestant churches with the common story of being baptized and first communion and now they found a seemingly better Christian path.

    She looked me directly in the eyes and with a penetrating seriousness gently told me, “You know we Catholics are the only ones with the Real Presence in church”–all I could do was nod in a bewildered agreement.
    Memories of my first communion came to mind. It is one of the happiest memories I have from a rough childhood.

    Her words though few brought down an army of excuses I accumulated over the years of why not to go to church. As a family we never darkened the door of a Catholic Church–all the excuses applied to other churches.

    Catholics have no excuse with the Real Presence of Jesus. The words this woman spoke rented space in my head and heart as I continued to study my way back home to the Church. I could not shake those words no matter how much philosophy, theology or history I read. Those words blasted out light and electrified my soul.

    God bless this woman, she is a warrior! She probably does not know that she helped rescue a lost sheep and that his wife and children converted after the man of the house got his bearings.

    Catholics wake up! It is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist we have that other non Eucharist churches do not have. We need to relay this message to everyone around us. I thank God Almighty for showing me and my family mercy for sending one of his daughters to preach this truth to me.

    “You know we Catholics are the only ones with the Real Presence in church”

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  • George Palma

    It’s really sad and at times tragic that Catholicism seems to have to “re-invent” itself at certain points of its life or the life of its faithful. The Church gives us so much of our faith and how we should take responsibility to live it out to its fullest with all the great, historical and sacred Traditions/traditions it has passed on! Vatican II called for an “evangelization” in the Church, not just the clergy but all the faithful who are baptized. How have we responded individually? Collectively? And our Popes – JPII, B16 and now Francis – has called for a “New Evangelization,” a springtime of harvest to truly follow Jesus’ command to “Go…” which we hear always at the final blessing of Mass, “Go…” So, what are we doing and how are we responding? Individually? Collectively?

    Many will comment about all the “wrong” things that we’re doing in the Church; dissatisfaction with this or that; out with the new and return to the old, etc. Some are valid but then again, how are we progressing with Jesus’ command of “Go”?

    We’ve got to stop with the culture of apathy in ourselves, parishes, dioceses, etc., and respond with true empathy and charity to one another. The Gospel this past Sunday is really telling of our current situation. Read it again and truly reflect its meaning and message. “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

    If we’re only so concerned about our own salvation, it may not be enough. We owe it to one another to help one another to establish “residence” and be citizens of heaven. The Beatitudes, as Pope Francis reminds us, is the premise of our mission in this new evangelization. It is not enough to meet and satisfy our faithful obligations alone. We must and need to share the Gospel with one another.

    There is a hunger and thirst in our Church, in our parishes, in our homes, in our workplaces, etc. There is a fight that needs to be fought in the public square but there’s also a fulfillment that must be filled in each other. If we don’t “Go” as Jesus commands, then we’ll just go on our own, wherever that may be. We either “Go” with God or go alone. As the Gospel this weekend says, “For behold, some are last who will be first,and some are first who will be last.”

  • benites44

    I loved your post Dr. Marshall. I’ve received that same quizzical look from my relatives who think the mass is boring. When I suggest that the mass does not exist for our entertainment, it’s like they’ve never heard that before. I guess in a culture where so many things exist in order to entertain us we just take it for granted that the mass should also.

  • Mary

    I have family who left because the pastor didn’t respond to them when they were in need..others because of doctrinal issues.I agree with you…I would never give up the Eucharist for another church.I also tell people the CC has something for everyone.If one parish is run byban apparent dinoosaur,drive two miles to one that suits your liturgical style better?i attended six different parishes when I moved to a new city to find one that fit me.

  • Ce Gzz

    this makes the difference! Just yesterday we had a Bible fair in La Paz, Bolivia. There was a Lutheran booth offering Bible classes. My reaction was…away with it! But what surprised me the most was that some nuns were encouraging their young students to subscribe to this class. When I made the remark to one of the nuns, she just said “We are under ecumenical dialog, so no problem” REALLY??? are we so lazy in La Paz to build our own Catholic Bible institute? The more I read about my Church, the more I want to become an apologist!

  • Katrina Maxwell

    Funny me and a friend were discussing this last night and we both said we both felt very lonely at the church, not welcomed. I have seen others like the Baptist and the seventh day adventists doing things to bring people in, get them involved. The Catholic church, which I would never leave isn’t inviting. There was a special lunch for the new priest to our parish and the Arch Bishop was there. I left before even getting food due to feeling totally unwelcomed, I said a swear word as I left, I thought if you want people to come to the church you need to find a way to make all welcome and feel happy they have come to the church. Now this church I have been going to for the last 8 years regularly and have been at the church for 40 years and I still feel alone. I know it isn’t a social club but just to feel welcomed is a big thing. Open your schools to church families after hours for get togeathers, eg bible study, teach skills , bring street kids to the gyms for mentorship.

    • St_Donatus

      I would agree with you. Thankfully, I found a very friendly Catholic Church. One question is, who is going to make you feel welcome? I am a naturally shy person. The first time I came to this Church, I wondered around trying to meet people but everyone seemed busy and in their own conversations. Finally someone asked if I needed anything and I explained my situation. They were very kind. Then I put myself forward and started walking up to people introducing myself. Then I would ask questions about the faith (I had been away for 30 years) etc. Soon everyone was very friendly. Now I make it a point to look for new people I don’t recognize and introduce myself. Usually they are in the situation I was.

      Maybe God is calling you to be the friendly one that newcomers need? Paul writes about how if we don’t put ourselves forward, who will spread the word of God. Pray for guidance and help. Yes, the Church has a long way to go. I agree, organized Bible Study, studying the teachings of the Church, etc.

  • Lisa

    I am currently in RICA coming from a Baptist background. The reasons I left the protestant church are numerous, one being the Eucharist. I will say that people in the Catholic Church are not as friendly as protestants, but I am not there to make friends. I love the reverence of the High Church and believe it is the true original Church. Protestant church is like going to a performance with lights, screens, and music. In my case they spent more time planning and worrying about entertaining and bringing in a crowd than going out into the community and serving those in need.

  • Tony

    God bless you, Dr. Marshall, for sharing this. There are echoes of my own experience in here…

    Being raised in the 1980s, when that obnoxious “spirit”-of-Vatican-II crowd was really having their heyday, most of what passed for catechesis in my CCD, Catholic HS and college was just touchy-feely hippie nonsense. I later walked away from the Church and attended a number of these generic, mega-box McChurches. Still clueless about the unique spiritual treasures I was missing out on (e.g. the Eucharist), I figured “what difference does it make?” Thankfully after a few years I found the bold, orthodox witness of Benedict XVI hard to resist, and by God’s grace I came Home to our Holy Mother Church!

    I’m sure there are MANY more out there of my generation like these two young ladies… may the Holy Spirit lead them into ALL Truth and bring every one of them Home!!!

    • St_Donatus

      I have a similar story to yours. I had a hard time coming back though. I went to several masses that seemed more like what I was leaving behind at mega-churches but much more poorly done. I finally found a Latin Mass parish where they were very welcoming, have meals after each Mass for community building, very good sermons, and strong sense of being Catholic. The reverence in the mass turned me totally to God. It is sad that so few Catholics will take the time and effort to try this more than 1000 year old Mass. I think some come, enjoy the holiness and reverence but are scared off by the use of Latin. The parish is growing at a fast pace, about 5% per year. Usually the parking lot is over flowing.

      I pray that more reverence and holiness will be brought back into the Novus Ordo (English) Masses because I really believe it adds to the Grace God gives us. It certainly worked on this ex-agnostic.

      • Tony

        Great testimony, St. Donatus!

        And good point you make–holiness and reverence should be the hallmarks of *every* Mass, whether in Latin or in English.

        • St_Donatus

          You are right of course. It is more difficult to know exactly what the priest is saying while following the missal in the Latin Mass, but the reverence and holiness seem to surpass the spoken language to where you are hearing and seeing the Mass in a way that language just can’t reach. I have heard of some very fine Novus Ordo parishes that basically have the reverence and holiness of the Latin Mass but in English and they are growing so fast that they have had to build ‘mission’ churches to take the overflow. One has 17,000 families and three mission churches. Why more don’t follow this example, I don’t know.

          • Tony

            Wow..that’s terrific! Numerically, that even dwarfs some of the Protestant mega-churches..lol

            One thing I observed about the vernacular Mass upon my return to the Catholic fold: thanks to the revision of the Roman Missal in 2011, it is more dignified than I remembered it from youth. The spoken/sung responses are translated in a way that more closely reflects the Latin, *and* it just sounds better in English! I found this a pleasant surprise.

  • Elizabeth Volkmer

    crackers and grape juice? sounds like a preschool snack. Where were crackers at the last supper? it wasn’t crackers, it was Bread and WIne. Sounds like these ladies were victims of post Vatican 2 bad Catechism classes. And Church is not supposed to be a Rock concert, its supposed to be about JESUS.

  • http://clinmarjo.blogspot.com/ Maryellen Jones

    In all these very insightful comments, no one has approached the problem of those ex-Catholics are bitter over some slight from a Priest, nun or other parish personnel. I have family that are livid over the mean treatment they received in Catholic school. They are “Christians” who can’t find it in their hearts to forgive as Christ has forgiven them. I have tried to point out they are rejecting the Catholic Faith, not because of any error of doctrine, but because some human being was flawed (as we all are). I shed many tears in my prayers for the conversion.

  • John

    I had a very powerful conversion experience in 1975 and began attending a Charismatic church and my wife was saved about 6 months later. She also had been Catholic and we never considered going back to the Catholic Church. Through the years I held several different leadership positions. First deacon,elder, worship leader and eventually I had a local ministerial license. After 37 years I started to look at the the Catholic faith and began to study it. One of the major convincers for me was when I started looking at church history and realized that the Catholic Church was the church Christ started. I read many books including yours and also started listening to EWTN and Catholic Radio. In January this year I new what I needed to do so I made an appointment with a local Priest and he heard my confession,man was I free! What brought me back was the truth and there was no escaping it. The truth set me free.

  • Jim Hennen

    I know just one person, a former Catholic who enjoys the hyper-activity of her mega-church. I often wonder why the Catholic Church does not fully explain the Mass, the great mystery of Transubstantiation, why the USCCB waffles on virtually ALL issues concerning Church teachings such as abortion; why NO Catholic politician has ever been excommunicated because of their support for abortion. Our bishops have and are failing the great unwashed in the pews by their constant support of all issues liberal, and no support of all issues of Catholic doctrine, teachings and tradition. I guess that is why I wanted Raymond Burke as the next Pope, but God sees differently and He chose Francis. God and I may disagree, but He remains God and I remain me. I should be His servant.

  • Nancy

    I talked with a lady at Mass one Sunday who had left the Catholic church for the another church because it was her husbands religion. She said she realized she had to come back because she said after communion they took the remaining bread and wine and dumped it down the drain and in the garbage. She told me she realized then that they really didn’t believe it had become the body and blood of Christ and the realization gave her a great sadness.

  • Lori

    I don’t understand this need to be entertained all the time. We are at Mass to worship God. Almost all Americans have tv the Internet radio I pad cell phones professional sports bars etc……. We need to realize the lattes and comfortable chairs and amazing music productions are for other times. Not church!!! We are there to worship the one true God who created us. So if Catholics think this is boring they need to read their Bible and Catechism , do some research on the Internet , read some Catholic books and listen to some Catholic cd’s. They are all out there. Work at understanding your faith!!!! It’s truly amazing.

  • Rebecca Duncan

    As for protestants being non judgmental or friendly…before I was Christian I can tell you I had tons of experience of protestants being unfriendly, arrogant, judgmental jerks. These were mega church people. On the other hand, I knew a girl at work who went to a mega church and it seemed like the whole reason she went there was because she could do anything she wanted to and it didn’t matter…no sin basically.

  • Barbara Lynch

    I go to a lot of Christian concerts, many are held at these megachurches. I do not feel like I’m “in church” at any of these venues…they’re basically concert halls. I have met many Catholics at these churches who are no longer attending Catholic church anymore…the top 2 reasons I hear is poor homilies and lack of hospitality. I do think that Catholic churches should be a little more welcoming. Many a time, I can walk into a Catholic church, attend Mass, and leave without a single “Hello”. And while it is important to hear the theology and such behind what the readings/Gospel is about, it would be nice if the priest/deacon would address how to apply what we are hearing in the readings/Gospel in our daily life.

  • Amber Grey

    I think the major problem here is that, we for our selves don’t spend time with the Bible enough to listen and seek God’s voice with discernment from our heart. God’s attention isn’t mainly of what we do, but what our heart speaks, it is this GENUINE love for God.

  • theresia

    I watched the movie: “The greatest Miracle”. It gives me insight what was going on during the mass. I recommend this movie. My priest is the one who told us to watch it. Most people do not understand what was in the mass and what a precious treasure hidden for us.

  • Fr. Richard Heilman

    Let’s face it, MegaChurches are doing Protestantism very well, while our stripped out Catholic churches, with their little musical combos and watered down sermons, are doing Protestantism very poorly. As long as it remains a competition of who does Protestantism the best, Catholics will continue to lose members to the impressive “Protestant” MegaChurches.

  • M Carroll

    Taylor,

    Two other things that (some, not all) Mega Churches are good at.

    1. Getting parishioners to travel from A to B (or even C) in their faith journey. Something which priests do not seem to help their parishioners with.

    2. Getting real answer to prayer (and showing the parishioners how they can do it to).

    It is a long story, but I did a study into how and why evangelical/pentecostal churches get sometimes staggering results through prayer. I then translated what they did into authentic Catholic (some of this teaching is hidden in the annals of time in the Catholic Church).

    I then got a couple of people together and did everything by the ‘Catholic book’ via this translation. Three years later St. Mary’s Catholic Church is well on the way to being fully Catholic again with at times genuinely staggering results. At one point one woman said “It is as if this church is part of the Body again”.

    To cut a long story short, long after the reformation some of these Churches somehow rediscovered lost teachings on Spiritual Warfare. During this time the Catholic Church well and truly buried it’s own teachings to the detriment of the Church.

  • Growupfolks

    The Catholic Church needs to find a way to provide AFFORDABLE Catholic education! Catholic schools are so expensive now that they’re an elitist thing – - only the wealthy can afford to send their children there. A child who gets religion only on Sundays while being exposed to a secular, Godless “education” in the public schools 5 days a week is not going to have a grasp on the tenets of his/her religion, not to mention the constant peer pressure of his classmates. This is especially true since the 1970′s when the deterioration of the family/culture started into a rapid decline. Don’t know how the church’s money is allocated, but I bet there’s plenty of fat to be cut out that could be allocated to schools.

    • Neil Frazier

      The ability to produce affordable Catholic education went away when the sisterhood came apart in the 1960′s. To make things worse, catholics ignored Humana Vitae and sterilized themselves. Without higher-than-replacement birthrate, people simply won’t encourage their children’s vocation.

      The high cost of education is teacher compensation.

      Mine are in Catholic school and it is a struggle, however, the Church does provide a large payment to the school to make it cheaper for parishioners. The school is working hard to put “Catholic Identity” back into the program as much of the recent past has been spent producing ex-catholics. I pray for their success daily.

      Want cheaper Catholic Education? Encourage the young to fill their houses and encourage those full houses to produce vocations.

      • BigBubba

        Catholic schools are no longer Catholic. In my hometown, I know of one Jewish individual teaching Catholic religion courses, and one ELCA Lutheran (BELIEVES in Abortion) teaching Catholic religion courses at a Catholic school. One of our Catholic schools made headlines for a teacher in serious sin, and is suing the Diocese. One of the other Catholic schools religion teachers has videos on you-tube of him engaging in naughty acts with women. If I wanted to teach in an environment such as this, I would have entered a public school. So, I am looking at protestant schools. One catch? Gotta be Protestant. It’s hard!

  • K C

    I am Catholic. I go to Mass for spiritual connection with God. A remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made for me. Not for too much else. Socialising with others can be done as a personal choice and I dont expect to get such satisfaction from the church. Nevertheless we do stand around talk and shake hands after Mass.I have been to the other churches and often I see a lot of extended socialising but sometimes I feel its faked because it disappears soon after church and doesnt seem extended to the poor or others outside of the church. there is extreme hugging smiling and animated conversation but the same is not evident outside and so is not a character issue but seems to me done because it is expected of you in that situation. sooner or later true friendships develop and those that dont develop result in boredom and the person moves on in search of the same at another ‘megachurch’. I can have friends in those churches and will join in the animated friendly behaviour only so far as my character goes. Often they end up admiring me for my resolve to be who i am in all situations. I am the same in and out of church…friendly as far as my character is. Not pretentious friendliness. All these animations and excitement attract a lot of youthful people, but the problem is if you are not an extrovert and dont like putting on fake smiles you eventually run out of steam and return to where you feel spiritually at home, be it at the RCC or elsewhere. The spritual value of the RCC will never change and that is what keeps me there. If i want excitement i can walk into any megachurch dance scream and laugh with them then walk out and go back to where i feel totally in touch with God through the Eucharist, and there i know I wont get any nasty surprises. Or I could easily organise the same joyous celebrations outside of Mass right in the Parish and enjoy with others. There is a clear line between serious worship time and excitement in the RCC. Mass is not for excitement even though Mass does celebrate joyful things too. And thats what I love about the RCC

  • K C

    also .. my wife left the RCC and I was disappointed to the point of feeling like it was never meant to be. Up to this day I still attend Mass with my daughter only. The spiritual partnership was destroyed and we remain worldly partners but that connection that I depended on broke down. worst was when she was convinced to say hurtful things about my faith. Its my cross to bear but it is not easy. I believe many suffer the same with their children but my children will make their own choices. I just want them to go through the catechism so they make informed choices, and are not fooled by people who are just out to recruit church members for their megachurches. I must say to all young people though… make sure to choose your church before marriage because it is utterly detrimental to a marriage when one chooses a different faith as a personal choice regardless of what their partner feels. it makes things like divorce look like child’s play. Agree on your faith together before marriage and neither should ever move to another church without consulting their partner. If you are Catholic, makes sure your partner understand your faith or is atleast willing to attend Catechism until they fully understand, or they could be just raised in the church and will one day up and run, leaving you spiritually down trodden and spiritually divorced, even while living together and getting along just fine.

    • Neil Frazier

      KC, you touched several nerves for me this morning. The “meet-and-greet” in the middle of the Novus Mass gripes my nerves. It is like glad-handing at the foot of the cross. Don’t get me wrong, I do want to know and love my neighbor, but it is the wrong forum.
      And I love to sing praise and worship music at the top of my lungs, but not at the foot of the cross. Better to save it for the parish hall. Bring the guitars there and let’s make a joyful noise.
      I love new gadgets and invent new ways of doing things. But at Mass, I need a connection to the millions who went before us, I want the Mass the all of the canonized saints prayed. And I desperately need the people around me to avoid being a near-occassion of sin by properly covering themselves. Yes, they are my wandering eyes, but Mass is not about freedom of expression.
      KC, please look up the “Sodality of Saint Augustine” in the UK. Sign up and pray for your family and mine that we may all be in Mass together in this life or the next.

      • K C

        Thank you Neil. I agree whole-heartedly and thank you for your advice and prayers. God bless you.

  • Bill Polakiewicz

    Every Catholic Church should treat the Eucharist with the respect God Almighty deserves.
    This means putting a stop to receiveing Holy Communion on the hand, while standing.
    This means bringng back the communion rails and creating the sactity of the area around the altar. This means making sure each church puts God first, by realizing the the tabernacle is placed front and center in the most promminent place in each church.
    Churches should be designed and built around the tabernacle. Altars should be facing the tabernacle, not the people. After all who are we praising and giving thanks to? Who is being sacraficed at every Mass? The priest should have his back to the people.He should be presenting our prayers and offerings to God not to the people.
    Last of all, our priests need to demand that we leave the outside world on the outside of the church. Stop talking the second you enter the church.
    When we enter through to doors of a Catholic Church, we are entering holy ground. When we enter a Catholic Church we have entered the place where Jesus sacrified his life the day before. It is where he will be sacrificed again each day.
    Catholics must be taught to treat the sacred grounds which they have steped into when they first entered a Catholic Church, as the most holy place on earth.
    It is time for each priest to treat his God with the greatest respect. It is time for them to treat the Catholic Church with the respect God deserves. Too often priests are just going through the motions of saying Mass. They don’t think about what they are doing. They are saying Mass, not celebrating Mass. They have forgottent that they are crucifying Christ during the Mass. They are forgetting that they are sacrificing Jesus on the altar. They are standing on Holy Ground.
    It is time for the priests to realize that they are allowing sacrilege when they do not instruct thier flocks to importance of the inside of a Catholic Church.
    When priests start treaing the churches which they are in charge of, they way God wishes, then will the Church grow by the millions. It all starts with instructing the flock about what really happens when Holy Mass is celebrated and how Holy the ground we stand on is when we enter a Catholic Church. You don’t have travel to Golgotha to stand on the place where Jesus died for our sins, all you have to do is enter a Catholic Church.

  • Nattie Toledo

    I am very proud being a Catholic, i know that God’s presence is in the Holy Eucharist inside the Catholic Church. When entering the Catholic Church i am sure that Jesus is there waiting for me and have a great conversation with Him. In the first place, I enter the church to worship God Jesus not to engage in conversation with anyone, we can do that after the Holy Mass outside the Church and be entertained.

    To me, the Catholic Church is the MEGA CHURCH being the Universal Church, where all members of the Body of Jesus, the Invisible Head and Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God is the mother of the Catholic Church our Heavenly Mother . Being outside this Universal Church, is outside the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, due to this fact, those people outside this Catholic Church has no salvation for the reason that they do not have the completeness of the Body of Jesus.

    I feel so sorry for those not a member of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Body .

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  • Denise

    I would encourage anyone reading this thread, with any doubts about the Real Presence, to read a book called, “The Incredible Catholic Mass” by Fr. Martin von Cochem, first published in 1704 in German and then again in 1896 in English by Benziger, and again in 1997 by TAN books. It is one of those books that is very hard to put down.

  • john654

    I’m Catholic and I have pulled a number of Catholics back out of these kind of churches. Basic apologetics! YES, I use words and in fact, I argue with them. I always start by saying, “Do you have a Bible”? Second question: Where did the Bible come from. Did it fall out of the sky 500 years ago? I ALWAYS invite them back to the Holy Catholic Church.

  • john654

    Deep down inside “Mega-churchers” are sick of the watered down false teachings they get week after week!

  • Chris Aubert

    Wait, isn’t the Church all about me, what I want, and what I find interesting?

    • Neil Frazier

      Ha! Ha! Ha! A wise priest once described a young couple who came to him and asked where all the above amenities could be found. He said, “At the YMCA. We won’t compete with them on sports and entertainment, and they won’t complete with us on worship.”

  • vkelch

    As always, you have hit the nail on the head with these young ladies. They are primarily uncatechized. As a permanent deacon, my 8 and 10 year old children now assist me as altar servers during Mass. They are learning that being a practicing Catholic is unique. That megachurch is more like a specticle than a divine liturgy. One of the most unique masses I went to was with a dozen deacon couples with one priest in a chapel at a deacons’ retreat. Those girls just need to experience true Catholisism. Deacon Vince

  • Julie

    But I think you touch on exactly what the problem is for so many of us who’ve left. Catholics always throw up “having the Sacraments” and “the Real Presence” as excuses for or deflections from their failings. All I can think is if any of that is true, why does it have so little discernible effect on so many Catholics? If the Real Presence is true, then how can Catholics, who supposedly have the actual flesh and blood of Christ Himself in their bodies, coursing through their veins, turn around not fifteen minutes later and act in such evil ways — maybe not the “big” evil ways, but in all the small, insidious evil ways that destroy so many people?

    If all this special Sacramental grace is true, then why are Catholics so very, very prideful and so very, very cruel to others?

    The Real Presence and Sacramental grace don’t mean anything if they don’t change anything. And they so clearly don’t.

    The Catholic Church, through its parishes and its members, expends a tremendous amount of energy pushing people away, or throwing obstacles and road blocks in their path. They’re not welcoming. I’ve moved many times over the course of 30 years of marriage, and registered in Catholic parishes from one coast to the other and a few points in between, and never once, not once, ever, did anyone welcome us. Never. Either the queen bee mommies who ran the volunteer programs and social events at school kept newcomers at a distance with their insider “popular girl” cliques, or the older members of the parish just wanted to show up to pay, pray and leave ASAP after Mass. No eye contact, no warmth, no genuine interest in anything but getting us our envelopes as fast as possible and making sure they had our correct address and phone number so they could pester us for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.

    It couldn’t have been made more clear at any one of these parishes that the only thing anyone was interested in was our money. Priests were unavailable and happy to let the usual know-it-alls and busybodies run the parish.

    People are hungry for Christ Himself, not (even supposing the Real Presence is true) eating little pieces of His flesh and drinking His blood. W’re not cannibals and vampires.

    I left and I’ve been experiencing all that welcoming and warmth, thoughtful sermons, community outreach and a genuine connection with Christ and with my fellow Christians. The living Christ is truly there, really and fully present in a way I never once encountered in a Catholic Church in all of my 50-something years.

    • GM

      My years of experience of what you describe as “welcoming and warmth, thoughtful sermons, community outreach…” Is not worth the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

      There was and is what you describe in those communities but below the surface of emotional preoccupation is the strong current of concupiscence–our tendency toward sin cannot be checked by a million tons of warm and fuzzies. Only the Real Presence can cure.

      There’s no confession to get real with yourself and God before one dies–no absolution available. No seal of Confession. Where does the Christian go with the sins they have committed in thought, word and deed that keeps eating away at them? To God? Of course. And God tells us to get the priest! Catholics who practice what the Church teaches will find it to be true.

      My wife and children are converts to Catholicism and all they really know is Catholicism in the Extraordinary Form via an FSSP parish. They love it! If there is one close to you try visiting–the priests work hard and I always see them taking the time to tend the flock. The sermons are anything but impractical or sentimental mush. We have never heard a single sermon from the pulpit about giving money! I lost count how many of those I heard in Protestant churches.

      Catholics should never trade the Real Presence for anything. If it is the Real Body and Blood (it is) Catholics should strive to partake of it worthily. Not run away from Him for emotional highs and entertainment.

      God had mercy on me after I tried all you described for years amongst Protestants by sending me one of his daughters to tell me, “You know we Catholics are the only ones with the Real Presence in church”–through her I heard the Father telling me, “Come home son, stop kicking against the spikes–Confession and Communion–the Sacraments is what will sustain you”

      • Julie

        I go to God with my sins. Only God can forgive sins, only God knows what is in our hearts. Only God truly knows us.

        I don’t run away from Christ for emotional highs and entertainment. I sought a deeper, truer relationship with Christ and I found it.

        Diminishing my journey towards Christ does not help your case, btw.

        • GM

          After reading your initial comment I gathered you’re Catholic. Unless you spent all those years in Catholic parishes not being one. If that’s the case in misinterpreted your comment.

          If you understand what the Church teaches about the Real Presence then I think you can understand my statements about Catholics leaving Him for other things.

          I had a hard time with Confession myself as a runaway Catholic. I did not want to tell my sins to anyone but God and believed man had no role in the confessing or forgiving of my sins. However, of all the sermons I heard on sins and forgiving in Protestant circles I cannot recall a single one expounding “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. ”
          That fact always ate at me as a run away son of the Church and no amount of rationalizing silenced the voice of Jesus who said that.

          I’m not trying to diminish your journey toward Christ. I gathered you were Catholic and wandering amongst Protestants as I have for years. As one who came back home I encourage all Catholics to come home.

          • Julie

            Even the Catholic Church does not teach that forgiveness comes from anyone but God.

          • GM

            What does God mean when He said, “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”?

          • Julie

            Not that men can tell God what to do, that’s for sure. Retaining and remitting, binding and loosing — all this has to do with your own relationship with God, and also with our own limited authority — limited by what is already decreed by God.

            Only God has the power to forgive our sins. Sure, we forgive each other when we offend or harm each other, and confess to each other, but as far as salvation goes, that’s God and God alone and NO man has the authority to supercede God or to limit God or to act in His stead. No man.

          • GM

            Jesus said that to His apostles. Are those apostles men?

          • Julie

            Yeah, but He’s not saying what you think He’s saying.

            You know what’s a huge turn off?

            Being manipulated and used.

            Bye.

          • GM

            Not here to turn anyone on.

            But since you’re here posting in this forum and you’re a former Catholic maybe reading Taylor’s three books will help you on your journey to Christ.

            May God continue to show you mercy Julie. God Bless.

          • Julie

            As if I’d ever read them now. No thanks. His crap attitude towards non-Catholics and ex-Catholics — he doesn’t REALLY care — he’s just here to preach to his choir and sell his stuff to the like minded, like so many of the bad television preachers.

            He wants blog hits and subscribers and people to buy his stuff. This is all about HIM, not God. It’s just about the money.

          • GM

            Julie,

            Taylor’s books are less than $8.00 in kindle format. Three books for under $24 is a great deal. But the point would be to read them and then make a judgment. After reading them I see why Taylor wrote them.

            In the Crucified Rabbi there’s a part where he covers the sacrifice of praise offered to God seven times a day. As a Catholic, have you ever tried to offer that praise along with the Church? It is not a “less-than-hour-session” at Holy Mass and the Catholic is finished kind of spirituality Catholics are called to.

            The Protestant Churches I’ve been with have never prayed that much nor handle as much Scripture in a single day let alone a year of Sunday preaching. Not a single minister under that umbrella ever suggested such a prayer routine to consecrate the day unto The Lord.

            Matins-Lauds-Prima-Tertia-Sexta-None-Vespers-Compline. 12:00am-4:00am for Matins/Lauds. Prima 6:00am. Tertia 9:00am. Sexta 12:00pm. None 3:00pm. Vespers 6:00pm. Compline 9:00pm.

            If you were to pray along with the Church over an hour a half plus of a day would be given to reading/praying the Holy Scriptures and spiritual meditations from Church history. Is it easy? Nope. Is one alone? Nope, there’s thousands if not millions praying along with you worldwide.

            So the Catholic Church has been offering this sacrifice of praise since its foundation by The Lord Jesus Christ. Taylor’s book the Crucified Rabbi sheds some light on where the Church got this practice. I don’t mind spending a little money and by chance being challenged to offer up the sacrifice of praise along with the Church to The Lord who is worthy of all our praise.

            In all your experience of Catholicism do you have any with the Divine Office. The Office is all about Him +++

          • Neil Frazier

            Rejecting John 20:20-23 is a rejection of the priesthood. The priest acts in the person of Christ when he confects the Eucharist and when he absolves you of sins. God knows that there is nothing so powerful as verbally acknowledging your sins (“Adam, what have you done?”), then hearing the saving words that you, the prodigal son, are forgiven.

          • Julie

            Yes, I get that. I reject Catholicism, so that’s sort of a minor point in my case, isn’t it? ;~)

          • Neil Frazier

            That being the case, you only point in posting in this forum is to either learn how to return, or to draw others away.

          • Julie

            No, hence the winky thing.

  • Najib Nasr

    I keep saying it, but, there is no one within earshot. IGNORANCE ABOUNDS EVERYWHERE!!! The answer is CONCISE CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS. Apologetics is the lifeline that God has thrown our way in this turbulent mess we are in. If the Faith can be taught to most Catholics in one, two or three hours, then why don’t we do that?!!! Bible study is a slow boat to China and we can go ahead and board that boat after that ONE DAY OF APOLOGETICS. Who will take the challenge? If I cannot reach the masses, I will have to settle for whoever is willing to take this (free) challenge.

    Dr. Marshall, your books may be good and may be doing some good. You have presented the problem, but, your books are not the solution for the masses. I wish you success in evangelizing. If you find a better way of reaching the masses, please take it, even at the expense of circulation. God bless.

    • St_Donatus

      I agree, but how many Catholics are willing to take the time. One thing that they are doing at one of the parishes I attend is, when the kids are preparing for a sacrament, the parents must come along and have classes too. This forces those poorly catechized, to learn again.

  • David

    “the Real Presence. . . if any of that is true, why does it have so little discernible effect on so many Catholics?”
    Yeah, there will always be those, like Judas, like so many of the Pharisees, that stood and lived and worked in the presence of the Son of God, and it seems to have no discernible effect on them. But I know so very many people who have been so drastically changed, and still being changed, by Jesus’ true presence in the Holy Eucharist. . . . my wife and I, to begin with. No matter how rude and cruel or insulting or nasty SOME people in the Church may be, for whatever reason. . no one could ever tell me Jesus doesn’t give himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament. I’ve experienced His overwhelming presence too many times to think otherwise. I couldn’t make it without Him.

    • Julie

      I’ve experienced His overwhelming presence in my life, too, only never at a Catholic Mass or through the Eucharist. And that’s the rub, isn’t it? If the Eucharist is truly Christ, this experience, these changes you claim are the result of the Eucharist alone would be universal.

      Christ chooses where He is truly and fully present, and in what form, and to whom, and when. Not some priest. Not anyone else.

      I think the doctrine of the Real Presence serves as a huge obstacle, even road block and I think the Catholic Church likes it that way. They want to broker God’s relationship with His children.

      And the notion of the Real Presence can make people both arrogant and apathetic. Either they think they’re better than everyone else or they think the Eucharist gets them off the hook for walking the walk.

      • David

        Julie ~
        No rub here. I know you won’t agree with me, but I believe if the Catholic Church likes it that way, it is because Jesus likes it that way, since He “set things up” that way. If you want to characterize that as brokering a relationship. . .wow, I don’ t know. I guess I can only say to you what I’d say to any former catholic or protestant . . . If you’re unwilling to recognize 2000 years of scriptural and historical evidence that Jesus Christ founded a church and it is the Catholic Church and all she teaches. . . I guess there’s nothing else to say. God bless you on your journey.

        • Julie

          I’m not denying that Christ established a church here on earth. I don’t think the Catholic Church is the church He intended, however. I think it’s morphed into something else, and His followers here on earth are His true church — which includes Catholics — I’m not saying Catholics are not Christians or are not part of the true Body of Christ. I’m just saying they’re not the only ones.

          • David

            Julie – no problem. I didn’t take it that way, but I appreciate your clarifying either way. But I will say, if you ever came to our parish, I can confidently say, my wife and I are nice people and we would welcome you! ;D God bless you.

    • St_Donatus

      My wife worked at an inner city school giving out free breakfasts. Half the kids just used the food for food fights, or throw most of it away. My wife would be so angry that she worked hard to help out these supposedly hungry children. The message is, if we are given a gift, we must accept that gift in order to enjoy it. If we receive the Holy Eucharist without the reverential attitude that this is the body and blood of Jesus Christ, we are not accepting the Graces that are given. We are in effect, throwing it in the trash. I think our actions translate into our appreciation for things. If we physically kneel for Communion on the tongue, looking upon the Eucharist as Jesus Christs sacrifice for us, we set our mind in a state to receive those Graces. Personally, I use the mass as a mental preparation for reception of this miracle, and it has brought me many physical and spiritual miracles since I started this.

      Yes, we can’t sit mindlessly thinking about our recreation after mass, if we want to get anything out of it.

      • Julie

        So it’s only the flesh and blood of Christ if you believe it’s the flesh and blood of Christ and accept it as such — kind of like Tinkerbell? God is only able to dispense His grace if we strike certain pious poses?

        I’m not sure what your last graph is supposed to mean — who’s sitting mindlessly anywhere thinking of their recreation after it’s over?

        I don’t get the not-so-thinly-veiled digs at anyone, non-Catholic or Catholic, who isn’t as pious or uber-trad as y’all.

        • St_Donatus

          Some have mentioned those who are in such a hurry to get out of the Church they may run you over in the parking lot as they said. Obviously, if they are in that much hurry, they were not keeping their mind on what was going on in the Mass or sermon. I remember spending many a Sunday thinking about the picnic, the movie, whatever to come after mass. I guess I was pointing at myself. I guess I will have to be upset with myself for the rest of the day for putting me down.

          Anyway, it is the protestants that believe that it is ‘faith alone’ that saves you — kind of like Tinkerbell? Pious poses are a way for some to get to a more reverent and close place with God. I am one of many who do this. Why do they say it makes you feel better when you smile? It is just an expression?

          As far as Graces, it isn’t that God is only able to dispense his Grace based on some pose. It is more like we are only able to receive those Graces with the correct mindset. It is like trying to convince you of my argument. You only will be able to accept my argument if your mind has the right disposition. Why won’t nearly a billion Muslims accept Christianity? Because their heart has not the right disposition. Likewise, currently your disposition indicates that you would not be open to God’s graces, so how would you ever be able to understand what I am talking about.

          Many people base their relationship with God on what they can get out of it. Do I get the emotional high from this mega-church sermon, do I meet lots of nice people at church, was the music fun? Why are their more Catholics than any other religion despite its lack of some emotional benefit to it members? Because we love God and the arrangement he started when Jesus gave his disciples the keys to the kingdom and the right to bind and loose, and they passed these same abilities to the next group of disciples, and the next and the next. The Catholic Church can show through history a direct line to Christ. Protestant churches can show no historic evidence of this.

          For example, who originally put together the Bible you love so, the Catholic Church around 400 ad. How did Christians know how to worship prior to the Bible, the Catholic Church taught them. How did Christians learn how to worship until the Bible was available to the masses (printing press invented) around 1550. The Catholic Church taught them. What happened when people started interpreting the Bible for themselves after 1550, they formed some 35,000 different denominations with each its own beliefs, from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the Mormons, from the Lutherans to the Episcopalians. Each with their own reason for breaking away from some other protestant group. The Catholic Church has always maintained the same beliefs, from the time of the first century, while protestant churches change with the fashion. Now most of them accept Gay marriage, divorce, and Contraception, none of which would even be considered one hundred years ago.

          My historical research into the writings of the first century Christians lead me to the Catholic Church, because when you read their writings, it is exactly how the Catholic Church believes.

          We may not have the entertainment, but we have the truth.

          • Julie

            No, you’re saying the bread and wine are only the body and blood if people believe it is. That’s the “Tinkerbell” aspect of your argument.

            You also claim that people go to megachurches for an “emotional high”. How do you know? Who are you to judge? Are you there? Are you speaking for the Holy Spirit? What are incense and chant if not emotional manipulators? You say people are Catholic because they love God — does that mean non-Catholic Christians don’t love God? Again, who are you to judge this? Who are you to deny the work of the Holy Spirit in another’s life? That’s dangerous territory you’re treading on. You claim megachurches are all about “entertainment”, as does the host of this blog (who is here to sell you HIS stuff, hmmm…), yet you’re only repeating what you’ve been told. Maybe some are like that,but maybe because megachurches get the community aspect of Christianity and provide more than 45 minutes per week of pay, pray and obey, it just seems that way to you because you’ve never experienced true community. You show up, get your little piece of Christ’s flesh and drink your little sip of His blood, and scoot home. It’s all about what you can get that you think makes you better than everyone else. Pffft. You’re not so great, nor are your masses and your church. The church I go to may be more modern, we may offer coffee before and after, and groups for everyone, and lots of opportunities to serve and connect and extend Christianity into all aspects of one’s life, but that’s not “entertainment”. It’s actually living like Christ said to live. Our Christianity isn’t about less than an hour one day a week and then back to the same old same old, barely making eye contact with people on the way out.

            Also, stop with the 50k and 35k denominations. This is another myth the internet Catholics perpetuate in order to be “right” on the internets and to sell their tacky crap online.

  • Matt

    I suggest you look at “Rebuilt” by Rev. Michale White and Tom Corcoran. The book’s forward was written by Cardinal Dolan of New York City. It is a book about a Catholic Church near Baltimore, maryland that grappled with — and addressed successfully — the very concerns raised by the women you spoke with. This Catholic Church addressed its message, its music and its programs to attract lapsed Catholics and Mass attendance is now upwards to 5000 each weekend!

  • Marie Dean

    Maybe they just want to find Christian husbands….

    Seriously, faith is not merely catechesis, but a gift, which we forget. Pray for these girls to have that gift, given to them in baptism, to be stirred up.

    As to feeling like they were being judged….hmmm

  • Chris

    “You’re neglecting three (maybe three and a half) of the eight points you heard from them, though. I came to the Catholic Church from a dappled Protestant background of Baptist, Reformed, liberal Presbyterianism, and one straight-up “house church.” On the one hand, I wouldn’t be anywhere else, and I could never go back to taking any Protestant church seriously. On the other, as these two ladies articulated, every Catholic parish I’ve been to has been socially COLD. There is no, or next-to-no, sense of community, everybody either splits immediately after Eucharist or, if they talk to you for a few minutes, have forgotten your name by the next week. I’ve never been welcomed to a new parish, either before or after mass.

    My wife and I sometimes talk about how much we miss the community of which we were a part, in which we felt really included, when we were members of a Reformed church. There’s no replacement for the Eucharist, but so far, life as a Catholic is alienated and lonely.”
    The above quote makes the point to which most Catholics I know, who leave for another denomination, do so. And when we discuss the problems we have in the Church, one discussion cant be separated from another. I’d be willing to bet that this “community” discussion changes when a family has kids in a Catholic school, who are involved with sports and other extra-curricular activities. And may change back when or if they are no longer involved in that school. If so, then that tells us something. The other side of the discussion, which I hear thrown around, has to do with the organization of the mass and the teachings of the Church. This almost never factors in for those who leave because of the lack of sense of community. You MUST be able to address the needs of a person or family as a whole.

  • thisoldspouse

    In the former mega-church I attended, they routinely have theater (skits) and dancing on stage. Hence, the “former.”

  • Chad Eberhart

    I used to hold wholeheartedly to the Fr. Z mantra “Save the Liturgy. Save the World”, but, alas, I think it is way too optimistic. In short, and this is super elitist to say, it overestimates the curiosity and intelligence (contrariness?) of the average person, not to mention the power of consumer-capitalist culture. This is not to say people are not capable of learning and understanding the Church’s teachings and liturgical patrimony – especially within a committed Catholic family and culture – but to expect that people who have not grown up in a particularly committed Catholic family or culture will see beauty and naturally be so drawn to it that they, en masse, will make it their own is, well, wishful thinking. The damage is done.

    Most people given the means and opportunity naturally sink to the the lowest common denominator. As our culture continues to increasingly become more individualistic and untethered from history, anything smacking of tradition will be seen as at best “nice”, “quant” or even “beautiful” but it will not be accessible. The learning curve is too steep and people won’t put in the time required to unlock the treasures of our faith contained in the liturgy. While God in the Eucharist is a strong “selling point” – no matter how bad or good the liturgy is – it is still an abstraction for most people. Solid, orthodox Catholicism requires rich Catholic soil in which to grow. Consumer capitalism and democracy (ultimately) is not that culture no matter what the neocon Catholic apologists argue to the contrary. And even more influential is technology. If there is any overriding ideology it is technology AS ideology, which is ushering in the post-human era (sorry to sound sci-fi). Short of a miracle or major catastrophe there is nothing stopping it – no matter how solid the catechesis and beautiful the Gregorian Chant.

    • St_Donatus

      I see many like you say, but there was a time when the Catholic Church changed the pagans and barbarians of Europe into Christians, imperfect Christians yes, but Christians. When we have charismatic leaders who can encourage people to take the time to learn these things, they can draw them back. We also have to remember, it took hundreds, even over a thousand years for the early church to convert Europe.

      In our time of instant gratification, we need to remember Saint Paul’s words that go something like ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.’ It take many people doing little things to bring about change. You do a little bit to encourage fellow Catholics there, I do teach a class at my parish, someone else encourages them in their family, and so forth, and in ten years something happens.

      We can’t be defeatist. Yes, changes need to come. Parishes need a more welcoming atmosphere, more Bible classes, more socializing, more catechism classes, more volunteers. At my Church, at least half the members, volunteer at least 10 hours per month to the church. That draws them together, make us a family, and causes the parish to grow numerically and spiritually.

      • Chad Eberhart

        I understand that charismatic leaders are adept at inspiring otherwise complacent individuals but over the long haul a cult of personality is not sufficient enough to sustain a community. There is nothing more irritating to me than working in an organization lead by a great personality who does not put in the requisite effort toward sustainability.

        It is absolutely correct to say that we need Paul’s planting and Apollos’ watering but it does us no good to substitute identifying real issues with platitudes in an effort to remain positive at all costs. We can talk all day about what “effective” liturgy and catechesis is, but until we are willing to force ourselves to actually look at the real problems of consumer-capitialism and technology, and how they shape our decisions, we are whistling dixie.

  • Lendtolease

    My wife is (was) Catholic. We did the two church thing for awhile. Eventually, ended up on the Protestant side, not a megachurch, but certainly a larger what I like to good-naturedly call a “church of what’s happenin’ now”. The vibe is so totally different in Catholic vs. Protestant. The C church is not friendly at all. I have almost been run over several times by people trying to get out of the parking lot in a hurry after Mass. Not nearly as many activities for Kids at the C church. I was at a Mass a few years ago-my niece’s confirmation, in fact. The Priest said in his homily that 65% of Catholics believe the Holy Eucharist is a symbol, and does not change. 65%. The P church is warm and welcoming-almost to a fault. There are a lot of ways to connect with folks in a faith context, outside of Sunday Church. I generally support the C church in it’s moral teachings. But, my warning to you is, if you think that you will gain members or stop losing members by going wobbly on the foundational tenets of your faith, especially moral areas, you are wrong.

    • St_Donatus

      You are right. I was Protestant for nearly 30 years and met many fine friendly people. We sometimes lump all Protestant Churches into one but in reality, it is the newer Protestant denominations that are so friendly. Like Catholics, the old line Protestant denominations are just as unfriendly as many Catholic parishes. Go to a Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican church and you will get the same coldness we see in many Catholic parishes. The problem is that so many in the Catholic Church take their faith for granted. They are there out of tradition rather than faith. This is why 65% don’t agree with this or that. They are so poorly catechized, so non-Christian that they really don’t even need to show up. Their minds are not in the Church so why do they come. The problem is that very few leaders in the Church seem to be trying to change that. It is good that these weak Catholics are there because WHEN the leaders decide to motivate them, they are there to at least make a decision.

      Thankfully, I am in a parish that is very Christian. Someones home burned in the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs. These folks were on vacation. One of the parishioners risked their own safety to rescue their animals. Others tried to get in to save some of their belongings but were unable to get there before the fire destroyed their house. When they went back to clean up the remains, there were dozens who came to help. This is not a rare case or an extreme. We share and help each other at every opportunity. Of course, our priest reminds us of our Christian duty to each other, not in soft cushy words but with a commanding voice.

  • YCY

    Sad sad very sad.

  • Justas399 .

    The problem is that the issue is not the Eucharist but the gospel. The Eucharist does not save anyone but the gospel does. That is what Roman Catholics need to hear.

    • Chad Eberhart

      Justas399 you seem to be confused. Essentially, what you’ve just stated is that God does not save anyone. How do you define “the gospel”.

      • Justas399 .

        Chad,
        Eating the Lord’s supper does not save anyone.
        The gospel is the good news that Christ came into the world to die for sin for those whom would put their faith in Him.

        • Chad Eberhart

          Justas399, it looks like we disagree about the facts so there cannot be agreement…and there’s nothing you’ve said describing the gospel that Catholics don’t hear. So, I guess we are already at an impasse. As for myself I grew up Southern Baptist and one of the main reasons I converted to the Church that Christ founded is the undeniable pedigree of Her doctrinal positions.

          • Justas399 .

            Chad,
            What facts do we disagree on? Eating the Lord’s supper does not lead to eternal life. No supper account says this in Scripture.

            What does the Roman Catholic teach how a Roman Catholic is to gain heaven?

          • Chad Eberhart

            You ask what facts we disagree on and then list a fact we disagree on. I suppose you believe Christ equivocated when He said “this IS my body”. Or, imagine that people left in droves because he preached on the symbolic eating and drinking of His body and blood.

            Maybe a better starting point would be what do you think the Roman Catholic Church teaches about salvation?

          • Justas399 .

            Here is what your church teaches about salvation:
            “”If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema” (Session 6: can. 9).

            This is a denial of Ephesians 2:8-9, Gal 2:16 and John 3:16

          • Chad Eberhart

            The keyword is “alone”. Maybe you’re working from an obscure translation but I did not find the combination of words “faith” and “alone” in any of those verses.

            Given James 2:14-16, common sense and the pedigree of the Church’s teaching on this matter I’m going to have to defer to Rome on this rather than Luther.

          • Justas399 .

            James 2:14-16 is not about doing works to gain salvation but showing that you have-possess salvation. Works only show evidence of salvation. They are not the cause of it.

            BTW- Rome has never officially-infallibly interpreted these verses.

            Also The Roman Catholic writer Joseph A. Fitzmyer points out that Luther was not the only one to translate Romans 3:28 with the word “alone.”

            Robert Bellarmine listed eight earlier
            authors who used sola (Disputatio de controversiis: De justificatione 1.25
            [Naples: G. Giuliano, 1856], 4.501-3):

            Here are some examples:
            ” Ambrosiaster, In Ep. ad Romanos 3.24 (CSEL 81.1.119): “sola fide justificati sunt
            dono Dei,” through faith
            alone they have been justified by a gift of God; 4.5 (CSEL
            81.1.130).

            Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588):
            “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis,
            sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine
            operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the
            moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We
            consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law).
            Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius,
            scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4
            (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).

          • Chad Eberhart

            James 2:14-16 is saying faith without works is dead. Are you saying faith without works is alive?

            Btw, how many times do you believe Rome has infallibly declared anything?

            First, there are lots of saints who have interpreted things wrongly. I’m not sure how your quotes prove anything. Also, given context and how they mean “works” is something to look into. Something tells me it isn’t quite what you think it is.

          • Justas399 .

            Faith without works is dead. The works show that the faith is true and alive. If there are no works then the faith is dead. Works in and of themselves do not cause salvation nor make one saved. They are only indicators that salvation has happened in that person.

            The only things that I’m aware that your church has declared infallibly is the immaculate conception of Mary and her supposed assumption. Both of which are never spoken or hinted at in Scripture.

            Bellarmine is not wrong because there are facts to back up his claim. It shows that Luther was not the first nor the only one that said anything about “faith alone”. There were others before him who said this such as Aquinas.

  • john

    I went to a mega church a few weeks ago to support a friend who was being “commissioned” as a missionary to China (for who knows how long). The service was both entertaining and enlightening. However, it was not, in my mind, “worship.” The service was focused on the music (which was quite good, but not reverent, worship music) and the pastor (who did a great “lecture/lesson on the value of work (which I thought was ironic, considering in the same sermon, he claimed we are “saved by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone”)). I was quite grateful to just minutes later walk into my Catholic church to worship God, participate in the Mass, and receive the Body of Christ (the mega church also handed out crackers and juice, but even this “symbol” seemed to be handled irreverently). I left thinking, this pastor and these devout followers he has should be low hanging fruit for us as we evangelize our faith!

    • norcalrunner

      When you call other people “low hanging fruit” as if they’re not even children of God, equally loved by Him as you are, you show us how you dehumanize us and therefore don’t really follow Christ.

  • saffron

    I think people convert because they don’t know that the Catholic Church has infallible ecumenical councils and sacred tradition. If the Catholic Church was not the one founded by Christ and that kept Tradition what the bible means would just be a him said she said of an overwhelming document with thousands of pages.

    • norcalrunner

      I think that may actually be one of the reasons why we DO convert. Too often, what some dude has decided is “sacred tradition” supercedes Christ Himself. Not cool.

  • Snake-Eyes

    I am a non practicing Protestant. I was raised a protestant & my wife was raised Catholic. we agreed (24 years ago) to try protestantism. Well, to make a long story short, “it ain’t working!” As far as the mega-churches, well I have had enough already. The music is more like American Idol; the ‘sermons” are nothing but self help anaolgies from Dr. Phil to make you feel good about yourself & I sense the entire theme seems to be “me/me/me”. I just don’t get anything out iof it. I feel more like a spectator than a participant. I have found there is nothing in those churches but arguing, fighting & trying to get $. they always need $ for some reason. Yes, God can do all things but for some reason can’t seem to manage $. Of course there are all of these “needs”: the $10k sound system, the drama ministry props, the marketing schemes etc. they seem to take God & apply modern marketing to it. the pastors all dress like normal folks (intentionally), but they make over $100k per year! It is crazy, I mean the amount of $ these mega churches burn through. 2 weeks ago my wife got up early & went to mass at the church she attended as a child. We have since decided to give it a try.

  • Jon Reid

    I started out as a Evangelical Protestant raised in a local ‘artsy’ large evangelical church for about 20 years. I converted last year to the Catholic Church; the reason for my conversion? Having to face ‘intellectual honesty’ when it came to things like the Eucharist, the Papacy, Mary; etc. I did about 3 years of study before my conversion, and through my study came to read about the early Church Fathers and how they actually believed all these things. My point is that I studied for a long time, but not everybody has the patience, or perhaps the time to study the Faith as I did. Dioceses need to start hosting local classes or events to learn about the faith, or even just get out on the street. One idea that I heard about was a priest in Toronto, Canada, who sat outside his Parish in a question booth called “Ask a Priest a Question”. He apparently answered any question about the Faith, vocations, and just everyday life questions. It’s not about being annoying or shoving people around, but putting yourself out there and being available and knowledgeable enough in your faith to answer questions. If Protestants or just your average person understood and accepted, for example, that we actually have Jesus physically and spiritually present in every single Catholic Tabernacle…do you think people would be going to Joel Osteen’s church to see his obnoxious smile anymore?

    • Justas399 .

      Jon,
      If Jesus is “physically and spiritually present in every single Catholic Tabernacle” then that would mean Jesus has 2 more natures besides His humanity and deity. Secondly, what makes you think Jesus is physically present in an inanimate object i.e. bread?

      • Jon Reid

        Justas,
        The Early Church Fathers, Jesus Himself, and St. Paul all bear witness to this early Christian truth, which the early Church believed without ceasing. It was only in the Protestant Reformation that this belief was contested. It was believed for the first 1500 years of the Christian Church. If you need biblical/extra-biblical references to this I can easily provide them. Most obvious being from John 6: “If you eat the body and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you will have life in you. For my body is true meat, and my blood is true drink.” Also at the last supper, where He says “this is my Body, broken for you; do this in remembrance of me” notice that He didn’t say “this is a symbol of my body”. Secondly, the greek word for remembrance conveys an active, living memorial. Hence the Consecration, where the Priest by the power of the Holy Spirit consecrates the Bread and Wine, turning them into the Body, Soul, Blood and Divinity of Jesus Christ. And if God is Omnipresent, and Christ is God, then He would be able to be anywhere He pleases, no? Thereby not making Him limited to anyone place or time.

        Cheers!

        • Justas399 .

          Jon,

          There are different opinions among the church fathers on the meaning of the Lord’s supper. John 6 is never referenced in the supper accounts by Christ. There is no mention in the supper accounts that eating the bread and drinking the wine leads gains one eternal life as John 6 says.

          Here is what church historian says about the Lord’s supper in the first 300 hundred years:

          “The doctrine concerning the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,
          not coming into special discussion, remained indefinite and obscure [during the period from 100-325 AD]. The ancient church made more account of the worthy participation of the ordinance than of the logical apprehension of it. She looked upon it as the holiest mystery of Christian worship, and accordingly, celebrated it with the deepest devotion, without inquiring into the mode of Christ’s presence, nor into the relation of the sensible signs to his flesh and blood. It is unhistorical to carry any of the later theories back into this age; although it has been done frequently in the apologetic and polemic discussion of this subject.”

          Philip Schaff’s History of the Church – Passages on the
          Eucharist

          • Victor

            (((It is unhistorical to carry any of the later theories back into this age; although it has been done frequently in the apologetic and polemic discussion of this subject.”)))

            Justas399! I’m going to pray now cause “Jesus” said in so many words that some things can only be cured with prayer.

            God Bless Peace

  • Daniel Maldonado

    Coming from a Protestant church, which did full on productions every Sunday, I can say that going to Mass was a breath of fresh air.

    I found myself closing my eyes at the reverent music and focusing on the words. I wasn’t there to be entertained, I wanted to worship and I feel that while the modern isn’t bad, the music at Mass is much more reverent and the theology in it much richer and robust than the typical Protestant rock you here at Protestant churches.

  • Debby

    I like the “street level” religion that most Catholic churches don’t offer. In most Catholic churches everything is so top-down. No small group Bible/scripture studies. Very little organized to help you connect with your fellow parishioners. I think the music is extremely important. Music provides an emotional connection and there is such amazing Christian music out there now – upbeat and uplifting. Most Catholic churches don’t play it. I say most, because I know there are Catholic churches who seem to know what people are looking for. But there aren’t enough.

  • RadicalPilgrim

    A bigger dilemma is – what do you do when your own parish BECOMES a mega church?!?! My parish is downright huge!

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Start a small group!!!