Should the Catholic Church adapt herself and get up to date?

Holy deacon Kandra reports here on a survey on why Catholics stop going to Mass.

four major reasons why some Roman Catholics stop going to church, among them: Disagreement with church doctrine on birth control, women as priests, homosexuality; A view that there are too many scandals in the church; A feeling parishioners are being judged by the church or are not welcomed.

Here’s a sampling of some of the comments left by lapsed Roman Catholics completing the survey:

– “My daughter came out to me as gay, and I went through a divorce after 28 years of marriage. The Church doesn’t want either one of us.”

–“Being divorced they do not let you take communion. Treat you like an outsider. But they allowed priest [sic] that they knew were bad to stay in the church.”

– “The archaic idea that only men can lead a congregation and be in the clergy, the underlying message of guilt and fear and the lack of diversity and openness to gays.”

– “I struggle with the way the Catholic Church has not adapted an ever changing world. I also feel sometimes people are looked down upon instead of being lifted up by the church.”

The problem here is a misunderstanding of what the church is and what she is for, and the reason for the confusion is that people have forgotten (or never knew in the first place) what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.

First what the church is NOT: The Catholic Church is not a social club where everybody is supposed to feel affirmed. The Catholic Church is not an organization to feed the hungry or house the homeless. The Catholic Church is not an association of nice people who wish to make the world a better place. The Church is not a pressure group of concerned citizens intent on bringing about social justice. The Church is not a gathering of respectable people who are trying to do good. The Church is not a group of fine upstanding and morally upright people who support one another in their correct behaviors and attitudes. The Catholic Church is not a place to practice fine liturgy, appreciate art and historic architecture and produce beautiful sacred music. The Catholic Church is not an association to preserve ancient liturgical practices, foster the appreciation of dead languages and be a fashion show for brocade vestments from ecclesiastical outfitters in Rome. The Church is not a Bible study group or a pressure group for higher moral standards among the young, nor is it a group to change societies attitudes or impact economics, politics and policies.

Of course Catholics might do all the above activities and many more, but these are not the primary reason for the church and when any of these activities become the reason for the church’s existence disaster and disappointment follow.

Disappointment follows because people have allowed themselves to have the wrong expectations. They thought the church should be this or that and it let them down. Wrong expectations always lead to bitter disappointment.

Disaster follows because, being disappointed they will leave the church and usually start slamming the church for not being what she was never meant to be in the first place.

Have you noticed that in this conflict there are some Catholics who think the Church should be “up to date” while there are others who think she should be just the opposite. Some are trying desperately to bring the church into the twenty first century while others wish it were back in the twentieth. Some think the church should be modern. Some want her to be antique.

Both are wrong because both have forgotten what the Church is really for. Continue Reading