Ten Things That Empty Churches

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

1. Self Righteousness – There are few things more off putting than a self righteous know it all. When the self righteousness is religious it’s even worse. You can spot this self righteousness in both the radical conservatives and the radical progressives. They’ve turned their version of Catholicism into the only one and they’re not only right, but everybody else is wrong. Not only is everyone else wrong, but they have to be condemned, vilified, blamed and scapegoated. This is not true religion. It’s a false and twisted form of religion and no wonder people who sniff it out take off.

2. Legalism – I’m glad the Catholic Church has canon law and liturgy. I’m glad it is all written down somewhere. I’m glad we go by the book, but the “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” When religion is only about rules and regulations and we forget people and the messiness of real life, then religion has defeated its own purpose. The  rules of the game are there to allow us to have fun playing the game. Of course we need someone to pay attention to the rules, but they need to remember what its all about in the first place. They need to remember that you need a map, but the map is not the journey.

3. Unfriendliness – What is it like to visit a Catholic Church for the first time? Unfortunately many people report that nobody talks to them, there is no process for welcoming new members, they are ignored and have to practically plead with people to join the Catholic Church. “Oh yeah. I think we have something called RCIA, but it doesn’t begin until September and I don’t know who is running it this year.” If we love the church we might take the time and effort to welcome others into it.

4. Poor Preaching – I hear from readers around the country that the quality of preaching in many Catholic parishes is abysmal. Priests and deacons are unprepared, their content is shallow and their convictions weak. I hear that they drone on and on stringing together cliches and anodyne religious sentiment combined with a feel good self help agenda. This is not the case of the blind leading the blind, but the bland leading the bland.  What’s the result? “Because you were lukewarm I spat you out.”

5. Modernism – People don’t want the Catholic religion turned into a mixture of the Rotary Club and the Democratic Party. If they wanted a way to feel warm and cozy and make the world a better place they’d join the Girl Scouts. Modernism robs religion of the supernatural element. At that point it is no longer a religion. It’s a set of table manners.People are longing for an authentic connection with their Lord, their God, their Creator and their Father. Modernism gives them a mealy mouthed moral code.

6. Immorality – Yes the priest child abuse scandal did hurt the Catholic Church. So do clergy who run drugs rackets, sleep with women parishioners, siphon off parish funds, live an opulent life, watch porn, go on expensive vacations and keep a mistress. Cardinals who use rent boys, bishops who spend millions on their palace and priests who are corrupt, lazy and rude all hurt the church. Furthermore, it’s not just the clergy. Laypeople who are guilty of the above are also like a slow acting poison to the church…. Continue

And this type of garbage theology:

Call to ‘abolish the clergy’ ignites controversy in Belgium

A booklet arguing that ‘to abolish clericalism, we must abolish the clergy’ has been criticized by lay Catholics and a bishop.

Luke Coppen
March 8, 2023

A booklet arguing that “to abolish clericalism, we must abolish the clergy” has ignited controversy among Belgium’s Catholics.

Following the document’s publication, a petition opposing its thesis gathered more than 600 signatures in 48 hours, according to local media.

The almost 60-page text, entitled “Restore the Church to the People of God: To put an end to clericalism,” was written by nine people associated with the Diocese of Liège, drawing criticism from the local bishop.

The authors, who include two priests, wrote: “From our point of view, it is a false idea to think of ordaining women and/or married men. This idea is based on the need to have a clergy at all costs, even if it means changing the rules of access to the sacred. But this idea will in no way bring new life to the communities and to the Church. We are still in blind clericalism…” Read it all

No more traditional priesthood a goal for some?

Pope Benedict XVI

 “The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . .

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . .

But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death. — from Faith and the Future (2009)