Month: October 2011

Why they’re leaving the Church

(Part 3 of 4)

 (Let’s be aware of these problems and consider how we Joyful Catholics can help in the solution)

A couple, who are my splendid friends, were active Episcopalians for over twenty years. Through the CYO program which the husband was heading, they met a splendid priest. He was a saintly person. Because of his example, the couple realized the Catholic Church offered more depth of meaning in their spiritual lives, and they joined the Church.

When they moved to another parish, they discovered a different type of priest. He was an extreme egotist who wore a toupee, designer jeans and specially tailored suits. His delight was a high Mass with thundering organ, rich vestments and gold vessels on the altar. He crippled the St. Vincent de Paul activity in the church because it encouraged the appearance in the parish area of the poor black people, which would disturb the “right” people.

His meaningless homilies were no delight. He furnished the rectory with expensive oriental rugs, on which he didn’t want parishioners to tread. Finally, with a near revolt on the part of the congregation, the Church authority transferred the priest and inflicted him on another parish.

He was replaced by an attractive younger priest, who was very concerned about the youth. He encouraged the couple to adopt an eleven-year-old boy, who had a father in prison and mother who was a drug addict.Later, it was revealed that the priest was a pedophile. After the Church authority slapped his wrist, the priest was assigned elsewhere.

Another concern of my friends was the folksy approach to the Eucharist following Vatican II. During Mass, they now saw parishioners habitually rising with indifference to receive Communion like bolts on an assembly line.

The exposure to two lousy priests and the “ho hum” appreciation of the Eucharist crumbled the couple’s devotion to Catholicism, and they rejoined the Episcopal Church.

It is interesting that my inquiry to friends who have left the Church was welcomed by those I interviewed. I was the only person who had bothered to ask. That’s not good!

For example, for over twenty years, I enjoyed being a Knight of Malta. During that time, I originated two new successful programs and served on many committees and was a board member. When I became out-of-touch with the organization, I submitted a letter of resignation.

Two years later, I am still awaiting a reply and a peep from the Malta administration or a fellow member. This non-response causes me to consider their reaction to my leaving to be “good riddance”.

Let this be a lesson for us Joyful Catholics. If we know of a friend who is getting shaky about his or her Faith, confirm your interest by asking this person “why?” Odds are that he or she will be pleased with your concern and want to discuss problems of faith. Go for it!

Other recommended Catholic blogs

 – Creative Minority Report
Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!
– Faith and Family Live

Recommended readings

Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s excellent article “A New Relationship
in the September 26 issue of America
– Bishop Kirk S. Smith’s advice on “How to get more young people in church”, in The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.

Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests

The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (
Fr. Robert Aufieri (NYC)
Fr. John M. Bauer (MN)
Fr. Edward Gorman, O.P. (DE)
Fr. Andrew Gries (DC)
Msgr. Edward Filardi (MD)
Fr. Raymond Kemp (DC)
Archbishop Jerome Listecki (MN)
Bishop Dennis Madden (MD)
Fr. Joseph Marini (CA)
Fr. John Mericantante (FL)
Msgr. Thomas Modugno (NYC
Fr.. John O’Donoghue (TX)
Fr. James R. Purfield (CO) NEW!
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi (AL) NEW!
Msg. Paul L. Rohling (AL)
Fr. Matthew Ruhl, S.J. (KS)
Fr. Michael Scanlon (OH)
Fr. Richard Trout (FL)
Fr. Hayden Vaverek (NYC)
Fr. Malcolm Sylvester Willoughby, O.P. (DC)
Canon Stuart Wilson (London, UK)


“We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.   My motto
Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”



  • The European Court of Human Rights ruled that crucifixes can be displayed in Italy’s public schools.
  • The Center  for  Applied Research in the Apostolate released a report showing that “the number of Catholic parishes in America has declined by 1,359 since the year 2000 to 17,784 in 2010, representing a7.1% decrease.”

My favorite priest, layperson, breathing  saint or organization

Originally from Ohiowhere she attended The University of Dayton, Paula Benson, active mother of three children, has touched the lives of hundreds of new Catholics in her 13 years of teaching RCIA at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a radiant Joyful Catholic!

Last year, when the pastor told her to find a way for parishioners to meet-and-greet after Mass, she set up a coffee and donuts stand in the porch area at the front of the Church. Beginning after the 7:30 AM Mass, she has it in full operation. As a radiant hostess, she sees to it that no one is a stranger. Every parish should be blessed with a Paula Benson!

(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference


Interesting Sayings

What priests deserve is not only thanks but listening ears. Perhaps if everyone quit telling them what they should be, they might tell us what they need in order to be successful and healthy.  Bryan Cones, managing editor of U.S. Catholic

Never stop going into unknown territory of growth  Joyce Rupp

I intend to live forever, or die tryingGroucho Marx

What is the thing that matters beyond all else, the thing that should give us utmost joy? It is this: that our names are written in heaven, that we belong to heaven, that we are the children of the Father who is in heaven.

Dom Anscar Vonie, O.S. B., abbot of Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England
(died 1906)


 The reason for leaving the Catholic Church is not lack of faith but  the lack of friends. We have to make friends – we have to take the first  step. Sometimes ultimately, our own fault is the reason. Behave as a true Christian in all situations and then you will get happiness.

K. C. Thomas


 I enjoyed the epigrammatic style in your “Invite Jesus to the pub”.  Edgar Whitworth, Akron, OH 

What right do you have to discuss why people are leaving the Church? Rebecca Eddy, Boston, MA

(Reply: Good question, but somebody should do it. What are your thoughts about this?)

 Your blog’s desire to assist the Church is palpable.    Julius Torres, Little   Rock,AR


Chuckle Time

A Catholic friend once came to my Christian Scientist mother for advice. The woman explained that her husband had been abusing her and openly had a girl friend. 

My mother said, “I don’t want to advise you, but you should discuss this with your priest.”

“I did,” she replied, “and he told me to do nothing—just sit steady in the boat and act as if nothing wrong was going on.”    My mother said, “I don’t want to advise you what to do, but
don’t you know another priest?”