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. (aljagoe@comcast.net)
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)

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