Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Before You Leave...

...Think about a few things.

Most people who leave the Catholic Church do so because of some bad experience they have had on the local/parish level. Whether it be with a priest, the music at worship, or whatever. One thing they don't realize is that although a parish or a particular priest is a member of the Catholic Church, they are not the ENTIRE Church.

Sure there are false shepherds in the Church. The Church is made of sinners. However, most priests are very holy men. If you have a problem with a particular parish priest that you are unable to reconcile, don't leave the Catholic Church. Go to another parish!

If you don't like the music at your parish, don't leave the Catholic Church. Go to another parish!

If you realize that you don't know alot about the Bible and you think that the Catholic Church is not a Bible Church, keep in mind that in the course of three years we read through the entire Bible. Were you paying attention? If you don't know the Bible, start reading and studying it. Encourage others to do it with you. Yes, your parish should have Bible studies and be teaching the Faith, but if they are not then the laity should take the initiative. That is role of the sensus fidelium!

If you feel that your parish isn't warm or welcoming enough, what are you doing to change that? If you aren't willing to do anything about it, you really have no cause for complaint. And if you feel there is nothing you can do to make your parish more welcoming, find one that is. They do exist. Don't leave the Church because of it. Now, I'mnot saying that a parish shouldn't be warm and welcoming, it should. But is that your sole purpose for going to church? To be a part of a social club? Or is it to worship God and partake in the Eucharist and receive Christ in you so that you may attain the goal of salvation?

Before you leave the Church, ask yourself, "Am I leaving for doctrinal reasons or for purely emotional reasons?"

Most times, people leave due to emotional reasons. And if they leave for doctrinal reasons, it is because they don't fully understand them.

If you leave the Church, you leave the fullness of the Faith!
You leave the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist!
You leave the Church that Christ established on the rock that is Peter, the Vicar of Christ!
You leave the Church that Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against! Can you say that about any other church? No!

There is no shortage of Catholic parishes. Surely, one of them will be suitable for you. And even if you have to drive an hour away because that parish will keep you in the Church, compared to the one down the street from your house that you are frustrated with, is not an hours drive worth the salvation of your eternal soul?!

Surely the Church is not perfect due to it being composed of mere humans. But as the Mystical Body of Christ it is perfect in that Christ dwells within it. His Spirit is ever present to guide and protect it.

During the Reformation, Martin Luther and Erasmus both wanted to reform the corruption going on in the Church of their time. Luther left and formed his own sect where the fullness of the Truth did not exist nor did Christ reside in the Eucharist.
Erasmus stayed because he understood that the Catholic Church was the unity of all Christians. He knew that where the Catholic Church was, there was Christ!

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