How not to convert run-of-the-mill Protestants

Classic rant by the Great Favog:

The little tips were good, too. Get ‘em to mass a lot, so they will know what they are missing.

The short theological exegesis of that “helpful tip” is as follows if you live in one of the great majority of Catholic parishes in these United States: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHA! HAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Now, I will admit to having gone to, for example, Presbyterian (sorry!) services and telling Mrs. Favog afterward that “There’s no there there.” But that’s because I buy into the whole Catholic thing already.

How can a church service not seem lacking when you believe that, even at the crappiest, most rote, most non-reverent, Haugen-ditty-filled Catholic Mass, you have seen the priest make Jesus Christ — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — truly present on the altar? When you, despite all the worst modernity has wrought upon my suffering Church, still get to — as Walker Percy would say — “eat Christ,” doing exactly what Jesus, in John 6, said we must do to have life within us?
LIKE I SAID, I know what I would be missing because I’m already Catholic. I’ve already signed up for the Roman Life Assurance policy.

Your woebegone Protestant conversion target hasn’t yet. Get it?

All your average evangelical probably sees is a lackluster homily, music that’s at least as bad as their “praise and worship” stuff, most of the congregation going through the motions — at best — and little to no fellowship after all is said and “celebrated.”

Such as it is.
THE JOURNEY into Catholicism for many today is a journey precipitated by marriage or a relentlessly seeking intellect homing in on the Original Source Material of Christendom. Both are good things, very good things. Fine reasons to join the Church.

But you’ll probably end up frustrated if you’re really on fire for Christ. After all, how many converts are touting the vibrance of Catholic parish life or the extraordinary witness of most lay Catholics as being this mysterious, mighty, irresistable riptide that pulled them out into the Living Waters and toward that far bank of the Tiber River?

Until you get acclimated — and I really don’t know whether acclimated is a good thing or not — the serious convert barely may be restraining himself from jumping atop the pew (and be careful about this if you’re in a parish with chair-pews or movable pews) and screaming at his fellow parishioners.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE!?! Don’t you realize the riches this Church possesses? Don’t you know that’s JESUS on the altar there? And with 2,000 years of Gregorian and Byzantine chant, and hundreds of years of classical hymnody, WHY ARE YOU SINGING THIS ST. LOUIS JESUITS S***?????

“Oh . . . pardon my French, Lord. Please forgive me.” (Slinks silently out of the sanctuary as people stare and Father shakes his head.)

ON THE OTHER HAND, I quite literally have been brought to tears of joy by the Holy Spirit at the most humble of Masses, liturgies unremarkable except for the humility and love with which they were celebrated.

This is in the midst of a tirade against a book published by Ignatius Press on how to convert Protestants. I must say that the whole idea of taking your Evangelical friends to Mass sounds wonderful, but Favog nails it. Most of my friends, if they didn’t already “buy the Catholic thing”, would cringe at our half-hearted worship, awful music, and milquetoast homilies. The Mass as celebrated in the vast majority of American parishes, without believing in the Blessed Sacrament, is not an evangelism tool. It’s a sure-fire turn-off.

Heck, my parents would probably be closer to being Catholic if I didn’t know that my musically-trained mother and hymn-loving father would simply laugh at our music, so therefore, I cringe at the thought of them attending the closest two parishes to their house…

1 Response to “How not to convert run-of-the-mill Protestants”

  1. 1 Argent May 16, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Are there any around there at all that your parents can go to?

    The closest Catholic church to my parents’ farm is this little mission church in the Cumberlands that is so much more reverent than my own parish and it is beautiful by virtue of its simplicity (and unwreckovated state). The priest chants the mass, the music is unaccompanied, and there is much kneeling, oh, and the sense of unhurried celebration. And! there is no amplification. I don’t think the place even holds 200 people, so it’s standing room only every Sunday…this in Seventh Day Adventist country.

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