Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Latin American Catholics Join Evangelical Churches

Pope examines why Latin American Catholics join evangelical churches

Catholic News Agency reported on Jun 22, 2012:

Pope Benedict believes that Catholics who convert to evangelical Christianity often do so because they experience a lack of fervor, joy and community within Catholic parishes – rather than for doctrinal reasons.

“Often sincere people who leave our Church do not do so as a result of what non-Catholic groups believe, but fundamentally as a result of their own lived experience; for reasons not of doctrine but of life; not for strictly dogmatic, but for pastoral reasons; not due to theological problems, but to methodological problems of our Church,”he told a delegation of Colombian bishops at the Vatican June 21.

The Pope’s comments were specifically focused on Latin America, where“the increasingly active presence of Pentecostal and Evangelical communities … cannot be ignored or underestimated.”

Despite statistics indicating that more than 90 percent of Colombians still identify themselves as Catholics, in recent decades the rate of conversions to evangelical Protestantism has increased across Latin America, particularly in poor urban neighborhoods.

Such a trend, the Pope said, suggests that increasing numbers of Christians feel called “to purification and the revitalization of their faith.”

In response to this, he urged Catholics to become “better believers, more pious, affable and welcoming in our parishes and communities, so that no-one feels distant or excluded.” The Pope also offered some practical advice, calling for better catechesis – particularly to the young – carefully prepared homilies during Mass and the promotion of Catholic doctrine in schools and universities.

If Catholics strive to follow this path, the Pope said, it will help awaken in them “the aspiration to share with others the joy of following Christ and become members of His mystical body.”

Similarly important, he said, is social solidarity with those who suffer most due to poverty or violence. A 2009 survey by polling company Gallup found that nearly 1 in 5 Colombians has had a close friend or relative murdered in past 12 months.

The Pope called for increased help for those people “whose fundamental rights are trampled underfoot and are forced to abandon home and family under the threat of terror and criminality,” as well as“those who have fallen into the barbarous networks of drugs or arms dealing.”

Such“generous and fraternal” help, he said, is not born of “any human calculation” but from “love for God and neighbor: the source from which the Church draws the strength she needs to carry out her task.”

Source: Catholic News Agency

Here are some of the comments posted:

The pope is right. As a former Evangelical, I know firsthand why Catholics leave in droves to the Protestant churches. Walk into an Evangelical church at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and you will see people singing praises to God, hands raised and tears in their eyes. The music and the preaching are dynamic and inspiring. Walk into a typical Catholic church at the same time and you are likely to see a bunch of sour-faced parishioners repeatedly glancing at their watches while the priest delivers a homily that took him five minutes to prepare. Although we have the Eucharist and the fulness of truth, our Evangelical brethren possess something that we lack: life in the spirit.


Oh my this is not true from what i have personally seen. I am a Catholic who left the church and came back 12 years later near one of the largest evangelical churches in Canada and i left because of Doctrine and although i did not know it at the time i was being evangelized out of the Catholic church by people who were teaching me that i had to be "saved " and " born again". With a non practicing family and fear of being excommunicated if i was found out to have attended another church and in light of the very anti catholic stuff i was now learnin,I left so that i could gain heaven and God's approval. I am not alone. I know entire families at least three that i can think of off the top of my memory who left in order to be "saved" and now truly need to be saved from their error. Most of my many friends in the evangelical church are Catholics who have left. I have just by God's mercy, after the damage (and much of it) from the evangelical churches, came home to a more safe Catholic Church. The Pope needs to know that evangelicals are heavyily into "witnessing" to others and evangelising them who are already Catholic to save us. They think they are doing good. They are sheep stealing. Yes the youth find a sort of culture and more connection than they do here. I can relate i am horribly lonely after coming back finding very little to help me as i came back. The people run out of the church right after the mass here. It is not easy to make friendships here. But that is not what draws them out It is the evangelicals familiarity with scripture and our lack of it. They know their dctine we don't and as such we are a target. There are so many groups here that steal Catholic sheep. I could go through half of my facebook friends and tell you that they are stolen Catholic sheep for lack of a better word.

God help us, help them and help us help them come home too.


Catholic doctrine and dogma in the Homilies serves to cement our faith and understanding in what the Church teaches about our Faith as Catholics ... In contrast: Homilies presenting God's Message from the Word of Scripture speaks to the Soul of the Believer; and it is this which the Holy Spirit uses to call God's Children closer to Him. "Jesus is the Word of God", and it is only true Jesus that we can come to God the Father.


This is what Fr. Robert Barron says about why Catholics leave the Church:

Related post:

Why Catholics The Church

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