16 Faithful Catholics Speak Out: Here’s What’s Missing from The Catholic Church

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

Choosing the right religion, denomination, or particular church for you involves more than simply looking at the church’s official doctrine. (Though that is important!) 

Every church has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and you may find yourself having to give up the perks of attending one church when you decide to attend another.

Recently, on a popular social platform, someone asked, “What is something you like from non-Catholic denominations?”

And while these Catholics aren’t leaving the Church any time soon, they were quick to admit: There are several things Protestant churches just do better than their Catholic counterparts.

 

1. They Wish Catholics Taught the Bible More

Why You Need to Read the Whole Bible If You’re a Christian
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While it’s a myth that Catholics don’t read their Bible at all (they do), it’s no secret that they typically don’t do nearly as much personal Bible reading, study, or memorization as their Protestant counterparts.

While Mass does include three Scripture readings and a homily that may or may not be somewhat related to one of the day’s readings, many Protestant church pastors are far more intentional about going through the Bible verses by verse and studying it’s teachings more in-depth.

One person said,

“I think we could learn how to teach children the Bible better from our Protestant brothers and sisters.”

One person said,

“My mother was a Protestant and converted and she was the first Catholic in her family of 3 generations. When she started going to Catholic Bible study and church, she was shocked to find out how much better she knew the Bible than others and would sometimes even teach the priest new things.”

 

2. They Wish Catholic Churches Were Friendlier

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For those used to attending Protestant churches, the people at Catholic churches can seem downright unfriendly.

It’s not that people are mean or rude… Rather, Catholic churches are far less likely to have parking crews, welcoming committees, active small groups, potlucks, midweek services, and all the other extracurricular activities that help attendees feel more welcome and connected.

Instead, it’s common for Catholics to show up at the last minute (or late), then walk right out the door afterwards, without a big emphasis on getting to know other churchgoers.

One person said,

“Catholics are really, really bad about creating community. We’ve been a part of multiple parishes. Every one of them struggled to disseminate information about groups, Bible studies (if they even have them), and what was going on. You could show up, attend Mass, and leave, and not one person would have said hello if you didn’t reach out.”

Another person added,

“Honestly this is how most parishes are in my experience. Sure some are smaller and tight knit but unless you are friends with one of the priests, deacons, or friends with someone in the parish office there’s no parish-wide concern for individuals.

That being said, this would also be the case at larger Protestant churches. The difference at hand is most Catholics don’t do ‘extracurriculars.’ I’ve joined a couple of different groups eg young adults, through the parishes I’ve been at, and they inevitably fizzle out before the end of the year and their relaunch.”

 

3. They Wish They Had Sunday School

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Many Protestant churches offer Sunday School classes both for children and adults. These classes are a fantastic way for both children and adults to meet other people their same age while studying and discussing the Bible or biblical concepts.

Some churches have their children go to Sunday School (also called “Children’s Church”) during the service, while others have a separate time before or after the traditional service so everyone can go without missing out.

While many Catholics think it’s weird that the Protestants don’t keep their kids with them at church, many Protestants can’t imagine their children missing out on this fun and age-appropriate Christian education with their friends.

One person said,

“Sunday school services in a lot of Protestant denominations is great.”

 

4. They Wish They Had Better Sermons

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In Catholic churches, the priest is typically limited to a homily (message) no more than 10 minute in length. While it often relates to one of the day’s Scripture readings, it doesn’t have to. Homilies are typically short words of encouragement not particularly focused on teaching.

By contrast, many Protestant pastors will either teach through the Bible in order, focusing on really explaining what each passage means, or they’ll prach a Bible-based topical series that focuses on how Christians can understand and apply the Bible’s teachings today.

Of course, you’ll find good and bad pastors in every denomination, but Protestant sermons typically go far deeper.

One person said,

“I really miss the easy to follow three-point sermon of my evangelical days. They could torturously long, but they were still easier to follow than most Catholic homilies I listen to.”

Another person agreed,

“I’ve had this idea for a while that priests should be giving homilies in the form of the 5-paragraph essay.

For example:  ‘Parishioners, here’s what I want to talk about, and here are my three points.’

Everyone I brought this up to says, ‘Nah, that’s not a good idea, because what’s important is how the homily made you feel.’

Well I feel like a terrible Catholic because I never remember what the priest said afterwards.”

 

5. They Wish Catholics Had Better Bible Studies

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While Catholics typically hear the Bible read to them within the church service (Mass), Protestants place a far greater emphasis on individual and group Bible study outside of the church service.

As a result, it’s very common for Protestants to know their Bibles better than their Catholic counterparts do.

One person shared,

“Protestant Bible study is next level. My friend is non-denominational and leads one of the weekly Bible studies at his church. He usually has 40-50 people there every week to study the Bible, many of whom are cradle Catholics who are desperate to learn more about the Bible.”

Another agreed,

“One parish I go to has a young men’s group but it’s so insanely boring (heavy and niche theological “discussions” where one guy inevitably just tries to show off what he knows) so I largely stopped going. I think more accessible topics would go much further, as well as things that are actually useful.”

 

6. They Wish Catholics Had Better Bibles

Why You Need to Read the Whole Bible If You’re a Christian
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It isn’t only the Bible study opportunities that are better, either.

Because Protestants place a greater emphasis on individual study, it’s far, far easier to find helpful Bible studies in Protestant translations.

Catholic study Bibles certainly do exist, but they aren’t as plentiful.

One person shared,

“Protestants have a lot of really pretty Bibles that come in different font sizes, bindings, Bible sizes, etc.”

 

7. They Wish Catholic Churches Had Better Music

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Catholic Mass typically includes a handful of hymns, many of which are repeated often as they’re chosen by theme.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with hymns (they’re great!), the dry Catholic singing is rarely as moving as the music you might hear at other churches — particularly larger churches with talented praise and worship teams (some of whom write their own music).

One person said,

“Black Gospel music, which is mostly Protestant. It’s just so dang catchy and it gets you moving.”

 

8. They Wish Catholics Had More Passion and Excitement

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Similarly, while many people love and appreciate the quiet reverence and repetition of Catholic Mass as it feels familiar and comfortable, those who are more used to Protestant worship styles can find Catholics’ subdued nature to be a bit boring or lacking in zeal.

One person shared,

“The passion of non-denominational/evangelical believers. Some non-denominational Christians are some of the most pious and passionate believers in Christ I know. “

Another shared,

“I love the way many Protestants are so devoted to their personal relationship with Jesus and Bible reading and are just on fire.”

A third agreed,

“Their enthusiasm and the fact they’re so proud of declaring they’re Christians. I sometimes feel a little ashamed to say I don’t declare it or say it out loud that I’m Catholic enough.”

 

9. They Wish the Catholic Church Had a Greater Focus on Evangelization

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One subtle and often overlooked difference between Catholic and Protestant churches is that Catholics often see family as the primary way the faith is passed down from generation to generation, while Protestants often have a greater focus on outreach and evangelization.

(This also helps explain why Catholics tend to prioritize having larger families, while Protestant churches are much more welcoming and accommodating of newcomers.)

One person shared,

“Protestants focus a lot on evangelism. We need to do that more. I know we do a lot of serving the poor but not as much evangelizing them.”

 

10. They Wish the Catholic Church Offered More Service Opportunities

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Similarly, while the Catholic church does do a lot of great missions and service work as a whole, it’s far less common for individual parishes to organize church-wise community service events for their churchgoers to participate in.

Often, when help is given, it’s quietly and behind the scenes, rather than by rallying around a specific cause.

One person shared,

“Community service. I attended Catholic elementary and high school, and volunteering was a major part of our curriculum. But now, as an adult, we as a parish don’t have any outreach opportunities. The only work days are ones that benefit us (remodeling the rectory, decorating for Christmas party, etc). Would love to see us evangelize through service as a church. My husband’s Protestant church always has weekend community clean up days, children’s shelter toy drives, foster care closets, etc.”

 

Not Just an Obligation: 14 Catholic Christians Share What They Love About Mass

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For years, the latest statistics have told a sad story: People are leaving the church in droves.

Nearly 19% of Americans reported giving up their childhood religious identity to become religiously unaffiliated (Atheist, Agnostic, or Nothing in Particular) as adults. By comparison, only 3% of Americans who grew up religiously unaffiliated later joined a religion.

Not everyone is leaving, however. Many Catholics attend Mass regularly because they genuinely love to be there.

Not Just an Obligation: 14 Catholic Christians Share What They Love About Mass

 

From Pulpit to Platform: Meet 10 Massive Megachurches that Inspire Millions

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to worship inside one of the country’s largest megachurches?

Whether you’re looking for sermons to convict and inspire, worship music to usher you into God’s presence, opportunities to make a difference in your local community or programs for the whole family to get connected in the community, these churches have it all.

With charismatic preachers, talented worship teams, and friendly staff, it’s not difficult to see how these churches grew to the impressive size they are today.

From Pulpit to Platform: Meet 10 Massive Megachurches that Inspire Millions

 

 

 

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Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author and founder of Equipping Godly Women and Monetize My Ministry. She’s also a Christian speaker, podcaster, and conference host. Her work has been featured on numerous TV, radio, and online ministries, including CBN, MSN, Christianity Today, Evangelical Alliance, Patheos, Crosswalk, and more.

Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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