Traditional Parish Communities and Jehovah’s Witnesses

Why are the Jehovah’s Witnesses doing so well at recruiting people?  I believe it is because people are sitting in their houses alone in front of TV and someone comes and patiently talks to them about the condition of the world and that there is a group of spiritual people who have the answers.  They then continue to drop by and open the Bible to share a little and kindly invite these people to their meetings.

Charles Russel founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1879.  He continuously told about the second coming of Jesus because he came out of the adventist movement.  They have never been correct, but people keep joining them anyway.  They teach that only 144,000 people will go to heaven and there is no such thing as hell.

Why as a traditional catholic am I writing this?  First we need to study all the facts, (and with google that is so easy to do), about all the different religions, so we can convert them.  Then we need to see what is it that attract people to the cults and false religions.

The catholic christian church has 1 billion members.  We were the largest religion in the world until the Muslims overtook us.  With all christians there are 2 billion members.  In this massive catholic church, our parishioners are isolated in a sense.  Many believe the catholic teaching that they need to go to mass every sunday or it is a mortal sin.  So they go and then go home.  They do not necessarily get involved or get to know other catholics who may not be a friend of theirs.  Many others help out in the parishes as catechism teachers, helping the poor with St. Vincent de Paul, lectors, extraordinary Eucharistic ministers and in the choir.  A few go to Bible study or other groups such as the Legion of Mary.  But all and all, the majority come and go as if it were a weekly routine.  And many then feel no connection with others.  They feel a connection with the priest and with God in the mass.  But there is not a lot of the experience of a loving community.

This is where these visits of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons come in .  They are personal contacts and small groups studying and discussing the Bible.  They feel passion for what they believe in and show it by their discipline to go out and convert others.  They have a very simplified clear “truth” to give to people who have never really studied their catholic faith.   Their information is directed at what will help them in their daily lives.  And above all they give their time to these people in small communities where everyone knows each other.  

As a priest, I always tried to form community in the parish.  I believe in sacred and solemn masses.  But I believe out side church and in the hall we need to reach out and love one another.  I would have potlucks for what ever occasion you could think of to get the Spanish speaking Mexicans together with the English speaking parishioners.  We would have processions and retreats.  I would lead a women’s and men’s Bible study.  But still it was hard to bring people together in a loving community.

In the Latin Mass community I notice that there is more community.   You might ask why? First I would say that we all have passion about our belief in the historical tradition of the Holy Tridentine Mass.  We see things clearly as taught by the catholic church.  There is sin.  There is hell.  There is a devil.  There is heaven.  Jesus is truly in the host.  The Bible is to be believed in.  We believe in the lives of the saints.  We love Mary as our mother and helper.  We believe in praying the rosary.  To put is simply we trust the 1980 years of catholic teaching.  Many of these beliefs we hold with passion are similar to those that are held by the fundamentalist and Jehovah’s Witnesses (of course not our love of Mary or the Holy Mass or the saints).  

So if there were more traditional catholics, we would see less people leaving the Holy Catholic Church and more entering into it.   We need to continue reaching out in love to one an other and get together.  We need to stay passionate over our faith.  We need to sacrifice our time to study the Bible and church teaching together.  We are a small group, that helps a lot.  If you love being a traditional catholic, go and share it.