[Opinion] A Lay Person’s Take on Msgr. Barr’s Article on “Catholics not Coming Back to Church”

[Opinion] A Lay Person’s Take on Msgr. Barr’s Article on “Catholics not Coming Back to Church”

I saw the brilliant write up by Fr. JP Tindana but I had to pause after reading a few lines to read the entire original article by Msgr. Barr.

On a personal level, there are a few hyperboles and old-fashioned views in Msgr. Eric Barr’s article that I disagree with but 95% of his message is very simple and spot on.

The Catholic Church has operated like that for so long and we have lost so many people. How many times haven’t you been made to feel that “We have the people, they will come by themselves, there is no need to go out looking for them, and Catholics know that Mass is important for them”. We must go out and look for our members and bring them back to the church before laziness or something else snatches them away.

In an era where money and time is scarce people have a lot of excuses. Moreover, the virus has given the opportunity to some pastors to frighten people with end time sermons to draw them to their fold.

Catholics and other orthodox churches are always vulnerable in this regard. Msgr. Barr has been Pastor, Principal, Teacher, College Professor, Vicar for Clergy, Chancellor, and Vicar General and has over 35 years’ experience as a Priest. He has been an award-winning writer and teacher in several diocese of the US and knows his terrain very well.

It is not a secret that majority of Catholics in America and Europe and even to some extent Ghana always look for reasons not to go to church. Even my sister and my mother have refused to go to church since the lockdown was lifted. See here (https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/catholic-parishioners-blessed-with-holy-water-on-belfast-doorsteps-39248060.html).

These are priests that are going out after their flock even during the lockdown to make sure they come back after lockdown and how many priests have been doing this even after the lockdown in Ghana. Even if they will do it, most of them will only go to the significant members who will come to church in any case.

And I say without fear of contradiction that even for some priests, the virus is a good excuse not to perform their priestly duties how much more ordinary parishioners.

I agree with Fr. Anthonio Mawuli Ahiabor. Let us not pretend everything is alright. For many years, the Catholic Church pretended TV and Radio broadcast was nothing useful and even labelled a lot of those pastors using them including Pastor Otabil as self-seeking, but when the virus descended, we have seen how important it is (I disagree with Msgr. Barr on this). For 11 years, I have been attending almost every Mass online because there is no church nearby or to avoid harassment.

It will take extra motivation for me to stop watching Mass on TV when I am at home especially when I think I can save sometime or avoid been late for early morning Mass.


Source: Dr. Henry Asante Antwi, Centre for Health and Public Policy Research, Jiangsu University, P.R.C


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