The madness of non-practicing Catholics: boycotting the feast

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 18, 2016

If you attended Mass today, you probably heard the parable of the king’s banquet. And if you read the CWN news headlines, you learned that Mass attendance has plummeted in the Pittsburgh diocese.

This is the story about the life of the Catholic Church in our day. And it isn’t just about Pittsburgh, obviously. The holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the greatest gift that God offers his people, is offered weekly—daily—throughout the Western world, and even where most people identify themselves as Catholics, the pews are mostly empty.

We tend to treat this situation as the “new normal.” We shouldn’t. It’s absurd—pathological! The guests have been invited. They know (or profess to know, when they recite the Nicene Creed on those occasions when they do make it to church) that the best of all possible feasts awaits. But they choose to stay away, opting instead for another cup of coffee, or an early start on the day’s projects. Madness!

Then [the king] said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.”

Do those instructions from the king sound like the constant calls from Pope Francis to go out to the “peripheries” and invite people into the Church? Indeed they do.

Now read the last four verses of today’s Gospel, for a full understanding of what the Pope’s exhortations entail.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Aug. 19, 2016 10:20 PM ET USA

    From the last 4 verses it is obvious that the king made no exceptions to the rules, unlike many of our shepherds. And he expected the people to know the rules. Many shepherds are not doing their job to teach the rules.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Aug. 19, 2016 7:45 AM ET USA

    Years ago I talked with a cradle Catholic with a Master's degree in theology from a Catholic college. She proudly reported her roles as educator and lay leader at church. It was evident as we talked that either our catechetical formations or our recollections differed. Detecting a Protestant influence, I asked what role, if any, the sacraments played in salvation. She explained they're simply demonstrations of our goodness and commitment to Christ. In brief our faiths were incompatible.