March 2010 Evangelization Exchange – Activity

Activity Handout: Assessing Our Attitudes Toward Inactive Catholics

by John J. Boucher


Marge and Ralph, a Catholic married couple, called my office late one Friday Fallenafternoon. “There is going to be a crucial meeting tonight of leaders in our parish to discuss ‘the inactive Catholic problem’!” Ralph exclaimed. Marge continued, “Numbers at Sunday Mass and parish activities are steadily declining. Financial support is in a downward spiral. We want to do a survey of missing Catholics. What are the best questions to ask back-sliding,lapsed, fallen-away, and apathetic Catholics so that we can get them back?” (emphasis mine) My first response was to congratulate them for their willingness to reach out to our inactive brothers and sisters. Yet, their words and tone in describing inactive Catholics made me pause. My next suggestion shook them up a bit, “Maybe the first questions to consider are not ones you would ask inactive Catholics. Perhaps you might start by asking yourselves, ‘How do we feel about inactive Catholics? What are our assumptions about them?’”

Download handout to examine your attitudes about inactive Catholics.

John J. Boucher is the Director of Parish Life and Evangelization Ministry for the Diocese of Trenton and a regular contributor to Evangelization Exchange.