Click on the title to view a story from The Times on an Anglican priest who converted to Rome, only to find himself so lonely that he soon returned home to Anglicanism. The story highlights the lack of community life in Catholic parishes in the UK.
Now, I tread tentatively here, because lack of a sense of community can be a feature of congregational life in any denomination, but it does make me wonder if this is a feature of Roman Catholic culture, at least in Anglophone countries. The reason I say this is that when I began regular worship about 18 years ago it was largely in order to accompany my wife, who was then RC, to Mass. This I did for a couple of years in several parishes and experienced the same lack of community in each one that is highlighted in the story. I don't mean to be unkind here, but I did get the impression that the goal of worshippers was to tick the "Mass attendance" box, thus avoiding the mortal sin of not attending Sunday worship, in the way which demanded the least effort whatsoever; so it was off to the typically half-hour Mass with the 4minute homily and out the door as quickly as possible.
Compared to this, the Anglican and Lutheran congregational life which we experienced after I started seeking a more permanent spiritual home seemed a veritable feast of worship and community experiences. I'm afraid the only thing I learned from this exposure to Catholic congregational life was how not to do church!
Apologies if this seems like Catholic-bashing - I don't intend it to be such, just an honest reflection from an outsider's perspective.
OK, I just can't resist including the following: