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Hollow Catholicism

By Daniel Francis

I have spoken to many individuals from my generation. There is a growing number that cannot see themselves integrating into church life for one main reason: they cannot stand the fakeness of some of the congregation members. Now, no church is perfect. There will always be members who engage in actions like gossip and judgemental behaviour that discourage new persons from wanting to join the congregation.

However, I looked deeper into the issue, and I have theorised that it is all due to an issue that I term ‘Hollow Catholicism’.

What is a ‘Hollow Catholic’ you may be asking? I consider a Hollow Catholic a person who on the surface looks to be that model picture of admirable Catholic behaviour.

They are in church every Sunday, they encourage others to follow the core beliefs and they tend to be actively involved in their parish in some form. The main issue with these individuals is that their charismatic disposition does not extend outside of religious settings.

These are the individuals who rejoice at the gospel scriptures speaking of equality, fairness, and helping your fellowman. Yet, when it’s time to extend those same beliefs to their employees, they will pay them a low wage, have them do the job of three persons, and refuse them access to benefits. All in the name of increasing their profits.

These are the individuals who will accept the readings on love your fellowman, but harbour hate in their hearts for a particular race or class of people. They then load that hate and prejudice into the metaphorical barrel and shoot negative actions toward these individuals.

These are the individuals who love the idea of honesty but offer the bare minimum effort at work and have the perfect lie to feed to their superiors knowing full well they are taking advantage of their station.

I won’t pretend to be holier than anyone else. I, Daniel Francis, am a Hollow Catholic in many respects.

There are many accounts where I have ignored the very principles of my religious teachings and acted against them in my day-to-day activities. The lines between my religious beliefs and my business activities are challenged weekly. For example, I am an event planner (among many other things) and I have on many occasions set aside my Catholic values when I know I should include them in my thoughts and work.

We are all guilty of being Hollow Catholics in some shape, form, or fashion. So, what do we do about this?

Firstly, we must acknowledge that we cannot accept the teachings and values of Catholicism only in religious settings. We cannot allow all these values to be thrown out the window in everyday life. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).

Secondly, in all that you do, ask yourself if your actions are of God. We tend to compartmentalise the different sides of ourselves. There is the employee, the business owner, the parent, the friend, etc. When we place ourselves in these different compartments, we sell ourselves on the false idea that at our cores we can be fundamentally different people in these different settings. That cannot stand when it comes to your religious beliefs.

It is on each one of us to live the Catholic life, not only in the church but every day of our lives. Easier said than done, right?

But with any action, as you approach it with more intentionality, you will find that over time it becomes a part of you. So much so that you will arrive at a point where you will not need to think about it, it simply comes naturally.


Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential. He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.

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