Here in the Bible Belt we have a steady flow of converts from the various Protestant denominations. They have various difficulties in adapting to the Catholic Church and one of their grumbles is “Where’s the fellowship?”
I feel their pain. The fellowship, camaraderie, esprits de corps etc in the Protestant churches is usually strong and one of their attractive qualities. When they come to Catholic Mass it often seems big, unfriendly and unwelcoming. Why is this? Are Catholics really unfriendly and unwelcoming? I think the problem has several root causes.
Firstly, it is a mistake to think that the thousands of Protestant churches are divided primarily along shared theological opinions or liturgical preferences. Instead there is a strong socio-economic dimension to the Protestant denominations. It is a big generalization, but you can discern a socio-economic stratification that might run something like this: Pentecostalist-Asssembly of God–Independent Baptist tend to be more working class. Southern Baptist, Methodist and Big Box Church are lower middle and Middle class. Presbyterians and Lutherans solidly Middle to Upper Middle Class, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Anglicans Upper Middle and Upper Class. Then when you add in the ethnic element you find the black churches, hispanic churches, Korean, Vietnamese etc.