I also don't like that the majority of the emoticons are gone. I will agree that there were some that seems unnecessary, but the selection that's left is just too limited.
Also, building on my earlier comment that was reposted into this thread for Forum Issues ONLY, there is a great deal that is visible and accessible to someone who has not signed in. That is very different from before (not sure if this is a glitch or something you are trying out). I can reply to topics in the stream without being signed in. I can see photos of forum posters without being signed in (used to only see the male/female icon with the person's name, age and town). If I can do all of that, what is the point of paying for a membership?
Also, an open access forum may not be the best idea if you are trying to maintain this as a Catholic site ... all you have to do is look at some of the offensive stuff that gets posted in Youtube comments ... If you are looking to provide potential members with a sense of what this site is about, that's all fine and good, but membership has to have a point, otherwise people won't pay and won't sign up. Paying members may also have some privacy concerns with so much being available to non-members.