Saturday, March 17, 2012

So Tons of Catholics Are Leaving the Church According to Studies

A very not happy Lent post at Get Religion. See Pod people: Time for liberal Catholics to quit?

statistics produced by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have made it clear that millions of people are leaving Catholicism — roughly four people headed out the Catholic doors for every one who comes in through conversion. The bottom line: One in 10 American adults is an ex-Catholic, of one form or another. Many simply join the masses of unchurched Americans. Many head to conservative churches and a few head into liberal Protestantism. Click here to see the specifics.

Those stats should not put a damper on the fruits of the RCIA programs we are seeing these weeks but it's a reality check.

The post is interesting including the thoughts of a Catholic that is studying this problem on many angles:

In the end, it’s impossible to ignore this mass of “secular Catholics” because it’s such a large chunk of today’s church, he said. In some parts of America, various kinds of “secular Catholics” now constitute a clear majority, while those who affirm traditional dogmas and doctrines are a minority.

Some of these “secular Catholics” eventually leave the church. Others choose to remain on membership rolls, on their own terms, because they find it hard to walk away, said Beaudoin. After all, there are parts of Catholicism that they affirm and they know they can ignore the parts that they reject. They have changed the church for themselves.

From his perspective, Beaudoin said it’s important to believe that this trend is “not the result of lethargy, laziness, relativism, heresy or apostasy. … There will be Catholics who insist on saying that these secular Catholics are falling away from traditional Catholic norms. But I think it would be more helpful to talk about them not as having fallen away from the Catholic faith, but as having created new, evolving spiritual lives for themselves

How evolved that spiritual life is I submit is a big question mark.

I want to talk about those that are leaving and not going anywhere else , and those "Catholics on their own terms" folks. I am not addressing the problem of Catholics becoming devout fervent Evangelicals here.

First this has sort of been predicted right?

II Thess 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Catholics with some justification pat our self on the back about not being obsessed about the end of days like others. Well that is fine , but perhaps we ignore it too much. The fact that we are dealing with a Reformation on steroids as to many Protestant Churches teachings as to basics should maybe be a wake up call.

We should not romanticize the past.

Reading the Church Fathers and Church History brings many assets. One being there is nothing really new under the sun. Same ole heresies , same ole sins and desires, same ole corruption etc. There have been times when the Church Faithful have not been perhaps all that faithful and in significant numbers. Though I would submit we have perhaps a few new wrinkles here.

Some people will just reject Christ.

Its true many will just say no. Many of these might have said no and just stayed in the pews for a variety of reasons

People don't do community like they used too.

This problem has got worse with social media. People might have stayed in the Church while totally not buying in for a variety of reason. Those range from ethic id , social standing, employment, family, and just to have companionship. The good thing about that was at least they were in the pew so Grace might hit them over the head one day. Now they are just not showing.

We have a Lordship Problem.

As my Baptist friends would say. I know you have accepted Jesus but have you accepted him as LORD of your life as the saying goes.

The Lordship controversy was a fascinating one in evangelical circles. In many ways this sort of another version of Faith without works is dead thing. I resolved the problem by becoming Catholic. But we do have a Lordship problem and it's not just us. See Evangelicals’ Collapsing Cultural Influence . Also see Evangelicals’ Collapsing Sexual Mores

It turns out that 80 percent of unmarried evangelicals (18 to 29) are sexually active. Yes, 80 percent. For all unmarried young adults the total is 88 percent. Oh, and even as 80 percent of young unmarried evangelicals are sexually active, 76 percent of evangelicals still believe sex outside of marriage is wrong. Even worse, 65 percent of women who abort their children identify as Catholic or Protestant Christian — that’s 650,000 Christian abortions per year.

Many Catholics are a little ahead of the curb there. We have gone from having sex outside marriage ,and thinking it's wrong to now saying Jesus is not hung up on all that stuff. I can see that happening in Evangelicals circles right now. I am just using sex here as an example . But how much of this Catholics leaving , and Catholics staying on their own terms is a Lordship problem on a variety of matters. Which lead us too

"Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

I bet 9 out of 10 people when they hear this think Bill Gates ,or as OCCUPY would put it that the 1 percent. Poor souls. But in reality that RICH man is us here in the United States as we contracept ourselves to have the right number of kids so not to interfere too much with our material aspirations . This is where those materialism homilies the Priest do that we ignore. We should quit pretending that the vast majority of us are the struggling oppressed poor folks of Palestine of the 1st Century vs those RICH merchants.

I once heard this Baptist preacher make an interesting point . That Catholics and Evangelicals are more kindred spirits than most realize. That for a good bit of history we were both looked down on.

We did not have the status, did that not have power, and did not have the money. We were as they say very BLUE COLLAR and struggling. Well we have all arrived now, and the RICH MAN with all those assorted temptations are epic.

We are Biblical and Theological Idiots.

This is not just a Catholic problem. I see amazing levels of Biblical illiteracy among evangelical Christ ans that I would not have imagined a decade ago. Catholics are of course worse.

As to these new evolved Catholics mentioned above the question is how evolved is their spiritual view. What is it based on.

I find most Catholics that go against the Church's view on same sex marriage, cohabitation, sex before marriage, abortion, don't have a real Biblical world view to base it on. When I ask this question the response is often something like "Well you could not eat shell fish once and that is the Bible too!!! ". They really find this amazingly clever.

I saw this discussed the other day.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once gave a homily in which he said that women in the fourth century would discuss Christological heresies with their hairdressers. When caught in these long-haul flight situations, I have often thought that I would far prefer the topic was Christological heresies than something like: why does the Church promote natural family planning but oppose the pill? Isn't the outcome the same either way?

A fundamental problem is that such controversial issues can only be understood within a wider theological context that is as architectonic as a Gothic cathedral. But many people have no knowledge of the component parts of the "cathedral" of Catholic belief and tradition. They no longer live and work in a world where it is normal to operate from within one particular philosophical or theological tradition. Instead, they tacitly cobble together a series of "attitudes" from a variety of different and mutually inconsistent sources without ever examining their logical coherence.
When they suggest that the Church's teaching, in some area or another, is weird, I think, well, no, it's not weird if you understand trinitarian theology, the flaws in Cartesian metaphysics or the moral bankruptcy of the utilitarian world-view. To return to the cathedral metaphor, it is rather like non-Catholics are saying, what's all the fuss about a gargoyle? When caught in these exchanges, I find myself trying to defend gargoyles by reference to some infrastructural principle, which I understand would lead to the collapse of the whole cathedral if it were to be removed - but the infrastructural principle is itself unheard of, or at least very strange, to many people

This I would submit is the Catholic on his own terms that is talked about above.

Going to Communion In Sin Matters.

The scripture is pretty specific about the consequence of going to communion in a unworthy state. It brings death. You can't go sinning ,and then for years just in get the cattle call of a communion line without it having effects.

We have no time for discernment.

I often wonder how really spiritual the spiritual but not religious Catholics are. I say that because I struggle with being spiritual. Yet to listen to these folks its like they Monk on a Mountain and very tuned in. It's amazing when a Parish introduces adoration the change. Just ONE HOUR of just you and GOD and the whole Parish is a new creation it seems.

Catholic Education

Do I need to elaborate on that?

Now this all seems grim and it should be a wake up call. However I am optimistic. I am seeing signs that at least in the Catholic world we are turning it around. So that gives me hope. Also I suspect that the consequence of a lot of this "new Belief" is basically going to cause the whole blooming thing to collapse. That is the social and family structure we must have to survive and thrive. When that happens the Church will be there to pick up the pieces.


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