Why they leave: former Catholics explain — UPDATED

This story first broke in the New Jersey press last week, but is now getting more attention.  The report below is in this morning’s USA TODAY: As part of a survey to understand why they have stopped attending Mass, a few hundred Catholics were asked what issues they would raise if they could speak to [Read More...]

People, look East: “The shape of the church worldwide now depends more on India than on Ireland”

From Fr. Raymond de Souza: On Monday night, I was honoured to host the senior Catholic prelate from India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, in Mississauga, Ont. On Tuesday morning, a new archbishop — Christian Lépine — was announced for Montreal. In the 21st century, what will be more important for global Christianity — Mumbai and Mississauga, [Read More...]

What’s in your wallet? How about a Catholic ID card?

Catholics in England and Wales could soon have the credit-card sized document above in their wallets. Details: A card communicating that its carrier is a baptised Catholic will be distributed nationally on behalf of the bishops of England and Wales. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is distributing one million cards to 24 dioceses [Read More...]

Boom: the astonishing growth of the Catholic Church in Texas

Who else but Rocco could put it all together? Take a look: Catholics — their presence increased nearly 60 percent since 1990 — have eclipsed Evangelicals to become the state’s largest religious group. In a matter of years, three of its dioceses have erupted to comprise more than a million members, each reflecting five-or-sixfold expansions [Read More...]

Saved: Vatican reverses Cleveland decision on closing of 13 parishes

It’s a rare reversal — and one that should give other parishes around the country cause for hope. Details: In an extraordinary move, the Vatican has reversed Bishop Richard Lennon’s closings of 13 churches in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, saying the parishes must be restored and the sanctuaries reopened for worship, according to activists [Read More...]

“The dominant Catholic narrative of our time is not decline, but astronomic growth”

John Allen  is offering this week “three myths about the Church to give up for Lent,” and this one hit home for me: The popular take on Catholicism these days tends to be that it’s a church in crisis. Rocked by sex scandals, bruising political fights and financial shortfalls, it seems to be hemorrhaging members [Read More...]

After the tornado: “We were spared with a purpose by God…”

A great story of charity and hope, from storm-ravaged Indiana: From the moment a tornado tore through its community, the damaged but still-standing St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church became a crisis hub where emergency workers could dispense food, water and information. But for a brief hour Sunday morning, the church resumed its mission as a [Read More...]

The “alternate universe” of Wisconsin’s Holy Wisdom Monastery

This group of disaffected Catholics got a big spread in the Wisconsin State Journal last Sunday: Alice Jenson’s faith took an irreversible turn six years ago. It was Nov. 5, 2006, and she was contributing to Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Madison as a lay person, reading Bible passages from the lectern. The [Read More...]

“Pizzas de Cuaresma”: Texas chain offers special pizzas for Lent

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post about Wendy’s suddenly ubiquitous fish sandwich comes this story about a Dallas pizza chain offering vegetarian pizzas as a way to battle what has become an annual Lenten slump in sales: The folks at Pizzeria Patron have nothing against Catholicism, really, but every year, starting after Ash Wednesday [Read More...]

For crying out loud: a pastor’s message to parents

I wrote about this issue last summer.  And I noticed today that a Queens pastor I know has taken the bull by the horns (or the baby by the diaper) and posted this on his parish’s Facebook page: One of the things we try hard here is to create a welcoming and child friendly atmosphere [Read More...]