Out of the Frying Pan…

The Catholic Church is worried because people are leaving the church

That might be a good thing from an atheist perspective except the people are “join[ing] Pentecostal and other evangelical movements” instead.

“We shouldn’t begin by asking ourselves what is wrong with the Pentecostals, but what our own pastoral shortcomings are,” [Cardinal Walter] Kasper told the gathering, noting that such evangelical and charismatic groups count 400 million faithful around the world.

Why are people leaving the Catholic Church?

Where to begin…

Maybe people are sick of seeing the priests raping children. And then seeing the Church look the other way.

Or because the whole notion of the Pope being infallible seems archaic. Then again, so does the idea of having a Pope in general…

Or maybe because they watched a couple hours straight of EWTN. That’ll do the trick every time.

It’s not any better that the people leaving the fold are substituting one set of rituals for another. Evangelical churches often just make things worse. They’re no better when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. They’re the main reason we have such awful sex education in this country as well as so much confusion regarding evolution.

They do have better marketing skills, though. And admittedly superior sermons on the whole — sermons that make you think and question what you’re doing with your life. The potential to do good for other people and the community is there as well, if the pastors are convincing enough…

Perhaps there’s another reason this exodus is even an issue for the Catholic Church.

As submitter infideljoe writes,

Profits must be down.

It’s true. Churches are losing money. Catholic schools are losing students.

If they don’t reverse this trend, they’ll only have God on their side. And something tells me Church leaders wouldn’t be very satisfied with that…


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Richard Wade

    Out of the frying pan and into the brimstone. It’s regrettable that the flock is moving to the evangelical pastures because the Catholic north forty has been much more rational about science, evolution and such. The condom condemnation, well that’s another story.

  • Maria

    I agree with Richard, and would add the whole issue of homosexuality to the condom thing as well. Also the evangelical churches evangelize much more aggressively. Both get on my nerves for different reasons.

  • JeffN

    Heh Heh Heh ;)

  • grazatt

    I think this is a very bad thing indeed, the most tolerable forms of Christianity I have encountered is the laid back catholicism practiced by most Latin Americans. It is from this group that evangelicals are getting the most of their converts. This is very worrying to me!

  • Mriana

    Oh yes. My older son told me something about this- after a brief go ’round with my mother. He said, “Don’t worry Mother. The bad news is the Vactican has allocated millions of dollars to bring people back into the Church. The good news: Truth be told, more young people are not religious.” I said, “That’s nice. So what are they replacing it with?” He replied, “Paganism.” How did I guess and what’s the difference? He reassured me that Pagans do not believe in imposing their beliefs on others. OH Kay. We shall see.

    As long as the Church doesn’t start the Inquistion and/or killing heretics, heathens, infidels and alike again to force people to go to church, maybe it will all die out and, if nothing else, become a happy moderation.

    However, I find this and the Religious Reich very disturbing. It gives me a very bad feeling that something terribly nightmerish is going to happen. Then again, I know too many militant Evangelical Fundies too.

    I wish the count attending Fundie churches would go down just as bad if not more so. It maybe a way to strike a happy medium if it did.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    If you asked me, an ex-Catholic…

    Many people are still very unhappy about the sexual abuse scandals. Liberal Catholics are unhappy about the current pope, and have always been unhappy about the whole birth control thing. Conservative Catholics, I think, have been perpetually unhappy since Vatican II.

    And in my experience, the sermons (called homilies) aren’t better by any measure. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an entire homily, because my selective hearing (I can’t hear boring stuff) kicks in after a few words. The echo chamber of a church didn’t help.

  • Jen

    My grandma was Catholic, but she got mad that when my grandfather was in the long, terrible process of dying, the priests at her church never came to visit him. The hospital he was staying in was a mile from the church they went to for 45 years, from their wedding on. And never once did they visit my grandfather.

    I think the issues people my age mention, including my Catholic friends, includes the exclusion of women from the church leadership, the birth control thing, especially in third-world countries, the molestation problem (not even that it happens, because it happens with non-Catholics as well, but that the giant powerful church is trying to hide it and ignore it*), and the current Pope, who is so conservative. With the Pope, they will often point to how liberal JPII was, but if you ask me, he was still a homophobic jerk.

    *Interestingly, my female Catholic friend recently told me she has to take a class to run the teen group. The entire point of the class is “don’t touch the children”. The only real lesson is “don’t ever be alone with a child”.

  • Maria

    If you asked me, an ex-Catholic…

    Many people are still very unhappy about the sexual abuse scandals. Liberal Catholics are unhappy about the current pope, and have always been unhappy about the whole birth control thing. Conservative Catholics, I think, have been perpetually unhappy since Vatican II.

    And in my experience, the sermons (called homilies) aren’t better by any measure. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an entire homily, because my selective hearing (I can’t hear boring stuff) kicks in after a few words. The echo chamber of a church didn’t help.

    well put. that pretty much sums it up for me too

  • Darryl

    Points to consider:

    1. The Catholics will try to reform their practices to get their sheep back, and in so doing become more secular like the accommodating evangelicals.

    2. These crossover believers will be joining a movement whose radical wing has overplayed its hand here in the U.S. and whose moderate wing is increasingly moderating.

    3. Reducing the number of Catholics and increasing the number of Evangelicals makes Belief-dom more diverse, and diversity leads to increased competition and cooperation, both of which lead to further moderation.

    Atheists should welcome this trend.

  • Jean

    Even ignoring the massive cover-up the Catholic Church has committed to protect and perpetuate priest rapists-of-children, the very hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church makes the Vatican ultimately culpable for the crimes of its leadership all the way down to the local parish priest. But let us not forget that sex-abuse is rife in Protestant Christianity as well (for example, check out Mike Echols’ book, Brother Tony’s Boys: The Largest Case of Child Prostitution in U.S. History, the True Story: “For over 25 years, charismatic Pentecostal evangelist Brother Tony Leyva used Christianity, the Bible, and his status as an “anointed prophet of God” to gain access to, seduce, and sexually assault the young sons of his enthralled followers in 23 states.” Perhaps less known in the West is how founder of Islam Muhammad at the age of 52 married the virgin girl Aisha at the age of 6, and consummated the marriage in sexual intercourse with her at the age of 9, the Quranic approval and sanctioning of marrying and even divorcing girls before they have even had the first menstrual period (Quran 65:4), the legal practice of marrying child-brides in various Islamic countries (e.g., Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc; Article 1041 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran), the widespread Islamic institutional practice of men having sex with boys (sometimes called ghilman), and the legacy of horrible psychological, physical and sexual abuse specificallly endorsed by Islamic Law and Tradition (“Beat your wives” Quran 4:34); See http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/childbrides.htm


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