Religion in USA

Here’s more on that recent survey of religion in America:

“The Roman Catholic Church has lost more members than any faith tradition because of affiliation swapping, the survey found. While nearly one in three Americans were raised Catholic, fewer than one in four say they’re Catholic today. That means roughly 10 percent of all Americans are ex-Catholics.

The share of the population that identifies as Catholic, however, has remained fairly stable in recent decades thanks to an influx of immigrant Catholics, mostly from Latin America. Nearly half of all Catholics under 30 are Hispanic, the survey found.”

The problem with any sort of analysis based on social trends, is that as soon as you come up with one reason for the decline, the reverse might also be true: So, “It’s clear that the trendy, feel good, sentimental religion of the ‘spirit of Vatican 2’ hippies hasn’t worked…look how many have left.” But the riposte is, “Yes, but think how many more would have left if V2 had never happened…”

I reckon we ought to stop adjusting ourselves to the Spirit of the Age and be more like the Eastern Orthodox. They just do what they always did, and if the numbers go down or up, well, “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead…” The Church never was supposed to be of this world anyway.

I like the story of the old Russian Orthodox priest visited by a communist party member. The church was falling down, snow leaking in the roof, no heating and only five old ladies huddled together for the Divine Liturgy. “Look at you!” laughed the communist. “Your faith is just about dead. All you have is a leaky roof and old ladies, and what will you do when they die?”

The priest replied, “Then there will be more old ladies.”

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  • I’d say the best response is less concern with numbers and more concern, from both clergy and laity, with doing the job we’ve been given. Being living witnesses to the truth, for example.

  • Fr.I reckon we ought to stop adjusting ourselves to the Spirit of the Age…I think we Protestants should learn that lesson, as well. Argh!Good post! And well said, Jeffrey!BJStupid Scholar

  • PMG

    “…Yes, but think how many more would have left if V2 had never happened…”I was watching The Coming Home show on EWTN, and they were interviewing the “Donut” man, who does Catholic kid shows.He was a convert, and he said something that made me think. I agree with him that, if there was no Vatican II, I don’t think I could have made the leap to Catholicisim from Protestantisim. The non-vernacular I fear would have been too much of a quantum leap. Too much like an alien planet. Of course, if the Holy Spirit willed it it would have happened, but I think there would have been larger obstacles to breach.

  • blarg

    This is the saddest reality to me. My uncle was a farmer in Western Massachusetts. He and his fellow believers dug deep into their pockets to build the beautiful churches in my town. Now only a generation and a half later these buildings must be sold and torn down because their children no longer wish to attend or understand the importance of mass.My uncle prepared Kosher meat for the local Jewish community. It is a long and prayerful ordeal requiring single mindedness. If someone disturbed my uncle during these prayers, he felt obligated to say them again. My great aunts are secular Franciscans who decided early in life to live in chaste celibacy though they are not nuns. One cooks and the other is a local oil painter. When I came on the scene, my parents took me to CCD where I learned apathy from the cultural trend of lapsed Catholics: those who thought they had fire insurance without doing anything. My mother was one of them and I took after her. Unfortunately, when you don’t read scripture or pray, you starve and fill your life with all kinds of illegitimate pleasures while holding onto the idea your still saved. My mother hasn’t attended mass or confession in decades, yet believes she has no sin.Now, faith means something to me and I spend quite time trying to understand what the hell happened. I am angry at witless priests and cowardly bishops. People who cannot say, no your wrong. I am sorry for people’s pain, but I hope this culture drinks deeply from the cup of wrath they prepared for themselves. I hope they choke on it, perhaps then they will turn from it.

  • blarg, your words are not harsh…read the OT prophets and man, do we have it coming…yikes. We are the church in Laodicea (Book of Revation). Very self satisfied and utterly untransformed. Materially everything looks just peachy but we are spiritually poor. I’m with ya.