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.”