Catholics see the writing on the wall and it scares them to death, and like a frightened animal corned by it’s hunter, it is lashing out.
This week Pew Research poll showed Catholics losing 3 million followers since 2007 and dropping into third place, behind the non-religious, of US religious demographics. While losing 3 million followers and still having 51 million may not seem like a big deal, when you compare it to the rate in which they are leaving to other religious demographics, Catholics should be worried.
And instead of self-reflection upon what could be causing a mass-exodus from their churches, such as bigotry towards homosexuals, anti-condom campaigns that are killing millions of people in Africa, from running the world’s largest child sex ring and then spending all their time covering it up.
No, instead they are blaming everyone else. One fellow Patheos blogger even went as far to blame parents who get divorced for the exodus. Greg Popcak writes that children from divorced homes cannot get answers on spirituality answered by their parents because they “can’t trust their parents or their infrequently visited and divergent church communities [he says earlier children of divorce don’t go to church enough] to help them make sense of their lives.”
Blaming divorced parents for people leaving religion? This could be the dictionary definition of ignorance. I’d say I was shocked that Catholics would shame divorced parents and stack on the guilt of thinking they may be to blame for their non-religious children, but guilt and shame are the two biggest tenants of the Catholic faith.
He goes on to cite, well, nothing, but quotes others who agree with him on the subject suggesting that children of divorced parents lack the tools and trust to handle such complicated questions.
“Children of divorce come to believe that they are the only ones who are qualified to find meaning, purpose and direction in their lives and they come to distrust any external source that wants to help them in this role (i.e., churches),” Popcak writes.
Well, actually we are the only who can find meaning and purpose in our lives. No one can tell us what these are, to believe otherwise is to believe your life is meaningless without a dictator giving you specific directions. I would much rather a child grow up figuring out their own life, finding their own meaning and discovering the amazing world we live in rather than being placed in a close-minded Catholic box that shuts them out from the real world.
What Popcak fears is that children will do exactly what they are doing, growing up and realizing Catholicism and other forms of Christianity are nonsense, and growing up to be strong, self-reliant citizens who do not need organized religion to lead their lives. These children are growing up in the age of technology and information, the answers people once felt they needed the church for are now right at the fingertips and instead of being fed 2000 year old stories, they are finding answers through modern science, or by reading about others life experiences and connecting to communities outside their own.
What scares Popcak about children is the same thing that gives me hope for a stronger, more educated future of individuals not afraid of free-thought and skepticism.
Catholic World Report blames churches who tried to adopt modern cultural norms.
“The Catholic parishes and dioceses that are flourishing are those offering a forthright defense of Catholic faith, doctrine, practice, and morality,” the site suggests. “[T]he dioceses and parishes which compromised with the culture declined.”
Catholicism is not losing ground because parents get divorced or church goers changed their views with the modern times, they are leaving because the church is refusing to update its views along with them, the church is refusing to adapt to a modern society. They are tired of spewing hate and bigotry and they are tired of apologizing for priests who cannot keep their hands to themselves.
Catholicism has a problem, and it refuses to accept it. Perhaps it’s time the church grows up and stops blaming everyone else for its problems.
(Image: Casa Rosada / Creative Commons)