CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, has just published some speculative demographics (h/t New Advent) on Catholic reverts—those of us raised as Catholics who leave the Church for a time and then come back. The numbers are interesting to me, as is CARA’s contention that reverts, and not just immigrants, are helping to keep Church membership numbers steady in the face of attrition by mortality, low birth rates, and drift away from the Church.
Who are the Catholic reverts? Currently, these are people who are disproportionately between the ages of 25 and 34 (currently a combination of the oldest Millennials and the youngest of the Post-Vatican II Generation). A plurality of regularMass attending Catholic reverts (41%) are of the Post-Vatican II Generation (ages 31 to 51). Another numerous group of reverts are in their retirement years (age 65 or older). Younger reverts may be coming back as they marry and raise children—seeking out sacraments. Seniors may turn back to the faith of their youth just at the moment they begin to face the autumn of their life.