The Collapse of Cultural Catholicism

The Collapse of Cultural Catholicism January 27, 2011

SheryWeddell at the St Catherine of Siena Institute reports that 32% of Americans raised Catholic abandon the identity altogether by their mid twenties. An additional 38% retain the identity but rarely practice their faith. 30% of those who call themselves Catholic attend Mass only once a month. On a given Sunday only about 15.6% of American Catholics attend Mass.

What is the reason for these disastrous statistics? Basically because for the last forty years Catholics themselves have not taught Catholicism to their children. They’ve taught ‘American Catholicism’ which is a watered down blend of sentiementalism, political correctness, community activism and utilitarianism. In other words, “Catholicism is about feeling good about yourself, being just to others and trying to change the world.” The next generation have drawn the obvious conclusion that you don’t need to go to Mass to do all that. You can feel good about yourself much more effectively with a good book from the self help shelf, or by attending a personal development seminar. You can be involved in making the world a better place without going to church.

If only 15% of Catholics go to Mass on a given Sunday, look around and see how many of them are old. Even the 15% who are there won’t be there for very long.

The solution is simple: we must return to the supernatural realities of the historic faith and evangelize like the Apostles of old. The big difference is that the Apostles knew their targets were pagans and the pagans knew they weren’t Christians. We’re dealing with a huge population of Americans (Catholics and Protestants alike) who are pagan but who think they’re ‘good Christians.’ It is very difficult to evangelize people who already think they’re fine just as they are. We don’t know what we don’t know, and the vast majority of poorly catechized, lazy and worldly Catholics aren’t aware that there’s anything wrong.

What will it take for us to wake up?

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