Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Resigning from the Catholic Church: Pope Francis was hired to stop the exodus

Fewer and Fewer
The catholic church is on the way out.  Attendance and number of churches has been declining for many years – faster since the pedophile priest cover-up was headline news in the Boston Globe in 2002.

In the U.S., of all the major denominations catholics have seen the largest decline in members.  Since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics have left the church for each person who has converted, according to a 2009 Pew study. From 2007 to 2014, 3 million people left the catholic church.  More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995, and the number of priests has fallen from about 49,000 to 40,000 during that same period. Some 3,400 Catholic parishes in the U.S. now lack a resident priest. “Catholicism is in decline across America,” says sociologist David Carlin. Numbers of catholics are also shrinking around the world in Europe and Australia.

There are some interesting statistics about the slippery slope the church finds itself sliding down.

If ex-Catholics were counted as their own religious group, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

If it weren’t for the many Catholic immigrants, especially from Latin American, the American Catholic Church would be shrinking even faster (CNN 2012). However, according to a Pew Research Center report, many catholic Latin Americans have left the church to become protestant. This is why the Vatican chose Pope Francis (from Argentina) – to keep Latin Americans in the catholic church.

In a study in the Trenton, NJ diocese some of the top reasons for leaving were:

Ø  The sex abuse crisis -- the church’s inadequate response to clergy sex abuse, refusal of bishops to list pedophile priests on the diocese’s website and non-support of the effort to lift the statute of limitations for survivors seeking justice in the courts. Some of those responding said they had been victims of sexual abuse by church leadership.
Ø  Dissatisfaction with the priest – words used were:  “arrogant,” “distant,” “aloof” and “insensitive”
Ø  Uninspiring sermons on Sundays -- messages from the priest, did not relate or “speak to” them. And whenever the church wanted to raise money, they dropped the sermon and talked about donations.
Ø  The church hierarchy was too closely tied to conservative politics. People felt that the church should stay out of politics; it should certainly not threaten politicians.
Ø  The status of women -- the church is too involved in American politics relating to family planning, women’s rights, not allowing women to become ordained.

Some other statistics:

Ø  A 2014 survey in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, found 4 major reasons for leaving: Not happy with Church doctrine, losing interest in the faith and Mass, church sex scandals or feeling unwelcome or judged by the Church.  
Ø  Only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing.
Ø  10 percent of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.
Ø  79 percent of those born or raised catholic and who are no longer catholic or have any religious affiliation of any kind, made their decision by age 23 – this means that there will be no one to fill the pews in the coming decades

Each of us has personal reasons for leaving the church.  On this blog I have talked often about the reasons that I left.  If you (the reader) are leaving the church or have left it, let me know why. It may be for some of the reasons above, or you may have other reasons to share with me and other readers.