As I read through the New Testament, I get the impression that this is not a new phenomenon. The Church was certainly growing faster than it was losing members, but it was losing members. Our Lord certainly had that experience. The crowds would flock to him, but did not stay with him. So we just have to keep the faith.
God will not be mocked. If the West considers itself unworthy of eternal life, then God will go East! And to Africa, and elsewhere. Here’s what happened during the “Reformation” (hint: Our Lady of Guadalupe).
It’s better to have 12 apostles ready to die for the Truth than 6 billion willing to appease death!
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt 19:24).
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora pro Nobis Peccatoribus!
i too left the Church for over 30 years because the Truth is not easy! It requires self sacrifice.
Even Jesus, after preaching on the Eucharist, had disciples leave Him.
“But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him." (JN 6:64-66).
"And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Lk 9:23).
i fail at denying myself daily, but with His Grace, all thing are possible!
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!
Does anybody else question these figures?
The most difficult part of following Jesus is in the emptying of self and taking up of His cross. Many chose to follow the beaten path to perdition even as Jesus said to enter the narrow gate that leads to life. Many people perish because of ignorance and complacency, refusing to come out of their comfort zone and/or deliberately closing their eyes and ears to the truth. Blessed are the 6 million converts for having heard what ALL faithful Catholics have always believed, seen and heard: the voice of the Good Shepherd - “…I know my sheep and my sheep know me… and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep… they too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and shepherd”. I wonder where the rest are going?
sorry if i am posting without proper caps where they shoild go. the cats asleep and covering that button.
while the number of converts is a blessing, i wonder why the number of “x’s” is so high.
I don’t know if it is necessary to question the figures themselves; it may be more a question of how the figures are being used.
the lead-in seems to imply that for every convert we get (e.g. in a one year period), we lose 4. That, however, is not what the figures really say. Of the 23 million who have left, some left last year; some may have left 65 years ago.
That we have a hugh number of Catholics who do not attend Mass on a weekly basis is absolutely beyond question; the statistics seem to float somewhere between 65 and 75% not attending weekly. Of that group, some come infrequently, some less than infrequently (e.g. only Christmas and Easter) and some don’t come at all.
Even at the peak of attendance, something like 28 to 30% did not attend on a regualr weekly basis.
A better statistic would be how many we lose each year (those that quit attending weekly, in the last year) as opposed to how many have joined. However, I don’t know if anyone, including CARA actually keeps any records specific to that issue.
This has never been a numbers game. I would rather have a church 1/4 as large but filled with on fire Catholics than a church with 3/4 comprised of luke warm Catholics. That being said we have done a very poor job of catechizing Catholics and catechization is getting worse with the closing of Catholic schools. Doctrine should be part of every homily but I have been to a lot of churches where homilies are anything but doctrine.
The article finishes off with "The majority of those who leave the Church do so before the age of 24. "
Why don’t people believe me when I say it is crucial we have better university ministry programs?!?!?!?! Sometimes it really seems like the Church doesn’t care about that age group! Where is the funding for programs for young adults and young families?
Sorry for the rant, but some churches/diocese just don’t seem to get it. Money is poured into the youth programs, but after Confirmation, and high school graduation, the young Catholics are “forgotten.”
Why did I leave the church at 18? We only attended mass sometimes, and then we were always late, jsut in time for communion (my mom ia habitually late, still is), church wasnt discussed outside the doors of mass. Yes, I went to ccd and was confirmed. Do I remember the classes? Yes, they were boring, we were talked at, not to, and sent to the priest if we we cut up or asked question the teachers deemed wrong or hereasy. At 18 ther priest refused to give me communion cause I was pregnat, told I shouldnt be at church, what would people say? Thats why I left 30 years ago.I really knew nothing about the faith.
Preaching has never seemed to be the strong point of the Catholic clergy as a whole. Some are good at it, some not so good, some miserable at it. Because we are a liturgical and sacramental church (as opposed to those denominations which have lesser, little or no identifiable liturgy) and those which have less, little or no sacramental theology, we have a focus that has all too often given short shrift to either sermons or homilies.
Homilies, however, are not for the purpose of doctrinal exposition, but rather are to focus on the Scriptural readings of the day. That is not to say that doctrine plays no part; however, doctrine is not the primary purpose of a homily, just as a historical exposition of the reading is not the focus. Our doctrines are not distinct and separate from Scripture; however it is an issue of focus; we are supposed to hear from the priest or deacon how Scripture is to influence and focus our lives.
Having said that, I have sat through all too many homilies that did a poor job (if at all) in breaking open the Scripture of the day to make it something I could focus on that week.
i was baptized and confirmed in the episcopal church, which, if you do not know much about the episcopal church, is very close to the catholic church in the liturgy and sacraments. i also left at 18 because my parents rarely attended church or spoke about religion in the house so my faith was neither encouraged nor nurtured. i wasn’t crazy about being confirmed and didn’t want to take the classes, but i had to. i remember very little of the classes and only a little of the confirmation. i was 16, but wasn’t sure what i was committing my life to. so, at 18, i went away to college and tried to keep my life in line with what God wanted, but too many temptations.
i am sorry you had a bad experience with your priest when you were pregnant. you should have been welcomed and supported. after my son was born, i tried returning to the episcopal church, but it really had no relevance to me. i guess i felt like i had been such a sinner, i really didn’t belong in church anymore anyway. however, 12 years ago i began learning more about the Catholic church (my dad was catholic, my mother lutheran)
and finally converted last year. so i am happy to be Catholic right now. i have learned all the differences between being episcopalian/anglican and catholic and at this point in my life i am in agreement with the teachings of the Church. 20 years ago i might not have been. maybe you should try giving Catholicism another try now that you are older.
I believe that we must recognize the reality that many people are leaving the Church. They leave because they do not understand, because they are disappointed by some bad experience with a particular person, but mainly because they do not KNOW their faith and the Church at all.
It often happens that people “lose interest” when they are quite young. The solution is not just more activities aimed at youth, IMO. The real problem is that parents have the same lack of knowledge, so they do not speak about the faith at home, they do not practice regularly, they do not show their love for God…
This is one more reason why there are so few vocations. How can young people start thinking about a religious vocation if there are so few around them to say/show/believe that consecrating oneself to God is the most wonderful thing ever?
I feel that there should be more activities for families and parents, to educate them, strenghten them, help them to grow in the faith… Then the children would follow.
i believe that the catholic church has been negligent about the way it promotes the faith.
It has clearly not been effective at guiding the flock and does not seem to take account of the fact that many people do not have active catholic parents to teach their kids the truth and therefore there is liitle chance that the children will themesleves become practicing catholics.
yes, you are right, however, the same could be said of any other church. the episcopal church definitely is another example. society has changed so much and is in conflict with what the Bible teaches and so i think a lot of people, including priests and bishops, etc.
want to pick and choose what we should believe from the Bible and other people are just confused and aren’t sure how relevant the churches really are. then when you have scandals within the church, whether it is priest sex abuse scandals or embezzlement scandals or whatever - which are not exclusive of the Catholic church - people just don’t want to be let down.
You may be nurturing the seed of discontent in your heart, and in the hands of manipulative preachers, you will be ripe for the picking. We hope not. The Church needs you. It is not its negligence or ineffectiveness that is at the heart of the exodus of Catholics. It is our complacency, our wait-and-see attitude, our indifference to learning about our faith that is. If we leave because we have an axe to grind with a priest or there is simply no one to turn to and confirm one’s faith, should we crucify the Church Christ built? He died once and for all and our apathy would recrucify Him unfairly. The Church is only as good as we are; as it is the body of Christ, so are we. Who is this Church in the first place? It is us. Leaving the guiding and teaching and nurturing in the hands of nameless individuals, who could be us, while we go our merry way seemingly concerned yet indifferently, is terribly unfair. In Jesus parables, He talks about a farmer’s patience (greek “makrothumia” or calm determination or active patience) from the planting of the seeds to harvest. He does not wait idly; he helps the seed grow, cultivating, fertilizing, pruning until the fruits appear. We cannot sit idly in the here and now of God’s kingdom. We have to learn, to teach, to admonish, to exhort, to evangelize, then to nurture our gains by patiently guiding, enlightening and seeing through our efforts, all the while trusting God and his providence until harvest, until God’s kingdom is materialized. That to me is Christianity. Even Catholic Christianity - that is pro-active concern and participation for the universal salvation of men. Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). It is addressed to the Church. It is addressed to you. God bless.
i dont disagree with anything you have said. However, with the theological and spirtual resources at the disposal of the church surely it/we can construct and deliver simple and clear messages about the teachings of Christ and the church that help non catholics and luke warm catholics to become better believers.
The alternative of continuing on the current road is to end up with more and more people becoming protestant at best and agnostic/atheist at worst. I have seen this happen with lots of people i know and once you lose them its very difficult to get them back.
The church needs to call on its best resources across a range of disciplines (including that horrible word of marketing) and renew its efforts to deliver the message of Christ. If that means having more lay people working with priests then so be it.
I am strongly belive that the church cannot stand by and watch people fall away. Unfortunately there are too many distractions for people in this day and age and just because we have a message that everyone wants to hear, does not mean that they will either hear it or undertsnd it. Did Jesus reach out or did he sit in a temple expecting people to come to him?