Is this True?

I found this statement from an article, The hidden exodus: Catholics becoming Protestants, in the National Catholic Reporter:

"The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has put hard numbers on the anecdotal evidence: One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a separate denomination, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists. One of three people who were raised Catholic no longer identifies as Catholic.

Any other institution that lost one-third of its members would want to know why. But the U.S. bishops have never devoted any time at their national meetings to discussing the exodus. Nor have they spent a dime trying to find out why it is happening."

Is this true?

Is what true? One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic or the insinuation that the bishops don’t care?

It’s probably worse than that, remember, we are promised an persecution and apostasy not flowers and pats on the back. We were told that wide and easy is the road to hell which is followed by many, yet narrow and rough is the road to heaven followed by few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

So far as the bishops not caring, I seriously doubt that. These are men that have dedicated their entire lives to doing God’s work, to trying to save souls, I doubt they gave that up, perhaps some are overwhelmed, lost, confused or don’t know what to do, but they still care.

I don’t think the last paragraph has any support evidence. I can give several counterexamples. One, for instance, was a Sunday Mass a few months ago. Our pastor had purchased Rediscover Catholicism " by Matthew Kelley, and invited everyone to take a copy home with them. Now, I don’t know whether it was a Loaves and Fishes event, but there were plenty of copies to go around. Recommended it to a few fallen away Catholics at work.

Having said that, there are those who indeed fall away from the Church for one reason or another. Of the ones I personally know, the common denominator seems to be falling into the trap of “me first”.

Look, the “Our Father” does not contain the phrase, “my will be done, on earth, as your’s is in heaven”, but I’ve met sooooooooooo many people who seem to think so. For them, Protestantism is easier.

Other people may have different experience.

There are also devout Protestants who have studied, and eventually become Catholics. Scott Hahn is perhaps a good example, but the poll didn’t seem to cover that aspect well.

I have found that there are a significant number of Catholics who start out well, but fall away, spending years Church shopping, then come back in later life, to a much richer understanding of the Faith.


I know - I pretty much studied my way here - with the help of a good friend I made here at CA!

But once I came in to our local parish, it’s concerning, and a little disappointing. So I’m a newbie, and everyone keeps telling me I have been put where I am to help.

Thus my question.

I get frustrated at the lack of a lot of things, but I guess it’s time I get over it and start to help. I simply can’t go back to the Baptist church. I feel like Jonah lately.

Does this count as public confession here:).

You are in the right place! Don’t worry there are many more like you!

When I’m feeling down and like I’m the only one I like to think of Elijah, when he complains to God about how everyone has turned their backs, forsaken the Lord and he is all alone. God, you can almost hear Him chuckle, as He says nope, I’ve saved (what I think 5,000 or something) others and they are still faithful as well.

Is your faith contingent of being with the crowd?

Remember the Apostles after the Crucifixion.
They were scared to death, but they would not walk away from the truth of Christ’s church.
It’s regrettable that people leave. But are you suggesting that the Church somehow lessen it’s stand on things, and jump through hoops to win back crowded pews?
People to come to belief on their own, not because we go out that drag them in.
Study your faith. Know it well. When an opportunity to evangelize or teach arises, be ready, be equipped and be compassionate.
But don’t think that the Body of Christ doesn’t care. We do care, deeply Christ Himself cares.

Take care to listen to this Sunday’s Gospel:

***The disciples approached him and said,
"Why do you speak to them in parables?"
He said to them in reply,
"Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.

"But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.***

National Catholic Reporter is not Catholic. The local bishop, Bishop Finn, has asked them to stop calling themselves Catholic. Not a good source of information.

In light of the number of recent expressions of concern, I have a responsibility as the local bishop to instruct the Faithful about the problematic nature of this media source which bears the name “Catholic.” While I remain open to substantive and respectful discussion with the legitimate representatives of NCR, I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level. For this we pray: St. Francis DeSales, intercede for us.

Bishop Finn to the National Catholic Reporter

Actually, Bishop Finn resigned in 2015 after being convicted of failing to report a priest caught up in sex abuse. I don’t know if the current bishop has repeated that request.

And, the fundamental issue isn’t the reliability of the NCR, but of Pew Research, which I believe is quite respected.

Frustration is part of life. Even when I generally like a job, a social group, a Catholic parish, or the Catholic religion in general, there are aspects of each thing that I find difficult or frustrating or wish they were different or think they should change. I don’t tend to quit these things as long as the overall benefit to me is positive. The Real Presence and Catholicism’s roots in history and the presence of Mary are huge positive benefits to me. I’m not going to walk out on that if a priest acts like a jerk or a bishop says something I vehemently disagree with. I’ll just keep praying and where possible, working for positive improvement.

I doubt very much that the bishops “don’t care” that people leave. In the US they seem to try to make all sorts of accommodations, such as moving the Holy Day of Obligation Masses to the following Sundays, to try to accommodate people. However, if someone is leaving because they have a big problem with a basic Church teaching, then they can’t do anything about it except perhaps try to educate people about their faith better so people at least don’t leave over false assumptions.

Also, any change the bishops might make in hopes of getting people to stay in the Church is likely to alienate a percentage of people who like it just fine the way it is, so you might gain a few people at the expense of losing a few more. I’m not saying it’s not worth looking into, but actual change is really hard to implement in a way that will please everyone, as the post-Vatican II church showed. Also, in my experience a lot of people expressing that the Church should change this and that already have one foot out the door and even if efforts are made to accommodate them, it’s not going to be enough.

It’s also quite likely that some of these people will rediscover the Church again as they get older, gain in wisdom, and (to be blunt) see death approaching. There’s a reason why older people tend to be pretty devout and it’s not entirely because they’re retired and have nothing better to do than pray and attend Church all day.

I found this interesting: Leaving Catholicism

It’s an exhaustive survey on how many and why people are leaving.

And one more:

Of course, this doesn’t account for conversions to Catholicism.

From CARA:

In 2016:

Baptisms of infants: 670,481
Other minor children: 67,052
Adults: 37,953
Full reception in the Church: 63,951
Annulments: 22,767
Catholic Population in 2005 : 67 million in 2016: 67.02 million

Former Catholic adults: Those raised Catholic (native- and foreign-born) who no longer self-identify as Catholic (survey-based estimate). As the largest religion in the U.S., Catholicism has the largest number of former members (some later return as reverts). Catholicism has a higher retention rate than most other religions in the U.S. (including all Protestant denominations). in 2016: 30.1 million

Here’s the entire page: (it wouldn’t copy and paste for me)

As a public service announcement and not as intent to derail this thread, this is true. The National Catholic Distorter is not truly Catholic. A better choice of reading material is the National Catholic Register. Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.

There is no such thing as an ex or former Catholic. Once a Catholic always a Catholic, even those who turn their backs to the Church.

There are only two types of Catholic - those in a state of grace and those in a state of mortal sin.

From the Pew study: " Catholicism’s retention rate of childhood members (68%) is far greater than the retention rate of the unaffiliated and is comparable with or better than the retention rates of other religious groups."


So it would seem that the real problem is that people are leaving all religions. They are just leaving the Catholic church at the same rate or more slowly than everything else.

That fact leaves one with a very different issue than just saying that Catholics are leaving.

This is a retention rate problem, and the retention rate is 64% for Catholics. The same or lower for everyone else.

You would have to be very anti-Catholic to put a spin on that to make it sound anything more than normal.

So if we are just talking about retention rates in general then, this is interesting:

People DO leave the Church. No question there.

Reasons being, (not in any particular order)

*]Their faith was poorly formed in the first place
*]Have no faith anymore in God
*]disregard consequences for leaving the Church, (mentioned in scripture and Tradition)
*]divorce and remarriage (without even seeing if an annulment was possible) jams up a large number of Catholic marriages so they leave knowing they can’t receive the Eucharist while in mortal sin (one who divorces and marries another, commits adultery)
*]Habit of missing mass on Sunday progresses to not going anymore, therefore no longer living their faith, and remaining in mortal sin
*]don’t like the pastor
*]object to Church teaching on various moral issues
*]etc etc
for purposes of keeping this real,

*]was Jesus a great teacher? Yes
*]Could He inspire a crowd? Yes
*]were people impressed with His miracles ? Yes
*]Could He hold their attention and keep them from leaving? :hmmm:not if they didn’t like what He was teaching them.

many of His disciples left Jesus never to return. Really??? John 6:67]

WHY did they leave?

*]They had no faith, and Jesus knew that about them before He even spoke to them
*]They also didn’t like what He was teaching them. So they left Him, which Jesus knew in advance, they would do.
*]and note. Jesus didn’t go after them. He let them go. IMV one of the scariest passages in scripture


People who do leave the Catholic Church, leave Jesus in the Eucharist, therefore they leave Jesus just as His disciples left Him in that warm up to the Eucharist

And the consequences if they didn’t do what was taught?

*]John 6:26-70 a person will have no life in them, and Jesus won’t bring them to heaven in the end.
*] #**25. **, That’s why deliberately missing the Eucharist on Sunday carries such a huge consequences on one’s soul
Given the figures you bring up

People who leave the Church need to see the coming consequences of their actions, on their souls, if they don’t return… We give them the information they need to know, and absolutely don’t water it down. We then leave them in God’s hands, and grace to see if they take the information serious enough to return.

I don’t know which part you’re asking for verification–the statistics of ex-Catholics or whether the bishops haven’t devoted any time to addressing this…

But as for the former, here’s another source that seems to confirm that it’s generally true:,8599,1716987,00.html

Although I just realized that the source is still the same: Pew.

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