Roman Catholics decline in England, Wales

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The number of Roman Catholic adherents in England and Wales fell by more than 90,000 in 2012, despite a wave of immigrants from Poland and other Eastern European countries with historically Catholic backgrounds.

Prominent Catholics say the recent wave of sex abuse scandals involving priests and children is responsible for the decline.

According to research by the Pastoral Research Centre Trust, an independent research organization, population increases, baptisms and the reception of newly confirmed and older people into the church should have added 31,873 people to the Catholic rolls in 2012.

Not surprising.


That is indeed sad.
However, I’m struck by how accurate Michael Voris is. Michael Voris said in a video that for every 1 Catholic who enters the Church, there are 4 who leave.

The article says there should have been an increase by 30,000 to the membership thanks to Baptisms/ newly Confirmed. However, there was a loss of 90,000. Which means that 30,000 people entered, while 120,000 left. Exactly 4 people leaving for every 1 entering.
We need to remember, that a lot of the people we need to evangelize, are sitting next to use in the pews!
That is particularly disappointing that people are abusing the Catholic education system there… and baptizing their children just for an education. Still, we need to pray for people to come to the faith in Catholic school, and we need to pray for all baptized Catholics to be called back to the Church, by the indelible mark of their baptism.

Those parents might be nefarious, but those baptisms are still valid, and they still leave an indelible mark on the souls of those children.

How ridiculous, I am a Convert and I know of the same carry on in the Anglican Church, and Jewish Religion, except it was all kept quiet, the Church is Holy being the body of Christ, but its members are sinners, that is why we have Confession, its a Hospital for sinners, not a Hotel for Saints. And if Catholics don’t go to Mass, due to few priests that went wrong, they are obviously feeling the same about all the Apostles as with the 12 we had one (Judas ) went wrong and that was from 12, so can you imagine with 1.2 billion there are naturally going to be a very bad eggs, they will have to answer to the Lord, there sin will be viewed the greater than a lay Catholic as they should have known and acted better, I quake in my shoes for them for what the Lord is going to say and do.

Same for these bad Catholics not going to Mass etc due to this, they should know the Lord is not going to ask them about the Priest that did wrong , but the Lord will concentrate on them and why THEY did not put there Religion into practice, you know the story of the fig tree, as a Convert it did not have any effect except to feel sad on how they
could let down themselves, the Church, that caused a scandal , we are a family, which one of us would cause a scandal in our own family and if we do stir problems we dont let everyone know about it.

I will finish by saying I could name the Anglican Ministers from school who “had a problem” and the same for some of the Liberal Jewish Rabbi’s, there are school coaches that have been sacked for same and kept hushed and got moved to another school.

Other non Christian religions have the same problem, maybe this is why they get married to 12 year old’s .

I am sure you will find many of our not too distant ancestors were married at not much older ages. Christ’s mother was only slightly older when she gave birth. I think using problems in our Church to take slaps at Islam (which is plainly the religion you mean) is not helpful. We need to be seen to deal with our own dirty laundry not use the ‘other people do it also’ gambit.

I don’t think it has anything to do with any sort of scandals but honestly young people today, I can tell you from experience, nobody cares about religion anymore. Young people, they just believe in living for the moment. I know I’m generalizing but when I was in high school, around a decade ago. There was not one religious person in my entire year. Not one. Religion was looked on as a joke. There has been an increase in Atheism is all it is probably, other Christian religions probably declined as well.

Writing from England I think the above makes a very good argument. The abuse figures in other churches and schools have had problems too but it is tge Catholic church that gets the newspaper headlines. I am in a wonderful community of catholics here and there are many fantastic dedicated priests that far outweigh the numbers that have caused a scandal. I recieve the eucharist for me -between me and God nothing to do with anyone elses failures.

My point is every Religion has some dirty washing but if its the Catholic Church the media blow it up out of all proportion, Its a problem in ALL Religions, but its not blown up on the media, Anglicans have not stopped going to Service, Jews have not stopped going to Services on the Sabbath, and Moslems have not stopped doing there duties to God either, but what do silly Catholics do, stop going to Mass etc when they should be praying for all concerned, and there own soul not putting it in jeopardy.

In Ireland where you and I both come from the perception (and not entirely wrongly at that) was that the Church had far, far too much power in the state and as a result many people now have reacted in a very negative way to an institution that was overly bound up with the state. Some had foreseen that would be the end result of such a move post indpendence, but many kept their views to themselves as in previous years airing such views made you virtually an outcast.

There is only one problem I am not in Ireland.

There should be a serious look at the Catholic schools in regards to catechesis.

I think some people have left because of sex abuse scandals, but I also think some people struggle with Church teachings in regards to contraception, saving sex for marriage, abortion etc. because these teachings are often at odds with modern culture and end up leaving the Church.

Young people often aren’t religious, but these same people often return to faith when they get older, get married, have children etc.

Perhaps that is true but there’s is one Catholic high school where I come from and I have met several people which attended it and none of them were Catholics nor did they know any themselves, it’s just a school maybe only Catholic in name.

The Spanish community seems to draw most of “their” young people. The English Mass OTOH (at least in my corner) is 95% full of the over-60 crowd. As one of my pastors claimed once or twice, most Catholics who receive their First Communion never set foot inside a church building again.

I thought I read a news article here on CAF not too long ago saying how Mass attendance was up in England due to the “Pope Francis effect?” Is this so?

My nearest Catholic Parish, this is taken from their website under their vision and room for improvement section:
*“Reducing numbers. Ageing congregation. Lack of youth. No development in the last few years.”

I can imagine a similar thing everywhere. Many people I’ve spoken to in my life simply believes it is something from the dark ages and lacks any relevancy in today’s age. I disagree, to an extent, obviously which is why I’m on a Catholic forum in the first place but I think Pentecostal Churches seem to attract the most young people, especially in my community. They are often foreigners though, I imagine from some kind of student exchange programs or such education vocations from my own observations.

Well, not everywhere. I don’t doubt what has been said about the state of the Faith in the UK or other places. But in my own diocese, for example, my personal observation is that the Faith is most vibrant among the young. In may ways, their practice of Catholicism is an inspiration to us older parishioners, and they are more adept in finding ways of reaching out to others.

Of course, not everywhere but since this thread was about the state of the Faith in the UK, it’s why I said it. I wonder what the difference is and how the Faith could be saved in the
UK? Personally as a non-Catholic it’s because it still seems quite alien to me. I wonder if it’s because other Christian religions are pulling the younger crowds here?

I’m just guessing, but I think that in many places, the religion of secularism, or at least those proposing its values, are doing a better job of evangelizing the young than Christians. One can only hope that Pope Francis’ example will help to counter that.

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