The shocking decline in the number in Catholic weddings in the U.S. (and baptisms too)


#1

A priest who has seen an enormous drop in the number of weddings and baptisms in parishes reports that he has just found these troubling statistics: since the 1950s baptisms in the Church have gradually dropped by almost 75% and Catholic weddings have plunged since 1950 by 76%. As this priest writes, this shows a major crisis in marriage and the family. I am posting this priest's article below, though for myself I have no idea what is going on to cause this huge change. See

blog.adw.org/2010/10/a-downturn-described-and-a-way-back-prescribed-on-the-shocking-decline-in-the-numbers-of-marriages/


#2

Shocking to whom? Singles are treated like second-class citizens in the Church. It is troubling, and I wonder what it will take - how many more of these types of stories - before Catholic singles start to feel more welcome at mass. If Catholics don't want us singles to marry in the Church, and that's the message we're getting loud and clear, then we'll go elsewhere if and when we find a match. Troubling news, but it's not exactly shocking.


#3

[quote="havana1, post:2, topic:217446"]
Shocking to whom? Singles are treated like second-class citizens in the Church. It is troubling, and I wonder what it will take - how many more of these types of stories - before Catholic singles start to feel more welcome at mass. If Catholics don't want us singles to marry in the Church, and that's the message we're getting loud and clear, then we'll go elsewhere if and when we find a match. Troubling news, but it's not exactly shocking.

[/quote]

What??? Why wouldn't Catholics want single people to get married in the church?

No one else is qualified to get married in the Church. Married people are already married. It's only single people who CAN get married... WHEN they find someone to get married to.

Sounds like you go to a Church with awful people in it. That's sad...


#4

[quote="havana1, post:2, topic:217446"]
Shocking to whom? Singles are treated like second-class citizens in the Church. It is troubling, and I wonder what it will take - how many more of these types of stories - before Catholic singles start to feel more welcome at mass. If Catholics don't want us singles to marry in the Church, and that's the message we're getting loud and clear, then we'll go elsewhere if and when we find a match. Troubling news, but it's not exactly shocking.

[/quote]

That's totally incorrect. Care to actually elaborate because these are pretty big statements that should be substantiated.
Either you are married to the Church(priest) or your calling is to marry another, the Church has always supported marriages. If there weren't marriages, there would be no Church, but in heaven.


#5

[quote="mdgspencer, post:1, topic:217446"]
A priest who has seen an enormous drop in the number of weddings and baptisms in parishes reports that he has just found these troubling statistics: since the 1950s baptisms in the Church have gradually dropped by almost 75% and Catholic weddings have plunged since 1950 by 76%. As this priest writes, this shows a major crisis in marriage and the family. I am posting this priest's article below, though for myself I have no idea what is going on to cause this huge change. See

blog.adw.org/2010/10/a-downturn-described-and-a-way-back-prescribed-on-the-shocking-decline-in-the-numbers-of-marriages/

[/quote]

I do believe that in the past 50 years people have become a lot less religious. It is a badge to most people. Most people religious wouldn't be their first or second for how they identify themselves. They would say they are liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, black, white, chicano before they say Catholic.
I think in the next two generations it may get a lot worse. But the I've heard it said that a smaller, more devout Church is better than a lot of luke-warm members.
I'm not surprised that baptisms went down. Since people aren't that religious they aren't going to do baptisms as much. Pressure is light but enough to at least get some to identify as a particular faith. A couple more gens though and the Church will be smaller. Truly Catholic families must continue to stress marriages WITHIN the Church, baptizing their children, and no artificial contraception use.


#6

Birth rates have gone down by around 60% for the entire US population since the 1950s and Catholics had a reputation for being a little more prolific in that area in the past so the baptism numbers are probably more a reflection of births to Catholic families in general than anything else.

Marriage has also dropped of significantly in the US, but those numbers are closer 50% which means there was a larger fall in Catholic marriages than normal marriages. Part of that probably has to do with the Church generally being stricter about how marriages have to take place, their rules about cohabitation, and the requirement of formation classes. Part of it probably has to do with people becoming less religious too. Another part probably has to do with the Church community playing a lesser role in peoples lives now that the number of distractions and alternative activities has grown quite a bit. I'm sure there are other factors involved too, but really everything I said is just speculation. In the end all we really know is that marriage is less popular, and the marriage in the Church is even less popular than that.


#7

It's not just a Catholic problem. Society as a whole is very cavalier about their relationships and careless about their sexual activities. People just don't see the point of marriage anymore. Committment is an old-fashioned concept. Boundaries don't exist anymore. People do what they want, when they want, with whom they want, and don't seem to care about the consequences, i.e., the inevitable baby on the way and the father on the way out. The intact family almost seems quaint.


#8

Birth rate shouldn't factor in...I think. Because the numbers were based on x [marriages/baptisms] per 1000 Catholics....right?


#9

[quote="mdgspencer, post:1, topic:217446"]
A priest who has seen an enormous drop in the number of weddings and baptisms in parishes reports that he has just found these troubling statistics: since the 1950s baptisms in the Church have gradually dropped by almost 75% and Catholic weddings have plunged since 1950 by 76%. As this priest writes, this shows a major crisis in marriage and the family. I am posting this priest's article below, though for myself I have no idea what is going on to cause this huge change. See

blog.adw.org/2010/10/a-downturn-described-and-a-way-back-prescribed-on-the-shocking-decline-in-the-numbers-of-marriages/

[/quote]

In the last 10 years, the majority of baptisms celebrated in the 4 parishes whose registers I keep were to unmarried parents. They don't believe enough in the Church to actually obey the rules on marriage or come to Mass except at Christmas, but seek Baptism for various reasons ranging from "Well, we're Catholic and that's what we do" to "My girlfriend's mother said that the baby will get sick and die if not baptized." The most common is "Mom insists."

Of course when the question was asked of me when our third child was born I had no idea what to say. I was a reader, an EMHC, had never fallen away even when in university and after marrying a non-Catholic, but I had never, ever given a thought about WHY I was having my children baptized. It was just a given that they would be since I was living my life as a practicing Catholic.


#10

Here in NC where Catholics are a minority, marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics are very common and unfortunately many protestants (especially the evengelical ones) are very hostile to Catholicism. Even if they are okay marrying a Catholic, actually getting married in a Catholic Church is just going to far. Then they end up marrying in a Baptist Church without a dispensation. Part of the problem is being poorly catechised - many are unaware of the Church's requirements regarding where and how to get married. They think it is a simple choice between getting married at the wife's church or the husband's.
Of course, nationally there is definitely a massive breakdown of the family with far fewer marriages than in the past and staggering numbers of our-of-wedlock babies (40% overall, with some races having as many as 72% born to unmarried parents!:eek:)


#11

theres probably alot of bad teaching too among the leadership. i spoke to a relative who was a catechist and she said we could wait to get our kids baptized because vatican II threw out the teaching that babies go to limbo if they arent baptized so it was ok, the priest at her church also would talk about a certain girl who he thought would make a fine female pope.
:eek::eek::eek::shrug::shrug::shrug:


#12

This isn't just a problem with marriage and the family. I think the root of it is years of very poor catechism teaching in many many places. People go to religious ed until they get confirmed, and for a lot of people, because the teaching is so poor, confirmation is just "graduation from religious ed." So when people only have an 8th grade level theological education (if there even was any actual theology in it) they have no idea how they are supposed to live at Catholic adults, and approach all kinds of adult issues as a Catholic, including marriage, and everything involved with it.


#13

When you think about the generally poor level of catechesis that young adults in their 20s and 30s (i.e., the young adults who would be the ones marrying and having children) received growing up, it's not surprising at all. Sad, but not surprising.


#14

[quote="Romanova, post:13, topic:217446"]
When you think about the generally poor level of catechesis that young adults in their 20s and 30s (i.e., the young adults who would be the ones marrying and having children) received growing up, it's not surprising at all. Sad, but not surprising.

[/quote]

Exactly my point. As far as I'm concerned, my faith formation happened when I was in College (at a Catholic University that I'm really thankful I went to) certainly NOT in my religious ed I went to at the parish I grew up in. But I don't think it is only my generation. I do not think my parents' generation was catechized well either.


#15

[quote="Fidelia, post:14, topic:217446"]
Exactly my point. As far as I'm concerned, my faith formation happened when I was in College (at a Catholic University that I'm really thankful I went to) certainly NOT in my religious ed I went to at the parish I grew up in. But I don't think it is only my generation. I do not think my parents' generation was catechized well either.

[/quote]

Definitely, the poor level of catechesis has been a problem for quite a while. And now we have young adults who are poorly formed in their faith, many of whose parents were also poorly formed in their faith and can't help them make moral decisions about marriage, childbearing, etc.

I converted while in college and was lucky to have a great RCIA class, plus years of basic Christian formation as an evangelical Protestant. But my husband, a cradle Catholic, was not so lucky. His catechesis was incredibly poor. His teachers taught about women priests, about reincarnation, about how Jesus was a "nice guy," etc. Basically, they avoided any of the dogma and basic beliefs of the Church....


#16

Religious ed in the 80’s and 90’s was lead by our equally clueless parents and their friends.

If people were more open to things like Lifeteen (a program which hundereds of vocations have sprouted from) then good young adults and good families could be produced. Insted, traddy’s cloister themselves up and throw stones at some of the only programs that capture the hearts of modern, unchurched youth. We have major rifts going on.


Shocking to whom? Singles are treated like second-class citizens in the Church. It is troubling, and I wonder what it will take - how many more of these types of stories - before Catholic singles start to feel more welcome at mass. If Catholics don’t want us singles to marry in the Church, and that’s the message we’re getting loud and clear, then we’ll go elsewhere if and when we find a match. Troubling news, but it’s not exactly shocking.

At the same time we have characters like this who want everything handed to them, and aren’t willing to go the mile to find good parishes. We take it for granted that our nearby parish is good, but we forget that it’s only within the past 50 years that near was a relative term and people traveled an hour or more to go to church.

People like this poster don’t realize the challenges in “young adult” ministry including keeping the desprite creepers away from the rest of us who want to have a good time with friends and THEN let further relationships transpire. To whom young adult ministry is NOT a dating club.

I think it is appropriate to start with teens. Becuase they are old enough to recieve confirmation and decide for themselves. When there’s a good teen population they grow and marry well…knowing what they are looking for.

Most of the young adults married, single and (those who have children) had good support somehow, somewhere, usually through the church as a teen…many also had parents who went the extra mile. If not, they found a friend in a religious who guided them through…a religious who made a decision as a teen or young adult…


#17

[quote="purplesunshine, post:16, topic:217446"]

Most of the young adults married, single and (those who have children) had good support somehow, somewhere, usually through the church as a teen...many also had parents who went the extra mile. If not, they found a friend in a religious who guided them through...a religious who made a decision as a teen or young adult....

[/quote]

Not everyone has good support. It wasn't until I found my fiance that I had someone I could talk to about faith (my mother has passed away, with me being the only Catholic in my immediate family). I tried to get a adult group off the ground at my parish, but with me moving and getting married soon, it seems kind of moot at this point. I do feel for people with no support. I know I was at the point of leaving the Church because of the loneliness and feeling outcast. And paired with anti-Catholic friends and family, it seemed like the smart thing to do. :eek:

So I was lone wolf Catholic for most of my faith life. Only now that I'm engaged, do I feel like I have place in the Church.


#18

Is this Washington State?

I find even non-practicing Catholics in New England still Baptise their children and still get Church Marriages.


#19

*Nature, Incentives and Penalties Drive Behavior
*

A License to Wed

The demise of marriage is being intelligently discussed beyond Catholic circles.

Maybe getting spending time on the source of the problem would be useful.


#20

[quote="NE_Catholic, post:18, topic:217446"]
Is this Washington State?

I find even non-practicing Catholics in New England still Baptise their children and still get Church Marriages.

[/quote]

Washington represent! Seattle area is a very bad area to be Catholic. :mad: Either Catholics are non-practicing or VERY hardcore "everyone is going to burn" types. How about a happy medium? :shrug:

For the record, I am getting married in the Catholic Church, but I'm getting married in a Catholic parish in Scotland. :D


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