The Pendulum Swings…Both Ways


I suppose most have heard the news of the day regarding religion from these stories:

So, what’s going on? The first article states:

“Immigration is playing a key role in shifting the religious balance in the United States, said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It’s not that the United States will become increasingly less Protestant; it’s that the United States will become increasingly less white, and the big pattern there is among Latinos,” Lugo said. “The vast majority of immigrants to the US — over 70 percent — are Christian,” Lugo said.”But while native-born Protestants outnumber Catholics by two to one, among immigrants, Catholics outnumber Protestants by the same ratio,” he said.”

The first article goes on to say:

Around one-third of the survey respondents who said they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic.

But Catholics still make up around 25 percent of the US adult population of 225 million, thanks largely to the high number of Catholics among immigrants, mainly from Latin America, the study showed.

Let’s see what article two says:

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, a massive 45-question survey conducted of 35,000 American adults 18 and older, revealed evangelical Protestants outnumber Catholics by 26.3 percent of the population (66 million) to 24 percent (54 million).

Why is it “us” against “them”?  There is one group of Catholic Churches. Protestants are everything from Anglican to “snake-handling” Free Will Baptist! Of course we’re out numbered!

While one in three Americans are raised Roman Catholic, one in four adults describe themselves as such, a loss of 10 percent despite the huge numbers of Hispanic Catholic immigrants swelling American churches, survey researchers said.

We must become better teachers/catechists, if we are to pass the faith on to our children!

Those who leave either drop out of church entirely or join Pentecostal or evangelical Protestant churches, Pew Forum director Luis Lugo said.

One out of every 10 evangelicals is a former Catholic, he said. Hispanic Catholics are leaving at higher rates; 20 percent of them end up in evangelical or Pentecostal churches.

I wonder why this might be (besides bad catechises)?

“It’s a desire for a closer experience of God,” he said. “It’s not so much disenchantment with the teachings of the Catholic Church but the pull of what they see in Pentecostalism.”

That says a lot, doesn’t it? Pentecostalism, emotionalism, expression, individualism.

So….what’s your take on this?

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4 Responses

  1. It is interesting that they lump Protestantism into one huge pile and then claim they outnumber Catholics, especially when one Protestant group can be completely opposed to the views of another…

    It doesn’t surprise me that Catholics leave for Protestantism in it’s various forms because Protestantism today is “hip”. My former church prided itself on being the “cool” place to be with it’s own band, a coffee cart, a bookstore, sermons on tape, etc. “This isn’t ‘church’ like you’ve ever experienced before! No flutes and organs… We’re too cool for that!” It’s all about how “church” makes one FEEL… My former church took digs at the Catholics faith ALL THE TIME without ever saying the word “Catholic”… in hopes that they would cause doubt in the mind of a visiting (and obviously poorly catechized) Catholic.

    Sad. We definitely must diligently seek to teach our children the faith, including apologetics, so they will also know how to defend themselves against the “hipness” of Protestantism.

  2. You don’t have enough electrons as to the why of it.

    1) As one of the last children of the pre-Vat II age all you have to do is watch the Bells of St. Mary’s(highly recommended). In many other ages the council would have been easily adopted, however the 60′ & 70’s was a time of rejecting all this established and there was a staggering number of priests & nuns who left the faith to discover themselves. However you can’t feed yourself on a few master degree in theology outside of the church. So in droves these disgruntled individuals got jobs in various diocese (after all they were “well” qualified with advanced degrees).

    I wrote a piece on the state of the church in the USA based on data from Inside Catholic.

    http://quickbeamoffangorn.wordpress.com/2007/11/28/state-of-the-church-in-the-usa/

    The bleeding has IMO stopped; however the influx of spanish imigrants simply don’t have enough individuals that can teach spanish. My diocese is on the front line on this issue and we don’t have the manpower either. We are the 3rd fastest growing diocese in the country and we’re the 5 highest raidio of priest to adherants (1 to 10,000). If I receive communion from a priest it’s like once a year. We went 10 years without a resident priest. In 5 years we will likely need to build another church, but we have at least another 15 years to pay of the existing one. Yet in places like the Northeast where I grew up church are closing, because everyone is leaving to move south for jobs.

    Actually as far as I’m concerned it’s simply by the grace of God that there are as many Catholics that have remained in the church as there is.
    1) child abuse
    2) lack of priests
    3) lack of religious instruction
    4) over burdened with expensive properties in area of urban decline and industrial decline
    5) lack of infrastructure with explosive growth in areas of suburban growth.

    Now on a global scale we have explosive growth in believers in Africa & Asia with little resources and few priest. Verse Europe & America with numberous priests and declining numbers.

    It sure would help if we had some Catholic apologists start to translate material into other languages, to assist those in other countries address the issues.

  3. I like that pendulum thought.
    I have a piece I am working on with the same thyme.
    I am not quit ready to post it at this time.

    I have been following your blog now for a few days and I am going to add you to my blogroll. I like your Christian faith and your attention to detail.

    You can read my blog at: http://skunnydroppings.wordpress.com/

    God Bless

  4. Thanks Rigg!

    I’ll be waiting for that post!

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