Saints We Love

Friday, July 22, 2011


Catholic League president Bill Donohue 

Comments on new survey data profiling Catholicism:

All we ever hear from the wild-eyed critics of the Catholic Church, including the dissidents within, is that the Church had better "get with it" and change its teachings on abortion, homosexuality and women's ordination. Yet it is precisely those religious institutions that are the most liberal on these issues—the mainline Protestant denominations—that are collapsing. Not so the Catholic Church. Indeed, its numbers are going north while the mainline denominations are going south.

The latest findings by the "Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership" project, a collaborative effort with Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, are illuminating. In the last 40 years, the Catholic population has increased by 75 percent; it has grown by 50 percent since 1990. More important, Catholic attendance at Mass is up 15 percent since 2000. And in the last five years, contributions have increased by 14 percent. It is also important to note that there has been a 40 percent increase in Latinos in the Church over the past five years.

Shedding more light on the statistics is a study released a few months ago by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion. Its "Landscape Survey" found that of those Catholics who have left the Church, roughly half became unaffiliated while the other half became Protestant. Regarding the latter half, only 23 percent did so because of the Church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality; only 16 percent left because of the way women are treated. Importantly, two-thirds of these Catholics elected to join a Protestant evangelical church.

In other words, disaffected Catholics who left for another religion opted to join a more conservative church. That they did not run down the block in search of a mainline denomination—one that entertains the liberal agenda on issues governing sexuality and women—is telling.

It's time some people took a hard look at the data and made some hard choices. This is great news for the Catholic Church.


Anonymous said...

happy sigh...
Thanks Terry Fenwick MNE, you're the best!

Pam (Rose) Beeler said...

Never played the numbers-game when I was in Protestant ministry. Not sure if it's always best to focus on them now that I'm Catholic. BUT ... if I were gonna play ... these would be some awfully fine stats to see!! Love you, Miss Terry, and hope that your day is as blessed as you make ours! <3 <3 <3

Allison said...

I don't think everyone who criticises the church is "wildeyed." In addition, it is important to look at the drop-off rate: what percentage of kids raised Catholics continue with the faith into adulthood? In my husband and my case, there were 8 of us. Four still are Catholic, four are not. We are not atypical.
I agree the solution would not be to water down Church teachings, but looking at numbers alone would make one think all is rosy. The fact is, immigrants enrich our church and our numbers. But within a generation or two, will they still be practicing?

Allison said...

(P.S. I don't mean my husband and I have 8 children. What I was trying to say is that we both come from families of four children, for a total of 8)