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Archive for April 5th, 2008

Much has been written about the Pew Survey and the loss of the number of Catholics in the USA. If they qualified as a separate denomination, the Americans who have deserted the Catholic Church of their childhood would constitute the third-largest religious group in the country, with 10.1% of the population.  For every convert to the Catholic church, it losses 4. However, there are some positive numbers as well which bode well for the church.

CARA Reflections on Pew’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey 

None of these other Christian churches has had as much success as the Catholic Church in keeping those raised in the faith in the pews as adults. The Pew study indicates that the Catholic Church has retained 68 percent of those who grew up Catholic. If one accepts the notion that changing from one Protestant denomination to another is not a real change, the Pew report still indicates that 11 out of 100 adults in the United States were raised in any Protestant denomination and no longer identifies with any Protestant denomination today. If one includes changes between Protestant denominations as real changes, one in four U.S. adults no longer selfidentifies with the Protestant denomination in which they were raised.

The Latino population was underestimated in the survey. The number of Latinos in the Landscape Survey who identify themselves as Catholic (58%) is considerably lower than in a major survey of Latinos the Forum conducted in 2006 with the Pew Hispanic Research Center, where more than two-thirds (68%) identified as Catholic” (p. 41)

This would increase the Catholic numbers by 5% overall. CARA’s survey holds that 2% of adults convert to Catholicism whereas Pew says 2.6%. I’d tend to go with the lower figure.Thirty-eight percent of those who said they were raised Catholic and later left the faith said they stopped considering themselves to be Catholic before reaching the age of 18 and 6.6 percent said they did so before even reaching the age of 7, which is often used as the standard within the Catholic Church for the age of reason/discretion. Only 13.6 percent of former Catholics say they stopped considering themselves to be Catholic after the age of 35.

The point in a childs life where they become independant and determine to get married is when people make the choice to stay or leave the church. The teen years is when we have to get them more involved and better religious education. The latter point IMO mean to teach teens how to apply how to incorporate Christian principles to everyday life. I think secular society is a major factor in the losses. The lure of the material world requires sacrifices for the young and instead of calling our kids to a high standard, we lower expectations and in fact lose more folks.

The most interesting was the fact that protestant members changing to other protestant churches was 44%. That is unreal. People are either looking for the “True Church” or they are looking for a church which fits their values which naturally is what the true church would hold if it existed.

 

 

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