There's been a decline in attendance at Mass that is unique to (and problematic for) the Catholic Church
I was force-fed Catholicism from birth, and never liked the taste very much. The older I got the worse it tasted. I stopped going to church on a regular basis about six month out of high school. I went a few times in the military, mostly to get out of other details. I was in a very dark place with about three months left in Vietnam when I listened to an idiot priest give us a 'kill a commie for Christ' pep talk. According to him, we were among the chosen, defending mother church against the godless. Someone there might have bought that, but the great majority of us only wanted to survive and go home. That was the last time I ever attended a church service as any kind of a believer. I walked away, never looked back, and never regretted that decision for a second.
This former catholic tried and tried. I was active in teen groups that were catholic. I got married and my ex and I tried to attend every week we even joined a weekly catholic version of Bible study, to no avail. The best parts was interaction with other lukewarm Catholics who seemed interested in making life around them better. I believe my faith was genuine for a long time and my progressive views have come from the social justice teachings the church had back in late 70s and 80s. In the final in the final analysis; I went because of my mom, mass was boring and related only in simplest forms to my life, miracles we can see now are really just exaggerated stories with oral aggrandizement by those who have self interest. My own child’s sexual abuse from a relative and watching airplanes fly into building nailed the religion door shut for me. Yes my life is better tho my family connection will never be the same again. The political and religious environment now confirms my leaving as the right choice.
The born-again "pro-life" ammosexual Lauren Boobert is furious that Colorado just passed 3 bills that support healthcare. The insane gun nut calls them "a total disgrace."
Uh no, darlin.' That's you. You're projecting again.
Based on what I see on the graph above, this has been an ongoing trend for DECADES, so I suspect that this has less to do with 9/11 or the internet or even the priest child abuse scandal than it does with a slow but sure disaffection of people from a belief system that is excessively strict and a hierarchy that is largely unresponsive to its congregants. Further study is clearly necessary to understand the real mechanics behind this phenomenon.
Still ... it's damned good news.
If some people leave the catholic church for their positions on abortion and LGBTQI+ people why evangelicals gain more people (chart 2) ? Does their brand of brainwashing that better ?
I see Disney has decided to cancel plans for a new campus near Orlando. The plan would've netted $17 billion and created 13,000 jobs over the next decade. Looks like all that will likely go to another state.
See what you got yourself and your state into by picking a fight with a mouse, DeathSentence? And you want to do for the country what you've done for Florida?
I think there’s some element of growth as a society at play here as well. The knowledge we are accruing as a whole really debunks a lot of the claims of Catholicism (Christianity as a whole as well), especially the unique Catholic traditions. We know that transubstatiation isn’t real, we can prove saying magic words over bread and wine doesn’t make it suddenly become flesh and blood, but the Catholic Church continues to insist it is real. While other sects do communion, they don’t cleave so tightly to the fantasy of it actually turning into Jesus. To others, it’s simply a metaphor.
Society sees a whole host of Catholic ideas as backward, a lot of what Hemant mentions in the article, and other less obvious things as well.
I do remember a lot of gore during mass and church functions from when I did attend. There’s still a culture of gruesome punishments for sins involved. The crucifix is prominently displayed with blood and pain being the focus. We were shown movies where folks were routinely decapitated by guillotine or drawn and quartered, gutted and all that. And the church doling out these punishments. Catholicism is also renown for its guilt. Folks, especially republicans, are averse to feeling guilty lately. Just look at how the right is responding to the imaginary threat from CRT, whining about making their children feel guilty over slavery is the worst. So maybe the guilt inherent in Catholicism isn’t the leverage it once was.
Or it could be the kneeling and repetitive prayer. I guess I have a bigger issue with the RCC than I thought, even though its sexual abuse problem is enough.
When I was a nice, obedient Catholic boy, back during the Pleistocene, it was official policy that one had to be a "practicing Catholic," which meant not only attending Mass on Sundays and "holy days of obligation," but also kicking in money at each and every Mass. Each parishioner received a pack of donation envelopes at the start of every year, and each pack of envelopes were individually numbered for each Mass AND coded for each individual worshiper, so the priests could keep track who was "practicing." If you didn't cough up enough dough, and regularly enough, you were on the skids, church-wise. No church weddings, no baptisms for your kids , no funerals, no burials on "consecrated ground," no nothing from the church that purportedly loved you to bits.
To give a concrete example of this: My mother suffered with cancer for several years before she died. For the last years of her life, she simply wasn't able to leave the house for Mass (or anything else but medical stuff). The parish priests were perfectly well aware of her condition, and they made several "pastoral visits" to "comfort" her. But when she died, they checked the books, "discovered" that she hadn't been a practicing Catholic and refused to give her a Catholic funeral. Can you say scum-sucking pigs?
I don't know if that policy has changed, but if it's still in place there must be a hell of a lot of, er, non-practicing Catholics running around. I wonder how they cope when they want church recognition for some milestone or other. If, on the other hand, Holy Mother Church no longer extorts moolah from her children in that way, I guess it's no surprise that the bishops are so relentless in their pursuit of our tax dollars. Not to mention the wildly lucrative tax breaks they get.
Thirty years ago, I was a Catholic seminarian.
Twenty-five years ago, I quit identifying as Catholic, and moved to the denomination of my wife, who was a pastor herself.
My wife left the ministry shortly thereafter, but we both remained active in the liberal denomination we were part of.
Today, we practice nothing at all, and I know I believe in nothing at all. She still holds on to some element of faith, but rejects what Christianity has become in this country.
Because we have seen Christianity ally itself with the wrong side of almost every issue.
I read article after article where Christians of every variety bemoan the accelerating decline of their religion and offer their explanations and their remedies. They cite the usual hypotheses such as sex or money scandals, association with extremist politics, the promotion of every bigotry there is, the advent of the internet, the pandemic, the general decline of their version of morality as part of the approaching End Times, on and on.
While some of these things are either partial contributors and others are simply symptoms of the decline, they all seem to miss (or ignore) something so basic to religion that focusing on these things is like thinking the brown spots on the leaves of a deeply sick tree are the cause of the sickness. No, look to the roots.
I think that there has been a long and slow decline in general belief in supernaturalism. A more honest synonym would be "magic," since that sounds as childish as it really is. Magical beings with magical powers, magical people with magical abilities, and magical objects with magical influences are all childish fantasies, and there has been a general trend in civilization to, as I once read in an old book somewhere, "put away childish things."
The gradual drift away from magic is uneven in both society and in individuals. Many people eschew beliefs in astrology, Tarot, ghosts, hauntings, ESP, all sorts of "energies," "vibrations," or other woo woo whatnot, but they retain their belief in magical gods with magical powers. Other people focus their incomplete skepticism on disbelieving in gods, but they still hang on to some of the other above-mentioned magics.
For individuals and for our species as a whole, growing up is slow, difficult, and spotty. But my point is that the old wall-to-wall carpet of humanity's belief in all things magic has worn thin and has big holes in it. Eventually, after a few more generations there will be mostly clean, bare floor with just a few tattered scraps of magic left in the less trodden corners of our world.
I was raised catholic, and stopped going to church sometime during high school. The only times I've stepped foot inside a church in over 45 years was for weddings and funerals. And while there, I do not play Sit, Stand, and Kneel.
I was fortunate enough to be spared the mind-plague of Catholicism, despite both sides of my family tree being Catholic. I've been to many Catholic services because, yeah, huge Catholic family, but not once did I ever feel like I was missing out on something important. The whole affair always felt weird to me- like it belonged in another time. It was like walking through a portal to the 1300s, and nobody but me could see how ridiculously anachronistic it all was.
I mean, really- a cracker and a sip of wine turning into flesh and blood? I lied about having undergone a first communion once because I was curious about the silly little ritual... all I could think was: 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘢 𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘳. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘦. 𝘞𝘦'𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦. 𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥'𝘴 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘯𝘢𝘤𝘬? And the seating! 𝘏𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯'𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘰𝘵𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘤𝘶𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴? 𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬? 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘰𝘰𝘯𝘴!
The architecture of some of the bigger churches always struck me as really cool, though. I love Gothic architecture; the cleverness of being able to build such complicated structures out of simple materials was always impressive. Still... I could never help the feeling that the buildings would be better served as libraries. They'd be perfect for long, tall stacks with those cool rolling ladders... plenty of space overhead for a second or even a third story, some spiral staircases between the levels... and hey, they already had the great idea to make stained glass windows of the characters in the stories (maybe pick a few 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 books for inspiration next time, for an improvement)! But no. They only ever had one book in those buildings, and it was the most boring one.
I've since learned that several of my cousins walked away from Catholicism... I can't blame them. I think I probably would have found my way to the exit, too, even if I'd been raised in the religion like they were- I just got to skip a few steps. Best gift my parents ever gave me: a life without the Church.
O/T: Graham: "The FBI Disobeyed God’s Command On Lying"
I would suspect there are a number of influences at play on this issue, and this is a YMMV situation when examined closely.
The RCC hasn't exactly been covering itself in glory in recent years for a wide range of reasons, it's been consistently doubling down on the wrong side of virtually every modern-day social issue available. For a church that preaches compassion to practice such cruelty on a frequent basis seems like a non-sequitur, but there we have it. I would also point out that the insane number of child molestation scandals is likely making attendance far worse since even the most hard line Catholic parent might think twice about bringing their young child to church with them. All of this was more or less observed above, none of it should come as a shock.
I would, however, add one more thing. So far as I'm aware, many local congregations of Catholics are in blue collar work situations, where they may not be the ones to dictate their own schedules. Most of the jobs I've worked over the last 20ish years or so demanded weekend work, specifically Sundays, on a regular basis; getting the day off was not happening no matter the reason. (As a reminder, I couldn't get time off work at my last job despite the fact that BOTH of my parents were hospitalized and dying.) If I were a betting woman, I would guess that at least some Catholics wind up in a job that demands they work Sundays and when the sky doesn't fall on their heads, they just never bother to go back. Yes, I am saying that work is interfering with church attendance here even if I don't have the numbers to back that up at this time.
Should be interesting to see how it all plays out in any event.
Cardinal Glick tried to make changes. He really did try...
(love the fact that a catholic clergyman is being played by an atheist) :)
I never understood the appeal of Catholicism. As a kid, I went once with a friend and it freaked me out. I thought it was scary. As an adult I once went to a Pentecostal church and that was even worse. Pure bedlam. I felt like people were literally insane as they screamed in tongues. Like I was in some parallel universe of Clockwork Orange.