Skip to comments.Fewer receive sacraments
Posted on 05/01/2009 2:41:27 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
Compared with previous generations, the youngest of today's adult Catholics are less likely to have celebrated the sacraments that provide the foundation of the faith.
A growing minority of self-identified Catholic adults haven't made their first reconciliation, received their First Communion or been confirmed, according to research from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
The sacraments are at the heart of what it means to be Catholic, said Mark Gray, a CARA researcher. If fewer parents are anchoring their children in Catholicism through the sacraments, the result could be a smaller church.
"To the degree (that children) don't celebrate these sacraments, they're probably unlikely to be Catholic as adults," Gray said.
The number of people leaving Catholicism outnumbers those coming in by a 4-1 ratio, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Still, the number of Catholics in the U.S. has remained stable because of the immigration of Latinos. The U.S. has 69.1 million Catholics, about 23 percent of the population.
Some busy families are choosing to cut faith activities, said the Rev. Jerry Rodenfels, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany.
"I'm somewhat saddened that the religious education of young people has become secondary to other things in life, especially sports," he said.
Still, because the congregation is growing, his church saw its largest-ever group of children -- 136 -- receive their First Communions on April 18 and Saturday. Traditionally, Catholic children receive their First Communion in the spring of the second grade.
It's up to the parents, of course, to ensure that children receive the sacraments.
But Catholics younger than 66 are less likely than older Catholics to strongly agree that sacraments are essential to their faith, the CARA research found.
In a 2008 survey, CARA asked 1,007 adult Catholics in the U.S. whether they had received the sacraments of reconciliation, when sins are confessed; confirmation, which represents a deepening of the faith; and Communion, the reception of the body and blood of Christ.
Of those 66 or older, 99 percent said yes for Communion, 98 percent for reconciliation and 95 percent for confirmation.
Millennial Catholics ages 18 to 26 were still likely to have celebrated such milestones, but the numbers were lower: 85 percent for Communion, 84 percent for reconciliation and 69 percent for confirmation.
For many Catholic parents, the question of sacraments is nonnegotiable.
Monica Fasanelli of Westerville grew up a Methodist without a strong connection to a church and converted to Catholicism after meeting her husband. She made sure her 8-year-old daughter, Elaina, made her First Communion at the Church of the Resurrection on April 18.
Parents who don't put an emphasis on the sacraments are teaching their children that those milestones are not important, she said.
"They'll fall away from the church as they get older because it's not a big deal," she said.
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus doesn't have complete records showing how many people have received the sacraments.
What numbers are available show a decline, particularly in the first sacrament of baptism. In 1950, when the diocese had 108,500 Catholics, 4,088 infants were baptized.
In 2008, the number of Catholics in the diocese had risen to 257,374, but the number of babies baptized had fallen to 2,737.
In 2000, 4,214 Catholics in the diocese received their First Communion; in 2008, 3,627.
The news isn't all bad for the church. Six in 10 Catholics polled by CARA said the sacraments were at least somewhat essential to their faith.
Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a month, the millennials were about as likely as the 66-or-older group to believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist.
The decline in sacramental participation is another sign of the detachment that has led to a drop in church attendance, Gray said.
Attendance for both Catholic and mainline Protestant churches has fallen since the 1960s, although that has leveled off in the past 20 years.
Mainline Protestant churches are placing more emphasis on the sacrament of Communion by making it available more often. Though Communion is part of every Catholic Mass, Protestant denominations generally offer it less frequently, such as monthly.
Faith, as practiced in the sacraments, provides children with a moral code, said Johana Maisonave, whose 9-year-old daughter, Tatiana, made her First Communion at the Church of the Resurrection on April 18.
"How do we keep them from being mean to other kids? How do we keep them from stealing toys?" she said.
She and her husband talked about what made them behave as kids.
"Pretty much we came to a common denominator," she said. "We were in church. We were scared that God was watching."
To any Catholic Freeper Parents who have NOT given their children the GIFT of the SACRAMENTS and Mass EVERY Sunday......DO IT NOW!!! Their ETERNAL SOULS...and YOURS DEPEND ON IT! The future of our country depends on it!!
Expect the RCIA programs around the country in the years ahead to get a little busier. Just this Easter, 9 came into the Church.
Ours is a small parish in a small town, but we had about the same at Easter. It’s always a thrill to me. I’m a lifelong Catholic, the son of two converts. It’s especially neat to me because of that, I guess.
Actually, over 150,000 came into The Church (within the US. God only knows across the world).
But 9 in your parish is fantastic!!
BTTT for that!!
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Sacraments: Vehicles of Grace [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Confirmation: Grace for Fullness of Faith and Life [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Eucharist: In the Presence of the Lord Himself [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Receiving the Lord in Holy Communion [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Rising Again to New Life [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Anointing of the Sick: Comfort and Healing [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Holy Orders: Priests of the New Sacrifice [Ecumenical]
25 baptized at our Church
20 into Full Communion.
It was a wonderful evening.
Sacraments Today: Belief and Practice among US. Catholics
Fifty six 9th graders confirmed at our Mass last week. My niece makes her first communion tomorrow :) . Its the first girl I get to see do it. My 3 sons, her 2 sons already done, my other 2 nieces live too far away so I did not see theirs.
My middle son enters seminary minor next Sept and my youngest made his confirmation this past Jan. My oldest gets married this coming Jan. Whole lotta sacraments going on around here LOL.
The Church is cleansing itself now; pruning if you will. The faithful that remain and do take the sacraments and practice their faith will cause a bumper crop of unimaginable proportions in the coming years. This is unavoidable and extremely healthy. The witnesses rising up in the next generation will be astounding..........
**My middle son enters seminary minor next Sept **
Wow! What a blessing!
It is a blessing, indeed. He blessed me with 3 sons, I never even imagined!
Fewer receive sacraments >>>
kind of reminds me of the protestant and evangelical denominations that take advantage of only 2 of the 7 sacraments. It’s a shame.
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Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
At least in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, things seem to be moving forward apace!
Bravo! I think its all hooey to discourage the Church. Pews are packed weekly in my parish, as well as another one I attend on occasion (they have a smells and bells Mass that I just love, and my kids do too). I am just not seeing it, much as I hear many on here say that neither are they.
My son went to WYD in Australia last summer, it was pretty packed for a slowing economy as well. 4 MILLION mourners at PJPII funeral? IN Rome?
I just don’t see it. It is like the MSM’s portrayal of global warming, O’s popularity and the tea parties. Don’t believe it.