Skip to comments.The Catholic Church: Smaller and More Conservative
Posted on 03/10/2013 1:07:48 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
Younger Catholics are more conservative on many issues than their older counterparts, according to some data buried in a new NYT/CBS news poll. In absolute numbers the poll found that the majority of US Catholics want the next Pope to change Church teachings on hot button issues of gender and sexuality. But the really interesting news turned up when the numbers were broken down by age.
As other blogs have noticed, support for female priests is at 72 percent among Catholics aged 45-64, but at 68 percent among those 18-44. Only 11 percent of older respondents oppose birth control, but that number ticks up to 15 percent among the young. Support for eliminating the requirement for priestly celibacy falls by a whopping 15 percent from the older to the younger generation.
The complete survey results found here contain some even more impressive cross-time comparisons. The last time this poll was taken, in 1994, 34 percent of respondents said they believed that in the Eucharist the bread and wine really become the body and blood of Christ, while 63 percent said they thought the Eucharist was merely symbolic. Respondents have become more orthodox in the past twenty years. In the recent poll 40 percent now say they believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, while 58 percent checked off the symbolic box.
This poll isnt the last word on contemporary Catholic attitudes. It had a small sample size (580 Catholics), and 30 percent of sample are nominal Catholics, reporting that they never attend mass or attend it only a few times a year. But if the generational breakdown holds in the larger population, it points to some interesting times ahead for the Catholic Church.
The reason younger respondents are more conservative than the Boomers is likely because the rise of the non-affiliated nones has picked off the more liberal Catholics among Gen Y. Boomers unhappy with the Churchs teachings often remain in the Church, but in the next generation those with more liberal instincts tend to leave the faith altogether.
In the coming decades, then, were likely to see a smaller, but more fervent Catholic Church. The cultural Catholic will increasingly become an endangered species. However, that smaller church will probably grow: Religious people have more kids, and people are drawn to communities that have strong beliefs.
thanks for the post.
I think we need to bring back the “Cultural Catholics.” I don’t like the idea of the Church of the Pure.
The big problem is that we have lost the cultural Catholics. There are many full-bore Catholic laypeople to whom this is very important, but there have always been the marginal folks...however, they knew right and wrong and they did think that, at some point, God was probably going to ask them for an accounting of their lives. There was a point of contact. Their culture might at some point - maybe on their deathbeds - call them to account.
There will never be a Church of 100% full-bore Catholics and I don’t think Our Lord demanded one. We need room for the Cultural Catholic, because at some point, when push comes to shove, this person may be reawakened. But that means that we have to rebuild Catholic culture.
What we need are orthodox bishops and priests and laypeople who actually understand Catholic culture, are willing to kick the Spirit of Vatican II out of the door on its backside, and get back to truth, beauty and piety. That attracts, and even the cultural Catholic will respond at some point.
But if purists make us too small, we’re going to lose even the tiny bit of clout that we have in the secular world. Think twice before asking for a “smaller, purer Church.”
The cultural Catholic will increasingly become an endangered species. However, that smaller church will probably grow: Religious people have more kids, and people are drawn to communities that have strong beliefs.
Probably right. The lost tribes will just be dissolved. But this has always been the case. If the Catholic immigrants had remained faithful, this would be a Catholic nation.
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>If the Catholic immigrants had remained faithful, this would be a Catholic nation.<
But instead, it’s slowly becoming a muslim nation very much like Europe.
“I think we need to bring back the Cultural Catholics. I dont like the idea of the Church of the Pure.”
The old style cultural Catholic never asked the Church to change her teaching. They typically knew that they weren’t living up to code, and had a general intention to get the things right later ( marriage, children, deathbed). They also expected their Dem ward healer to not butt heads with the Bishop.
Cultural Catholics at least had some awareness of the Faith and they knew they weren’t living the perfect life.
Also, in those days, there weren’t a lot of major problems with political parties: they may have had different opinions of how to do achieve the goals, but they were both basically pro-American and weren’t trying to impinge on the rights of Catholics.
The big break for the Democrat Party was the behavior of the Church after Vatican II, when the offical Church abandoned the religion and then announced that the whole thing was about “social justice,” a leftist concept which wedded the Church to the Democratic Party and also, strangely enough, abandoned the Cultural Catholics. It gave the leftist Democrats free reign to do whatever they wanted, and the “Cultural Catholics” just got dragged along.
Bring back orthodox teaching and practice. Excommunicate people like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and make people realize that there actually are some moral standards and there is a price to be paid for violating them.
The perfect folks here may not believe it, but even “Cultural Catholics” have souls, and their souls should be saved. They are not an embarrassment or a burden. And if we don’t have them, pretty soon, the Muslims will.
Think about it.
It is slowly becoming a secular nation as its Protestant culture dissolves. The Muslims will become an insoluable mass here as in Europe.
The unknown is how many bishops are Catholic-lite. I am reminded of the Arian heresy. It was never a fight between the disciples of Arius and Athanasius and his ilk, because there were the semi-arians who budged on the central issues.
I predict a growing effort that will be put at evangilization and in a special way, via the use of social medai.
That is why look at a growing importance in “evangelization” starting with the new Pope in the west.
Interesting point about the liberal abandonment of the cultural Catholic. The liberals dumped all those ceremonies and icons of the different national churches which helped create a since of unity. This tabula rasa approach is the mark of the radical. Radicals are all fanatics no matter how sophisticated they may seem.
Do not be surprised that a new Pope will be coming from the global south, where the faith is booming and could the starting point to bringing about witnessing to both for Jesus and the faith.
Our bishops have improved enormously in the last few years. BXVI is responsible for that, along with the nuncios appointed by him, but the person who really deserves a lot of credit is Cdl Ouellet, who is head of the Congregation for Bishops.
A lot of people don’t realize that the reason the Inquisition was so well accepted in Spain and got such power was that, as a result of the Muslim invasions, many Catholics lived in dioceses that hadn’t had a resident bishop for decades if not centuries and once the Muslims were vanquished, Catholics really wanted a restoration of the Faith.
It got out of hand and became very politicized, actually because the Inquisitors were made independent of the local religious authorities, a move meant to make them objective and not beholden to anybody. Unfortunately, this backfired and by making them very powerful, made them really attractive to the political forces, which which they ended up working hand-in-glove.
Bishops are very important, and I thihnk we’re just beginning to realize that now.
I wish our government would follow the 75 and out rule. As someone above that age, I know I have so much less on the ball than I had twenty years ago, and I am in good health and my mother lived to be over 100 and still had her wits about her.
I have zero percent support for female priests, Mass with the priest as performer facing the audience, contraception and same sex marriage. Where is the most conservative Catholic church I can find? I am afraid to ask my priest, he will get irate. Most Catholics live with double mindedness and I don’t care to.
You have FR mail.
There’s an excellent FSSP (Latin Mass) parish, St. Rose Phillipine Duchesne, in Kansas City, KS, if you’re near there. The just bought a disused Lutheran church and renovated it into their new home.