Skip to comments.The hidden exodus: Catholics becoming Protestants
Posted on 05/17/2012 5:40:57 PM PDT by Gamecock
Any other institution that lost one-third of its members would want to know why.....
The number of people who have left the Catholic church is huge.
We all have heard stories about why people leave. Parents share stories about their children. Academics talk about their students. Everyone has a friend who has left.
While personal experience can be helpful, social science research forces us to look beyond our circle of acquaintances to see what is going on in the whole church.
The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Centers Forum on Religion & Public Life has put hard numbers on the anecdotal evidence: One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a separate denomination, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists. One of three people who were raised Catholic no longer identifies as Catholic.
Any other institution that lost one-third of its members would want to know why. But the U.S. bishops have never devoted any time at their national meetings to discussing the exodus. Nor have they spent a dime trying to find out why it is happening.
Thankfully, although the U.S. bishops have not supported research on people who have left the church, the Pew Center has.
Pews data shows that those leaving the church are not homogenous. They can be divided into two major groups: those who become unaffiliated and those who become Protestant. Almost half of those leaving the church become unaffiliated and almost half become Protestant. Only about 10 percent of ex-Catholics join non-Christian religions. This article will focus on Catholics who have become Protestant. I am not saying that those who become unaffiliated are not important; I am leaving that discussion to another time.
Why do people leave the Catholic church to become Protestant? Liberal Catholics will tell you that Catholics are leaving because they disagree with the churchs teaching on birth control, women priests, divorce, the bishops interference in American politics, etc. Conservatives blame Vatican II, liberal priests and nuns, a permissive culture and the churchs social justice agenda.
One of the reasons there is such disagreement is that we tend to think that everyone leaves for the same reason our friends, relatives and acquaintances have left. We fail to recognize that different people leave for different reasons. People who leave to join Protestant churches do so for different reasons than those who become unaffiliated. People who become evangelicals are different from Catholics who become members of mainline churches.
The principal reasons given by people who leave the church to become Protestant are that their spiritual needs were not being met in the Catholic church (71 percent) and they found a religion they like more (70 percent). Eighty-one percent of respondents say they joined their new church because they enjoy the religious service and style of worship of their new faith.
In other words, the Catholic church has failed to deliver what people consider fundamental products of religion: spiritual sustenance and a good worship service. And before conservatives blame the new liturgy, only 11 percent of those leaving complained that Catholicism had drifted too far from traditional practices such as the Latin Mass.
Dissatisfaction with how the church deals with spiritual needs and worship services dwarfs any disagreements over specific doctrines. While half of those who became Protestants say they left because they stopped believing in Catholic teaching, specific questions get much lower responses. Only 23 percent said they left because of the churchs teaching on abortion and homosexuality; only 23 percent because of the churchs teaching on divorce; only 21 percent because of the rule that priests cannot marry; only 16 percent because of the churchs teaching on birth control; only 16 percent because of the way the church treats women; only 11 percent because they were unhappy with the teachings on poverty, war and the death penalty.
The data shows that disagreement over specific doctrines is not the main reason Catholics become Protestants. We also have lots of survey data showing that many Catholics who stay disagree with specific church teachings. Despite what theologians and bishops think, doctrine is not that important either to those who become Protestant or to those who stay Catholic.
People are not becoming Protestants because they disagree with specific Catholic teachings; people are leaving because the church does not meet their spiritual needs and they find Protestant worship service better.
Nor are the people becoming Protestants lazy or lax Christians. In fact, they attend worship services at a higher rate than those who remain Catholic. While 42 percent of Catholics who stay attend services weekly, 63 percent of Catholics who become Protestants go to church every week. That is a 21 percentage-point difference.
Catholics who became Protestant also claim to have a stronger faith now than when they were children or teenagers. Seventy-one percent say their faith is very strong, while only 35 percent and 22 percent reported that their faith was very strong when they were children and teenagers, respectively. On the other hand, only 46 percent of those who are still Catholic report their faith as very strong today as an adult.
Thus, both as believers and as worshipers, Catholics who become Protestants are statistically better Christians than those who stay Catholic. We are losing the best, not the worst.
Some of the common explanations of why people leave do not pan out in the data. For example, only 21 percent of those becoming Protestant mention the sex abuse scandal as a reason for leaving. Only 3 percent say they left because they became separated or divorced.
If you believed liberals, most Catholics who leave the church would be joining mainline churches, like the Episcopal church. In fact, almost two-thirds of former Catholics who join a Protestant church join an evangelical church. Catholics who become evangelicals and Catholics who join mainline churches are two very distinct groups. We need to take a closer look at why each leaves the church.
Fifty-four percent of both groups say that they just gradually drifted away from Catholicism. Both groups also had almost equal numbers (82 percent evangelicals, 80 percent mainline) saying they joined their new church because they enjoyed the worship service. But compared to those who became mainline Protestants, a higher percentage of those becoming evangelicals said they left because their spiritual needs were not being met (78 percent versus 57 percent) and that they had stopped believing in Catholic teaching (62 percent versus 20 percent). They also cited the churchs teaching on the Bible (55 percent versus 16 percent) more frequently as a reason for leaving. Forty-six percent of these new evangelicals felt the Catholic church did not view the Bible literally enough. Thus, for those leaving to become evangelicals, spiritual sustenance, worship services and the Bible were key. Only 11 percent were unhappy with the churchs teachings on poverty, war, and the death penalty Ñ the same percentage as said they were unhappy with the churchs treatment of women. Contrary to what conservatives say, ex-Catholics are not flocking to the evangelicals because they think the Catholic church is politically too liberal. They are leaving to get spiritual nourishment from worship services and the Bible.
Looking at the responses of those who join mainline churches also provides some surprising results. For example, few (20 percent) say they left because they stopped believing in Catholic teachings. However, when specific issues were mentioned in the questionnaire, more of those joining mainline churches agreed that these issues influenced their decision to leave the Catholic church. Thirty-one percent cited unhappiness with the churchs teaching on abortion and homosexuality, women, and divorce and remarriage, and 26 percent mentioned birth control as a reason for leaving. Although these numbers are higher than for Catholics who become evangelicals, they are still dwarfed by the number (57 percent) who said their spiritual needs were not met in the Catholic church.
Thus, those becoming evangelicals were more generically unhappy than specifically unhappy with church teaching, while those who became mainline Protestant tended to be more specifically unhappy than generically unhappy with church teaching. The unhappiness with the churchs teaching on poverty, war and the death penalty was equally low for both groups (11 percent for evangelicals; 10 percent for mainline).
What stands out in the data on Catholics who join mainline churches is that they tend to cite personal or familiar reasons for leaving more frequently than do those who become evangelicals. Forty-four percent of the Catholics who join mainline churches say that they married someone of the faith they joined, a number that trumps all doctrinal issues. Only 22 percent of those who join the evangelicals cite this reason.
Perhaps after marrying a mainline Christian and attending his or her churchs services, the Catholic found the mainline services more fulfilling than the Catholic service. And even if they were equally attractive, perhaps the exclusion of the Protestant spouse from Catholic Communion makes the more welcoming mainline church attractive to an ecumenical couple.
Those joining mainline communities also were more likely to cite dissatisfaction of the Catholic clergy (39 percent) than were those who became evangelical (23 percent). Those who join mainline churches are looking for a less clerically dominated church.
Lessons from the data
There are many lessons that we can learn from the Pew data, but I will focus on only three.
First, those who are leaving the church for Protestant churches are more interested in spiritual nourishment than doctrinal issues. Tinkering with the wording of the creed at Mass is not going to help. No one except the Vatican and the bishops cares whether Jesus is one in being with the Father or consubstantial with the Father. That the hierarchy thinks this is important shows how out of it they are.
While the hierarchy worries about literal translations of the Latin text, people are longing for liturgies that touch the heart and emotions. More creativity with the liturgy is needed, and that means more flexibility must be allowed. If you build it, they will come; if you do not, they will find it elsewhere. The changes that will go into effect this Advent will make matters worse, not better.
Second, thanks to Pope Pius XII, Catholic scripture scholars have had decades to produce the best thinking on scripture in the world. That Catholics are leaving to join evangelical churches because of the church teaching on the Bible is a disgrace. Too few homilists explain the scriptures to their people. Few Catholics read the Bible.
The church needs a massive Bible education program. The church needs to acknowledge that understanding the Bible is more important than memorizing the catechism. If we could get Catholics to read the Sunday scripture readings each week before they come to Mass, it would be revolutionary. If you do not read and pray the scriptures, you are not an adult Christian. Catholics who become evangelicals understand this.
Finally, the Pew data shows that two-thirds of Catholics who become Protestants do so before they reach the age of 24. The church must make a preferential option for teenagers and young adults or it will continue to bleed. Programs and liturgies that cater to their needs must take precedence over the complaints of fuddy-duddies and rubrical purists.
Current religious education programs and teen groups appear to have little effect on keeping these folks Catholic, according to the Pew data, although those who attend a Catholic high school do appear to stay at a higher rate. More research is needed to find out what works and what does not.
The Catholic church is hemorrhaging members. It needs to acknowledge this and do more to understand why. Only if we acknowledge the exodus and understand it will we be in a position to do something about it.
Do you partake of both the blood and body of Christ or just some infrequent symbolic gesture? Do you wash anyone's feet as was commanded at the last supper?
We have no more right to infer that all are obliged to drink of the cup because the Apostles were commanded to drink of it, than we have to suppose that the laity are required or allowed to confect the bread and wine because the power of doing so was at the last Supper conferred on the Apostles or required and allowed to bind and loose sins because that too was given to the Apostles?
The charge of withholding the cup by some Protestants is completely disingenuous because in their own practice and in their own doctrines have destroyed the intrinsic virtue of the Sacrament by giving to their followers nothing but symbolic bread and wine. The difference between them and Catholics is that under either form we give the entire substance, the Real Presence, while under two forms Protestants give only the shadow.
Again, not only are you at odds with Catholicism, but with nearly all of Christendom too. Protestant theologian Gottfried Leibnitz wrote his Systema theologicum; "It cannot be denied that Christ is received entire by virtue of concomitance, under each species; nor is His flesh separated from His blood." [Systema Theol., p. 250.] Martin Luther himself was so clearly convinced of the completeness of the Real Presence in both species that he was an uncompromising advocate of communion under only one kind. Luther wrote: "If any Council, should decree or permit both species, we would by no means acquiesce; but, in spite of the Council and its statute, we would use one form, or neither, and never both." [De formula Missae.]
Now I ask that you drop this inane line of argument because the longer it goes the more foolish and vindictive you appear. Remember, this is not about who is right, it is about what is right.
Peace be with you.
I take communion. It is what it is.
Do you wash anyone's feet as was commanded at the last supper?
The Catholic church doesn't do that as part of the communion service either. Talk about inane.
The rest of the argument to justify the Church's disobedience to the clear instructions of Christ is nothing but rationalization and justification, which goes to show that it can excuse anything and that there is nothing, no matter how outlandish or outrageous or disobedient, that some Catholics will not condemn as long as the church hierarchy decides it.
"He is only a CINO."
This does not have the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat (considering what does, this is seen as irrelevant by some traditionalists)
"He is only speaking as a private theologian, and (according to the interpretation of another private theologian) is contradicting extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the church there is no salvation"...") or Vatican Two's interpretation of it.
Which means different official things (even as to it being infallible) to different Roman Catholics. And as every papal or conciliar definition or condemnation leaves a certain margin for interpretation, private judgment has to complete what public pronouncements left unstated.
Once a thesis or treatise is censured "theologians employ themselves in determining what precisely it is that is condemned in that thesis or treatise; and doubtless in most cases they do so with success, but that demonstration is not de fide." (Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith, Professor at Fordham University and Professor Emeritus at The Catholic University of America, [Sapientia Press: Naples, FL, 2007], 42-43); (http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/01/official-interpretation-of-private.html)
And presuming one has correctly judged a teaching to be non-infallible, Donum Veritatis allows that even if "not habitually mistaken in its prudential judgments," "some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies," and humbly withholding assent is allowed for a theologian "who might have serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him wellfounded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching."
Due to deficiencies or comprehensiveness of the Roman Catholic magisterium, much of the practical work of apologetics is left to lay apologists, though in times past such were disallowed from such debates as occur here, but wherein we often find a testimony to liberalism or variance which they themselves attack evangelicals for:
Robert Sungenis recently stated Rome's scholars are worse than Protestant liberals. Jimmy Akin recently chastised the interpretation of his priest saying, "This isn't exegetical rocket science." Steve Ray had some similar problems with a priest and concludes the church is "Always reforming, always in need of reform." Mark Shea accuses Robert Sungenis of lying. Sungenis says Scott Hahn misunderstands of the whole issue of justification. Over on the Catholic Answers forum, they recently had a heated discussion as to whether Scott Hahn teaches "prima scriptura." Tim Staples says he went to a mass in which the priest led the church in "the wave." Jimmy Akin says you can pray to whoever you want to, even if they aren't saints. Art Sippo says Mary should be Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of all Graces. Patrick Madrid disagreed with him. Karl Keating states, "Many Catholics are confused because some priests tell them contracepting is immoral, while others tell them the practice is morally neutral; some priests speak as though Mary had only one child, while others imply that she was the mother of the 'brethren of the Lord', some priests correctly explain the meaning of the Real Presence, while others refer to the Eucharist as only a symbol. Priests are authority figures, and lay people expect them to know and teach the faith accurately- not a safe assumption nowadays." Jim Burnham stated on Catholic Answers that Seventy percent of Roman Catholics do not understand the Eucharist.
I could go on and on. I didn't even mention any of my "We Have Apostolic Tradition"- The Unofficial Catholic Apologist Commentary " posts. In those posts, you can see that Catholic apologists disagree with each other when they interpret the Bible. Then there are the big issues, like evolution. If you want to see diversity of opinion, simply try and nail down a Catholic apologist or a Catholic theologian on it. You would think Catholic theologians could at least be unified on Luther and the Reformation. Some say Luther was sent by Satan, others think he wasn't such a bad guy.
Shall we conclude that an infallible interpreter + infallible tradition + infallible scripture = harmony? The facts speak for themselves. I've got to believe by this point that Mr. Madrid is aware that this is a false argument. The misuse of a sufficient source does not negate the clarity of that sufficient source. (http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/09/reminding-patrick-madrid-of-romes.html)
Then you have the Catholic schisms resulting from the Roman Catholic attempts to accommodate her loss of secular power and souls in the modern world of greater ideological freedom.
Vatican Two was described by Cardinal Suenens as "the French Revolution in the Church" and Y. Congar likened it to the October (1917) Revolution in Russia....
As to the documents themselves, there are sixteen of these, and all sixteen are consider to be "established synodally" - that is to say, agreed upon by the majority of the Fathers present at the council. These sixteen documents are entitled "Constitutions", "Decrees", and "Declarations", distinctions which in the practical order are meaningless. Despite the "pastoral" nature of the Council, two of these are labeled "dogmatic". In total then number some 739 pages of fine print and reading through them requires, as Father Houghton has remarked, "a sufficient supply of anti-soporifics". (Vatican I runs to 42 pages of large print, and the Council of Trent to 179 pages). Their tone is "prolix in the extreme" and as Michael Davies states, "much of their content consists of little more than long series of the most banal truisms imaginable."...
Yet the council is important, for it introduced into the bosom of the church a whole host of "new directions" that are bearing fruit in our days...
Conservative Novus Ordo Catholics who object to the drastic changes call them "abuses" that result from the "misinterpretation" of Conciliar teachings. They point to many fine and orthodox statements in support of their contention. Those on the other hand who are on the forefront of the Revolution - the Liberal post-Conciliar Catholic - can justify almost anything they wish by recourse to the same documents. The much debated issue as to whether the Council is only an "excuse" or in fact the "source" of the "autodemolition" of the Church is entirely beside the point. Whatever the case may be, as the Abbe of Nantes has pointed out, "there is not a heresiarch today, not a single apostate who does not now appeal to the Council in carrying out his action in broad daylight with full impunity as recognized pastor and master" (CRC May 1980)....
"The definitive texts are for the most part compromise texts. On far too many occasions they juxtapose opposing viewpoints without establishing any genuine internal link between them. Thus every affirmation of the power of bishops is accompanied in a manner which is almost tedious by the insistence upon the authority of the Pope...
It is then the ambiguity of the Conciliar statements which allows for any interpretation one wishes. (http://www.the-pope.com/wvat2tec.html)
Congar and the theologian prison inmates like him became the guards at Vatican II. Overnight we had theologians whos ideas had been formally condemned by the Church, being the overseers of the new schemas of the Council. Many probably do not know that almost all of the schemas for the Council were completed, or at least had been outlined before the Council ever started. Those schemas, which were written in the same vain as those of the prior popes, were all completely trashed in favor letting these new theologians rewrite them all. In the end you had a smorgasbord character to all most of the VII documents because these modernists would write up the document and then the orthodox bishops would fight to keep in some of the old theological wording as well. That is one of the reasons for the this and that leitmotif of the documents. http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-sspx-and-archbishop-lefebvre-are.html
"Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one anothers feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. - John 13:14-15
The washing of feet is done every year at the Holy Thursday Mass. You seem pretty casual about disobeying that command.
(Whatever it is you take, it isn't Communion)
Peace be with you
1 Corinthians 11:23-28 23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Both the bread and the cup are necessary parts of the communion service as commanded by Christ.
The Catholic church did not serve the cup to the laity as part of the communion service for a long time and there is recently a intent to return to that.
A simple google search of the topic *no wine at communion* will bring it up.
Jesus did not combine the two. Both are part of the communion service as practiced and commanded by Jesus.
To not follow the clear commands of Jesus is disobedience to Him.
Your feeble attempts to paper and prevaricate over your error isn't working. Those who know the truth can see right through it. You have absolutely no chance of changing my mind or damaging the Church so I can only presume you are posturing for the gallery of on lookers. They too will make up their own minds. You can rage on, but the determinate factor is not who posts last in this subject, it is who posted the truth and in that regard you have already lost this fight.
Peace be with you.
Once a year. What a joke.
If it's to be considered part of the communion service, it ought to be done every time communion is served.
But then the masses would be over 45 minutes and people would get really edgy at that.
Most can't even force themselves to arrive and leave on time, much less agree to stay LONGER.
Who ever said it was or is supposed to be considered as part of the "Communion service" (Properly named the Liturgy of the Eucharist or the Communion Rite).
As for frequency, the faithful are obligated to receive Communion once within their lifetime and at least on an annual basis thereafter. (kinda like that good old fashioned foot washing).
Peace be with you.
I never claimed to be acting within the rules. In basketball we would call that in intentional foul. I just saved the thin skinned the trouble of tattling.
Accusing me of lying is not a good defense of anyone. I never said that the cup was always available to the laity, I am only saying that the cup was NEVER absent from the Liturgy as was suggested.
You are smart enough to connect the dots.....what public health crisis broke out in Europe at the same time the Church restricted the cup to the laity? FYI - Bishops still have the authority to suspend the practice when public health is at risk. It happened in this country in some diocese during the H1N1 Pandemic scare.
(So I can attribute your leaving the Church at age 16 to an act of teenage indiscretion and defiance?)
Peace be with you.
I'm sure many other Catholics remember it that way as well.
No one denies that the priest drinks all he wants, that wasn't the point. Some priests poured more than others, I noticed. But not once did the congregation get offered it.
And hence the problem with alcoholism with the priests.
Jesus said he was leaving an example of humility by the foot washing and that it was his example to be followed. So the foot washing never was part of the last supper ceremony as it was the braking of bread and taking the wine that was to be done “in remembrance” of him.
The few times foot washing is mentioned is not in connection with the last supper but the kind and pious acts of faithful widows. (1 Tim. 5:10)
Foot washing is not part of the remembrance or memorial meal.
I stopped responding to this for the same reason and because it's the same Christ in both the consecrated bread and wine,it's not two separate Sacraments .Thus the commandment is fulfilled when Catholic/Orthodox receive Christ in either - we still receive The Body, Blood Soul and Divinity Of Christ.
That's just an excuse. There are disposable plastic cups that are used widely within non-Catholic denominations for hygiene reasons.
I'm sure the cup manufacturers would not object to the added business from the Catholic church should they decide to celebrate communion with the laity the way Christ commanded without drinking out of communal cup.
The bread remembers the body.
The cup remembers the blood.
Jesus distinguished between the two and commanded that both be partaken of.
Nobody has any right or authority to change what Jesus commanded.
For this reason,I will not grieve the Holy Spirit in me and will not bother to respond to you.I will however pray for you at Adoration in the Kateri Chapel at the Auriesville Shrine of Martyrs Tomorrow. My prayer will be for you to repent for the mistake of leaving the Catholic Church before you die.
I wish you a Blessed evening!
Eat the bread. Drink the cup.
The bread recognizes the broken body. The cup recognizes the shed blood.
Two distinct parts of the Last Supper by Jesus' teaching and instruction.
Sheesh, whatever happened to taking what Jesus said literally?
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