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.
Every argument needs to build on recognized truths. When your initial premise seeks to build upon the falsehood that Catholics are not among "Bible believing Christians" there can be no acceptable proof of your thesis.
If you begin with a premise that the Catholic Church teaches a different interpretation of the Bible than your particular flavor of non-Catholic then we can build upon.
By the way, your link is a discussion of Justification, not Grace. As for differentiating Catholics from so-called "Bible believing Christians" would you care to expand upon the differences in the doctrines related to grace and justification between Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wesley, Knox, Arminius, Murray and Swedenborg.
Peace be with you.
And verse 9 gives the reason why......
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Yes, all the “toxicity” around here is all the Catholic’s part; Catholics would rather “burn the place down” then let anyone “get away with” having another faith.
It’s just a coincidence that this thread was posted only an hour after This one: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2885062/posts Yep, just a coincidink. < /sarc>
(Anticipated likely response: “Of course this thread was posted after; it’s a response to the former’s silliness” which, if you, or anyone does say that, it only will show ignorance of your own hypocrisy WRT the claim that the Catholics “just can’t let anyone get away with it”, meaning of course Catholics are the only ones who would rather “burn the place down” then let testimonies of conversion stand.)
More like couldn't be happier! And KNOW they are blessed!
I have seen these debates here many times. I have no problem giving my testimony and admitting my love for Christ here on the forum. If I am ashamed of Christ on earth, He will be ashamed of me in the presence of His Father.
However, it is always the same. Evangelical Christians will point to scripture - which is black and white. The Catholics deny the scripture, say it doesn't mean what it says it does, look for ways to trap people, take 1/2 of argument "A" and merge it with new argument "B" and then blame the other poster for the leap, accuse others of lying and never really being Catholic, and my favorite - ridiculing their faith in Christ and telling them if come crawling back to the Catholic church they might (just might....mind you) have a shot at heaven.
**The Catholics deny the scripture, say it doesn’t mean what it says it does, look for ways to trap people, take 1/2 of argument “A” and merge it with new argument “B” and then blame the other poster for the leap, accuse others of lying and never really being Catholic, and my favorite - ridiculing their faith in Christ and telling them if come crawling back to the Catholic church they might (just might....mind you) have a shot at heaven.**
Perhaps you need to give some examples here. In what I see on FR, I do not see the Catholics lying as you say they do.
Catholics do read the Bible every day. What is your problem with that? Don’t you see the Daily Readings posted?
We are in the presence of God all the time as long as we haven’t committed a mortal sin, but especially in the presence of God during the Mass. And especially when that REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST is received reverently in Holy Communion.
Do you remember?
The term "Bible believing Christians" is certainly not a descriptor I made up. It is well recognized and widely, widely used. Almost universally.
At the very heart of this debate is God's word. That is what should be the authority. Period.
I certainly did not invent this "premise" that the Catholic church either ignores or misinterprets scripture vis a vis its doctrine. I could start at the Reformation and move from there.
Catholics do read the Bible every day.
Very, very few Catholics read scripture on a regular basis. My experience (and I am not alone in this whatsoever) was that the church highly discouraged independent bible study.
There are many sources for that, but I will simply post one posted on this very thread by daniel1212:
In my experience, those number are pretty accurate. We could argue the mean, the mode, and the standard deviation - or find other sources. Honest sources will almost universally be in agreement that the study of scripture is a very low priority for Catholics. The simple truth is that the great majority of Catholics do the exact opposite of what you said they do regarding the study of scripture.
We are in the presence of God all the time as long as we havent committed a mortal sin
Where in scripture is "mortal sin" listed? Chapter and verse please.
You won't find it. You see.....this is the problem. You are spouting Catholic doctrine, Catholic tradition, Catholic invention. There is no such distinction as "mortal sin" or "venial sin." Sin is sin. The Bible addresses it as such. The Bible does not teach (as the Catholic church does) that some sins are worthy of eternal punishment and some are not. It teaches that all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23).
I keep hearkening back to your one comment from your post to me:
What is your problem with that?
Well, I could turn try and turn the tables and ask you the very same question. In fact, I posted very early on in this thread that people would have "a problem" with allowing former Catholics professing salvation through faith in Jesus alone to not be allowed to rest.
This is a fundamental issue. In fact, it is THE issue for humanity: how can we be reunited with God? Since the fall of Adam, this has been the issue.
The difference between you and I is that I profess being saved by Grace through Faith alone in Jesus Christ; and you profess what the Catholic church teaches.
If you want to stand on that side of the river, you have every right to do that. You cannot be argued into the Kingdom of God. Believe what you want and stay with your faith if that is what you choose to do. You may disbelieve my faith if you wish.
However, I will bear witness when I feel called upon to tell people what Christ did for me. In fact, that is the 'Great Commission' that Christ gave to us in Matthew 28:16-20, isn't it?
I accept what Jesus said completely! No, he did not lie, he cannot lie because he is Almighty God incarnate. Think how much easier it is if we just take Jesus at HIS word. He said he is the door to the sheepfold. Is he made of wood? He said he is the vine and we are the branches, is he a plant? He said he was the bread of life, is he made of wheat and yeast? He is the water of life, is he H2O? He said he is the resurrection and the life, is he limited by our semantics of words? Were the followers of Jesus? When they were assembled that last night before the Crucifixion the next day, Jesus was celebrating the Jewish observance of the "seder". Those elements of bread and wine were part of that and they had quite specific reasons for being there all those thousands of years of the same observance by the Jews. Do a little research about the symbolism of each of those elements and what they represented. Go back and think about when Jesus started talking about himself being the "bread of life" and the "water of life". He was giving simple to understand similes and object lessons so that these simple people could grasp his meaning.
Now think forward two thousand years and see how convoluted and twisted his words have become. The simple lesson that he is the bread of life and whoever "ate" of him - meaning believed/received him - would NEVER be hungry (spiritual hunger), would HAVE eternal life. But what have men done with his words? "Special" priests have to "confect" the elements of the Eucharist (which simply meant thanksgiving). They do some actions, say some "special" words, and viola! the bread and wine are literally - yes, that is what they say - changed into the body and blood of our savior so that all those who come forward and eat that tiny piece of cracker are literally receiving the life of Christ into their souls. But if you go back to the first century life of the Christians, they had "love feasts" where they partook of the bread and wine just like Jesus told them to do - in REMEMBRANCE OF ME. They did not look at that as the way they could be given the grace to be saved. They already KNEW they were saved because they had already accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior before they came together in their local assemblies to share in this observance.
From the site http://www.the-highway.com/eucharist_Webster.html we learn:
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that when the priest utters the words of consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the literal body and blood of Christ. He is then offered to God on the altar as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin. The Council of Trent explicitly states that in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross. There are thus two aspects of the Roman doctrine: transubstantiation, which guarantees the real presence of Christ; and the mass, in which Christ, thus present bodily, is re-offered to God as a sacrifice. This, however, is not the only view which has been expressed in a consistent way throughout the history of the Church. From the beginning of the Church the Fathers generally expressed their belief in the Real Presence in the eucharist, in that they identified the elements with the body and blood of Christ, and also referred to the eucharist as a sacrifice, but there was considerable difference of opinion among the Fathers on the precise nature of these things, reflected in the fact that the ancient Church produced no official dogma of the Lords Supper. Interpretation of the meaning of the eucharist in the writings of the Fathers must be done with great caution for it is very easy to take a preconceived theology of the eucharist and read it back into their comments and teachings.
I encourage you to go to the link and read the excerpts given of some of the Early Church Fathers and their views about the subject. It clearly shows that the idea of the "eucharist" becoming the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ and its propitiatory purpose was NOT held by the Apostles nor the first Christians and, instead, it was a process of development of doctrine and changes over centuries that give us the dogmas the Catholic Church teaches today. Rather than this church's contention that it teaches the orthodox Christian faith as it has ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE been believed is patently untrue. It is NOT "only in my mind" that I don't accept the teaching about this observance, it is what Scripture says and I believe God's word over fallible men who presume to contradict God's word. You can choose to believe they have that right, but I hold the truths of God's word to be THE authority NOT men.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
I do not disagree with your discourse here. My point is that both ‘transsubstantiation’ and ‘transliteration’ are man’s theological attempts to make communion, breaking of bread together, something that it is not. And by the way, I believe we are shown in the Word that the early church celebrated this together frequently, probably at least once a week, not once a quarter, or at say, Easter and Christmas. Fact is, I suspect the early church had no special ‘Easter/Christmas’ celebrations.
And you are correct...communion has no special ‘saving the soul’ qualities. That is totally dependent on each of us personally accepting the gift of grace offered by our Lord in His death and reserection.
The worlds systems would have none of Him and that is their downfall. The religious, the political, the economic systems of the world they are not His way and they are crumbling. Fear not. He is in control. Let His way be our way and let His peace be our peace.
Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
If the eucharist is an unbloody sacrifice, it's useless. A *sacrifice* without the shedding of blood is meaningless killing.
Besides, Christ's life was not taken from Him; He offered it Himself. His death provided payment in full for all our sins.
His death was so that God's justice could be satisfied not so that some priest in some church could offer Jesus to God in an attempt to appease God by offering Him as a sacrifice to God for us. (Which by Catholics own admission still isn't even good enough because you don't meet a practicing Catholics who is sure of getting to heaven)
Hebrews 9:24-28 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 10:8-14 8 When he said above, You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, Behold, I have come to do your will. He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Jesus is not in heaven being continually offered for sin as a perpetual sacrifice, He is seated at God's right hand having FINISHED that work.
Last but not least,.....
Hebrews 10:18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Amen! And on this thread that speaks about why some Catholics leave the Catholic Church to join the "Protestant" ones, I believe that your statement is probably the best reason why the majority do it. There is a stirring in our souls - the result of the Holy Spirit - convicting us that there IS truth and it is NOT found where we are. I recognized it at sixteen years old and, all these years later, the more I learn, the more I am convinced that it was indeed the Spirit of God leading me out of a false, man-made religious system into the glorious Gospel of His grace. I have lived the truth that God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. Every day I thank him for loving me and saving me and leading me to THE truth. It is a promise He gives to ALL who search for Him with all their hearts - He WILL be found.
They will say that these are all divorced people ..LOL
My reformed church is also filled with ex RC’s
I learned about Grace from studying the Baltimore Catechism, back in the early 60s.
~ ~ ~
SuziQ, Natural Law, everyone reading this thread,
Have you ever read the writings of Father Matthias Scheeben?
I love his book, The Glories of Divine Grace. It might
be on the Net to read.
“Jesus is not in heaven being continually offered for sin as a perpetual sacrifice, He is seated at God’s right hand having FINISHED that work.
Last but not least,.....
Hebrews 10:18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
~ ~ ~
The Holy Masss, the “everlasting sacrifice” is offered in Heaven. Scott Hahn a former Protestant minister said when he went to his first Mass...”this is the Book of Revelation!”
Read the footnotes for Hebrews 10:18. God the Holy Spirit
does not lead every person into their own interpretation
of Scripture. If that were true, you would have multiple
beliefs and churches...ecclesiastical communities, yes?
Now where there is a remission of these, there is no more an oblation for sin.
 There is no more an oblation for sin: Where there is a full remission of sins, as in baptism, there is no more occasion for a sin offering to be made for such sins already remitted; and as for sins committed afterwards, they can only be remitted in virtue of the one oblation of Christ’s death.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
So, no, your "interpretation" of this one verse, implying that it is speaking only of sins committed prior to baptism as being remitted, but future sins needing the application of the grace received at the performance of the Mass, is plain wrong. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ perfected FOREVER those that are sanctified - made holy/set apart. By His ONE OFFERING - forever, for all who receive Him as Savior.
I almost expected a "hearafter reffered to as the third party" line after that.I'll have my lawyer look into the matter and get back to you.
Thankyou for your posts bb and the time you take to write them.God bless.