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.
Did they write the OT as claimed?
I think not. The Hebrew Scriptures were recognized and validated by Jesus Himself as Scripture.
The Catholic church cannot take responsibility for writing the Bible because it didn't. All it's trying to do is lay claim to it so it can claim to be the only valid authority for interpreting it.
Control access and interpretation of Scripture and to an extent, you control people's destiny.
The writers of the NT were called church fathers AFTER the fact. How convenient....
Do you not think that God wasn't perfectly capable of preserving His word without the help of the so-called Catholic church?
We have Scripture not because of the Catholic church but in spite of it.
As usual, wrong again.
Can you say Kennedy? Pelosi? Schumer? Kerry?
The level of hypocrisy demonstrated by Catholics for castigating other denominations for potentially serving communion to pro-abortion politicians when the Catholic church is know to do it continually, is simply breath taking in it’s magnitude.
It’s almost as staggering as the blindness of those Catholics doing the castigating to the evil that exists in their own church.
I’ve seen similar meaningless *prophetic* nonsense (drivel) posted by non-Catholics on FR as well.
The stuff is so vague as to be meaningless. It also has the advantage to the *prophet* of being unable to be tested to see if it comes true, which would then cause him to be labeled a false prophet.
Convenient for him......
"The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: God, I thank you that I am not like other peoplerobbers, evildoers, adulterersor even like this tax collector.'"- Luke 18:11
Tramonto, you just do not understand. Door does not mean door...I gave you that info previously. Read it. And if you have understanding, understand it.
And yes, the loaf is his body, the cup is his blood. I have full Spiritual understanding of that. If you have a problem with that, perhaps you should seek help from the Holy Spirit. And by the way, the loaf is a loaf, not wafers. And no, it has nothing to do with a priest praying and blessing that it become. Nor does it have anything to do with a Baptist minister saying this represents. Again, seek help from the Holy Spirit.
I pray He will give you understanding.
“We have Scripture not because of the Catholic church but in spite of it.”
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You give history to confirm and you get a comeback line like
this one. Protestants have non history before 1517 but pay no attention.
Our Lord states you remain spiritually immature without the
“The Catholic church cannot take responsibility for writing the Bible because it didn’t. All it’s trying to do is lay claim to it so it can claim to be the only valid authority for interpreting it.
Control access and interpretation of Scripture and to an extent, you control people’s destiny.
The writers of the NT were called church fathers AFTER the fact. How convenient....”
~ ~ ~
You come up with the above because you reject history, the
Truth. Who did compile the Canon metmom? The “control”
objection is lame. People have free will. No one controls you, you left the faith.
The “Church Fathers”, some of them knew the Apostles.
They are called the “Apostolic Fathers.”
How can you call the Bible your authority and not state
exactly where it came from? Rejecting the RCC who gave
you your Bible, that’s ridiculous.
How the Canon of the Bible (the official catalog of inspired books) was officially declared.
362 A.D. Catholic Churchs Council of Rome defines the Canon of Holy Scripture.
382 Pope Damasus issues a listing of the present OT and NT Canon of 73 books
383 Saint Jerome translates the Latin Vulgate from Greek & Hebrew
393 Council of Hippo (North Africa) approves the present Canon of 73 books
397 Council of Constantinople produces first bound Bible (the Vulgate: previously, all
were separate books)
397 Council of Carthage (North Africa) approves the same OT and NT canon
405 Pope Saint Innocent I approves the Canon again and closes it (with 73 books)
All those councils that you name NEVER varied from the exact same books that make up the 27 book New Testament. Where they differ - and they DO - is how they categorize those books that they decided to tack onto the Old Testament - which were REJECTED by the Jewish religious authorities - called the Deuterocanonicals or Apocryphals.
One thing else, your "prophet" did happen to say one thing right...there certainly WILL be shock and dismay when Jesus returns. That will be because people who are trusting that their works, merits, good deeds, sacramental participation save them, come to realize that they DO NOT and CANNOT save them. It is only by God's grace THROUGH faith that we can be saved. It means we depend upon Jesus and him alone to redeem us by His precious shed blood. It is only His blood that makes atonement for the soul and relying upon our own righteousness cancels out the grace of God. "Not by righteous deeds which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." (Titus 3:4)
On that day of judgment, many will come before Christ and extol all the wonderful works that they did for Him, and he will say, "Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.". I pray people look long at hard at that point and come to the saving grace of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21)
And where, pray tell, does our Lord say that?
Might doesn’t make right. Longevity is no measure of authenticity. Other religions have been around longer than Catholicism. If you’re going to argue that that criteria is what gives them authenticity or authority, they need to step aside and let others take their place.
Not to mention that history can be falsified. Unless it’s the very words of God, I don’t put much stock in it.
And I especially don’t trust the history painted by any organization about itself, with the Catholic church’s known history, that puts said organization in a positive light, ignoring or excusing known corruption and immorality.
It smacks too much of propaganda.
There is way too much history from outside sources of what the Catholic church was to ignore.
Final authority is Scripture, which was recognized long before it was officially recognized as canon. Putting the RCC stamp of approval on it doesn’t make it Scripture or give it authority or mean the RCC wrote the Bible.
Chapter and verse?
Calling people *Catholics* and *church fathers* hundreds of years after they died does not make them so.
It’s no different than the Mormons who baptize the dead and claim them to be Mormon.
Unless those people themselves state that they were Roman Catholics, I don’t recognize anyone else’s claim that they were. It’s just a blatant attempt to validate a power grab.
“Calling people *Catholics* and *church fathers* hundreds of years after they died does not make them so.
Its no different than the Mormons who baptize the dead and claim them to be Mormon.
Unless those people themselves state that they were Roman Catholics, I dont recognize anyone elses claim that they were. Its just a blatant attempt to validate a power grab.”
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You reject history to your loss. You haven’t stated who canonized Scripture since it is your PO, the RCC didn’t. Second time I have asked metmom. Post it.
Don’t bother with the usual complete two paragraph early Church history from 33 A.D. until 1517. You know with the single lone name overkill of Constantine. You can’t mention any of the first Christians from history because everyone knows they are Roman Catholic.
Here is an Apostolic Father, the 3rd Bishop of Antioch,
his name is Ignatius. Notice, there is a hierarchy.
Scripture tells us that the Gospels do not include all of Jesus words or miracles
Some teachings of Christ were passed down from Christ to the Apostles and then to the next generation of Christians
These people are known as the Apostolic Fathers.
Ex: St. Ignatius of Antioch was taught directly by the APOSTLE St. John.
St Ignatius was the first to use the term CATHOLIC Church.
wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the CATHOLIC Church
Our Lord states you remain spiritually immature without the Eucharist.
“And where, pray tell, does our Lord say that?”
~ ~ ~
See 1 Cor 12:28, notice, listed after the Apostles, are the prophets. Prophecy is important. Believe in Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist.
..”A soul who does not partake of My Eucharist remains a SPIRITUAL BABY. Just as a human baby must eat solid food to grow to adulthood, so spiritually you must receive My graces through the sacraments to mature to spiritual adulthood. The body must be fed to grow. Likewise, the soul must be fed to grow and mature. Satan knows this truth. This is why he has deceived many of my people with false interpretations of my scriptures.”...
Our Lord states you remain spiritually immature without the Eucharist.
“Chapter and verse?”
~ ~ ~
First, if you don’t mind please share:
And where does our Lord say that all of God’s revelation
is written in the Bible?
“Official” canons did nothing more than compile into one volume those books that had ALREADY been known AND used throughout the Christian faithful communities and they taught the SAME truths that the Apostles and disciples had already established as the truths of the faith. The last book to be written was around 95 A.D., but all the others were and had been in circulation for decades and recognized AS Holy Scripture because of the authority given them by the Apostles as well as their life-changing properties within the hearts of those very believers. Having them all collected into one nice, neat volume had NO effect in their authority NOR recognition of being from the Spirit of God.”
~ ~ ~
The Canon of Scripture hasn’t changed in 2000 years. There were many early Christian writings so an authority had to decide which ones were divinely inspired. It was Pope Damasus.
“All those councils that you name NEVER varied from the exact same books that make up the 27 book New Testament. Where they differ - and they DO - is how they categorize those books that they decided to tack onto the Old Testament - which were REJECTED by the Jewish religious authorities - called the Deuterocanonicals or Apocryphals.
~ ~ ~
I only named a couple of “councils” and you failed to say
they are all Roman Catholic. I just shared, yes, the
Canon hasn’t changed, you’re right. Sadly....
Martin Luther came along in 1517 and threw out 7 books of
the Canon. He was NEVER guided by God. Luther tossed out
the Old Testament Canon which Our Lord and the Apostles
quoted from the most. There were two OT Canons, Jesus
referred to the Alexandrian Canon also known as the Septuagint.
Where did He tell us to believe everything that everyone claims is from Him?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
John 20:30-31 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Ephesians 6:10-18 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
How do you know that all those *prophecies* that you've been posting are from God? What test do you apply to those pronouncements to determine their veracity? Or do you just believe anyone who comes along and says *Thus sayeth the Lord,....*?
There MUST be some way of determining their veracity to know that they are from God. If it's not using Scripture, then what does one use?
And where does our Lord say that all of Gods revelation
is written in the Bible?”
It doesn't. What IS said is that all that is necessary to make us perfect, completely equipped for doing God's will is there (1 Tim. 3:17) and that we can be made holy by means of His word (John 17:17) to the gaining of eternal life. (John 17:3).
Jesus said he would send the holy spirit to enlighten and enliven the minds of the disciples so that when they wrote down the Scriptures they didn't have to rely on their own imperfect and faulty memories. (John 14:26)
Therefore Paul could say God's Word exerts power and is alive (Heb. 4:12) it being a product of His spirit, “All Scripture is inspired by God....”. (1 Tim.3:16)
So is an extra-biblical revelation needed or just guidance by spirit into a better understanding of those presented to us in the Scriptures?
“And where does our Lord say that all of Gods revelation
is written in the Bible?
“IT DOESN’T. What IS said is that all that is necessary to make us perfect, completely equipped for doing God’s will is there (1 Tim. 3:17) and that we can be made holy by means of His word (John 17:17) to the gaining of eternal life. (John 17:3).”
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Hi. Correct, you said it, the BOLDED...Martin Luther’s “Bible Alone” is heresy.
You meant 2 Timothy.
2 Tim 3:15
And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,  That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.
Timothy only knew the written OLD Testament from infancy.
Jesus teachings were all oral. The Apostles shared them in the same way, passed them on orally. It was later SOME of Jesus’ teachings were written down and compiled...the Bible.
You accept part of the Oral Word even though you profess “Bible Alone.”