Lapsed Catholics more catechized by culture than Church March 29, 2012Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, priests, sadness, scandals, sickness.
The Washington Post ran a story (h/t culture war notes) recently that included some results of a poll conducted of apostate Catholics, or so-called ‘lapsed Catholics’ who have left the Church (but most of whom, inexplicably, still consider themselves ‘Catholic.’) The results show to me a group of people far more catechized by the culture and the media, than by the Church:
As part of a survey to understand why they have stopped attending Mass, a few hundred Catholics were asked what issues they would raise if they could speak to the bishop for five minutes.
Their reasons ranged from the personal (”the pastor who crowned himself king and looks down on all”) to the political (”eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing”) to the doctrinal (”don’t spend so much time on issues like homosexuality and birth control”). [I want to to go their parishes. I’m going to say this is a crock, and also guilt manifesting itself. I will bet homosexuality and contraception are rarely if ever mentioned, but even those very brief mentions are troubling to the apostate]
In addition, they said, they didn’t like the church’s handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal [good Lord, who does, but that doesn’t mean you leave Christ’s Body!] and were upset that divorced and remarried Catholics are unwelcome at Mass. [This is an incredibly poorly written and communicated excerpt. First of all, anyone is “welcome” at Mass, but those who are not in a state of Grace and in union with the Church cannot receive the Blessed Sacrament. Unfortunately, we’ve developed a mindset in this country, especially, that everyone who assists at Mass must automatically receive the Blessed Sacrament. There are huge problems with the way the Church is handling the epidemic of divorce, but handing out the Blessed Sacrament like a cookie to just anyone isn’t going to help matters – it will be gravely scandalous and sacriligious.]
…….Conducted by Villanova University’s Center for the Study of Church Management, the survey, called “Empty Pews,” asked Catholics in the Trenton Diocese [this is a troubled Diocese. I don’t know that these results can reliably be extrapolated to the entire Church] a series of questions about church doctrine and parish life to better understand why they are staying home.
While the study was restricted to one diocese, chances are the responses could come from just about anywhere in the U.S., where a 2007 report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found one-third of Americans were raised Catholic but one-third of those had left the church………
Almost two-thirds of the respondents were female, and the median age was 53, two facts that Zech finds troubling. “That’s a critical demographic. If we’re losing the 53-year-old women, we risk losing their children and their grandchildren,” he said. [How about stop sounding like a secular corporation, and worrying about ‘demographics,’ and worry about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness.]
About a quarter of the respondents said they still consider themselves Catholic despite not attending Mass. [Well, they aren’t. You can’t reject a Precept of the Faith and be happily engaged in mortal sin while calling yourself still Catholic. You can’t reject what the Church believes at its core and still be ‘Catholic,’ united to the Universal Church] About half offered negative comments about their parish priests, whom they described as “arrogant,” ‘’distant” and “insensitive.” [I haven’t met too many arrogant priests, but distant, yes. It’s one problem with having so few priests relative to parishioners]
“One respondent said, ‘Ask a question and you get a rule, you don’t get a “let’s sit down and talk about it” response,’” Zech said. “They feel no one is willing to explain things to them.” [Well, this is dumb, and seems disingenuous. Those who lambast the Church for “rules” don’t understand the Faith. But then, as commenter Terry C has pointed out, that is the key driver for this entire problem – the collapse of catechesis, and that started with the replacement of the sermon with the homily]
Respondents also said they were troubled by the church’s views of gays, same-sex marriage, women priests and the handling of the sex abuse crisis. [Catechesis, catechesis, catechesis. And how many of these respondents were led on by priests who themselves reject Church Dogmas into believing these dogmas were somehow ‘negotiable?’ And then, once they find they really aren’t negotiable, are scandalized and develop an impetus to leave?]
Criticism of the sex scandal was predictable, Zech said. “That doesn’t surprise anybody. They did not manage that well, and they are still not managing it well,” Zech said. “It hasn’t gone away.”
The respondents also called for better homilies, better music and more accountability of the church staff. [Well, that’s interesting. Really, the only interesting bit. Better homilies could mean anything, but it could point towards getting back to sermons and getting REAL catechesis from the pulpit, and not the mildest of encouragements to change one’s life by tiny degrees. Better music could mean dumping the oh-so-tired hippy dippy sing alongs, or it could mean aping the protestants even more. Chant is the proper music for Mass. Better accountability for Church staff – does that mean clergy, or lay people? As much as it may be frustrating at times, the priests are accountable to the bishop, and that’s about it. I hope this isn’t some ‘vote for the pastor’ pseudo-‘democratize the Church’ response. But if it means holding lay people with great responsibility and influence in the Church to greater account…….that could be meaningful and helpful. Mrs. So and So who is a big fan of new age and who rejects all manner of Church Dogmas shouldn’t be running the RCIA program, but at too many parishes, she does.]
Oh noes, I late for a meeting!