I think we all know that some sectors of the Church’s life, in the USA at least, though better than in many places in the world have nevertheless been devastated in the last 40 years.
We know this is true from our observations.
You know the old adage that the plural of anecdote is data.
Well… it is and it isn’t.
But the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is gathering data in a more – I hope – precise way.
With interesting results.
For example… Catholic population in the USA is going up and so is, – surprise – Mass attendance.
|Without a resident priest pastor
|Where a bishop has entrusted the pastoral care of the parrish to a deacon, religious sister or brother, or other lay person (Canon 517.2)
|Percent of U.S. population||24%||23%||23%||23%||22%||23%||22%
|Catholic elementary schools
|Students in Catholic elementary schools||—
|Catholic secondary schools||—
|Students in Catholic secondary schools||—
CARA Catholic Poll (CCP): Yearly average percent of U.S.adult Catholics who say they attended Mass once a week or more (i.e., those attending every week) in CARA’s telephone polls.
Comparison: TheGallup Poll trend for the yearly average percent of U.S.adult Catholics who say they attended Mass in the last seven days (i.e., those attending in any given week).
|*Most recent estimates of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). School data for previous years is from the ASE.|
I would like to see the stats about how often people go to confession.
But wait! We may have them too!
Fascinating and demoralizing reading.
Three-quarters of Catholics report that they never participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation or that they do so less than once a year.
About one in eight Catholics (12 percent), participate in Reconciliation once a year and an identical proportion do so several times a year. Two percent report that they participate in Reconciliation at least once a month. Results of a 2005 poll conducted by CARA with Knowledge Networks show similar patterns of participation in this sacrament.
The differences in frequency of Mass attendance and age really show a huge divergence.
Also, respondents were asked the extent to which they agree or disagree with each of five statements about forgiveness and the sacrament of Reconciliation.
• About six in ten respondents agree at least “somewhat” that they can be a good Catholic
without celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation at least yearly. One-third agree
• Just over half of Catholics agree that by going to Confession and making acts of
contrition and penance, they are reconciled with God and the Church. One-quarter agree
• Slightly fewer, just under half of Catholics, agree that acts of penance such as prayer or
fasting are necessary for forgiveness of sins.
• Only one-quarter of Catholics agree that the Reconciliation is only necessary for
forgiveness of very serious sins, with fewer than one in ten agreeing “strongly.”
More than six in ten weekly Mass attenders (62 percent) say they participate in Reconciliation at least once a year, compared to 37 percent of those attending Mass less than weekly but at least once a month and only 6 percent of those attending less often.
We have a lot of work to do.
Here is an overarching observation after looking at the results for a while.
There is a HUGE difference of "opinion" on the part of Catholics about what the meaning and effect of sacramental confession is according to frequency of Mass attendance.
We have got to
- get people into Church,
- give them liturgical worship which leaves them astounded and fascinated,
- and start preaching the basics.
Fallen away Catholics…. what do we do to get them back into the fold?
There has to be help from marketing here.. no? Am I wrong?
And then once they are back in the door…. what do they experience?
We know that churches with strong community programs tend to draw lots of people in.
We all know people who are fallen away, but how many can respond to the objections they toss at you with anything like coherence or accuracy?
When is the last time you invited someone to go to Mass or to come along for regularly scheduled confession times?
Don’t get me started on priests who won’t hear confessions. They are dying off… finally… but they are still around.
Okay… I’m ranting… I’ll stop now.