Grim surveys about decline of Christianity in USA, Italy

A while back we learned through the Pew Research Center that about 30% of practicing Catholic believe the Church’s teaching about transsubstantiation.

Pew now tells us more about Catholic in these USA and in Italy.   Sandro Magister writes about it.  HERE

Churches Ever Emptier. Two Shocking Surveys in the United States and Italy

In Japan, where Pope Francis will land tomorrow, those baptized into the Catholic Church are just 0.4 percent of the population. Without any sign of numerical growth.

But also in two Western countries with a solid Catholic presence the statistics are heading decisively lower. These two countries are the United States and Italy.


In the United States there is a noteworthy survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, to which on November 13 “L’Osservatore Romano” also dedicated an article:

> In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace

On the whole, Christians of all confessions have dropped from 78 percent of the population in 2007 to 65 percent in 2019, while during the same years those who identify themselves as atheist, agnostic, or without religion – the “nones” – have increased from 16 percent to 26 percent.

Separating the Christians into Protestants and Catholics, the former have dropped over the past twelve years from 51 to 43 percent, and the Catholics from 24 to 20 percent.

Christians who said they had gone to church for Mass or another ceremony at least once a month fell from 54 percent to 45 percent. While those who said they had done so a few times a year or never, apart from marriages or funerals, grew from 45 to 54 percent.

This drop in religious practice almost across the board involves both men and women, whether white or black or Hispanic, college graduates and the less educated. What marks a strong difference are above all age and political proclivity. The “millennials,” meaning those born in the 1980s and early 90s, together with those who vote for the Democratic Party are the Americans who show the strongest drop in religious practice and the most decisive growth of the “nones.”

Among the “millennials” today Christians are 49 percent and the “nones” 40 percent. Those who go to church at least once a month are 35 percent and never or almost never 42 percent.

Among American citizens of Hispanic origin, ten years ago Catholics were the majority, 57 percent. Today they are less than half, 47 percent, with the “nones” rising in the meantime to 23 percent.

The area in which the drop in Catholics is most pronounced is the Northeast, where over the past ten years they have fallen from 36 to 27 percent of the population. Almost unchanging, instead, is their slight presence in the South, where they were 17 percent ten years ago and are 16 percent today. In the South, however, there has been a more marked drop among the Protestants, who have fallen in ten years from 64 to 53 percent of the population.

Among the Protestants, the only index on the rise is that of the “born again” and “Evangelicals,” who went from 56 to 59 percent of the total over the last ten years.

While among Democratic Party voters the most glaring change is the growth of the “nones,” who jumped over the past ten years from 20 to 34 percent.


You can read all the great post-conciliar springtime news about Italy over there.

The reaction of some people will be to push to adapt the Church and her teachings to a changing world.

There are a lot of reasons why the Church is in decline. Worldly adaptation, however, is one of the reasons why we see what we see today. We fell into the trap that Paul warns of and conformed to the wisdom of “this world”.  Alas, we were guided into this trap by our leaders, some of them knowingly, for theirs is a project of conversion of the Church into an NGO.

My proposal remains the same. Recovery of our tradition. No project of renewal we undertake in the Church will have any effect if it is not flowing from and back to revitalized sacred liturgical worship. We must give God what is due, by the virtue of Religion. The first way we do that is through worship. Recovery of our traditional forms of worship will guide other efforts. Together with our sound sacred worship, we must graft works of mercy. Over all, we must envelop our offerings to God and neighbor with evidence of joy at our Catholic identity in deed and word even while also performing many acts of reparation. In short, a Catholicism that integrates what our forebears bequeathed with our whole day, everywhere.

Also, and I’ve written this before, I think we will see the slow convergence of traditional Catholics with the more charismatic sort. That will be a rocky process, but many good things will come of it, for both elements.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. GordonB says:

    But Father, the Church is growing like gangbusters in Africa where it had not flourished for millennia. The New Springtime is embodied by the evidence of the African Catholic Church where it has been the Novus Ordo mass and the new theology that launched it.
    This is, at least, one of the arguments I encounter when raising issues with what’s happened in the Church. People say-the world is not America or Europe. We can’t assume end times and Vatican II failure when millions of souls join the Church in the Third World since Vatican II and enculturation!

  2. Dave H says:

    My understanding is that dramatic growth of the faith in Africa began with ABP Lefebvre and the Latin Mass

  3. Dave H says:

    The the African continent is generally less affected by modernism.

  4. Tom Kaye says:

    Please take a look at the articles written Br. Mark O’Connor fms from the Catholic diocese of Parramatta, Australia.

    loyalty to the successor of peter – catholic outlook
    letters from the synod:accept the surprises – catholic outlook (O’Connor really disses Archbishop Vigano in this one calling him discredited).

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?

  5. G1j says:

    Again and again we see where the change in how the Church presents it’s teachings after V2 has spawned the decline in folks practicing the Catholic faith. True Catholic teaching does not exist in a form that would produce a Catholic that can resist what the secular world offers. At best we are now taught to be conformists which is in direct opposition to what Jesus taught. I was a Catechist for our parish. I literally had parents come to me and tell me that the course work I sent home with junior was antiquated and they didn’t want junior to learn anything that would be considered counter cultural. Sorry people…Catholicism IS counter cultural! There is a huge divide, which no one wants to admit, that is now separating those who believe in the pre-conciliar teachings and those who want the Church to morph into an ecumenical, feel good, social justice/service provider with half believed sacraments. The discussion on where the Church is heading had better begin, and the sooner the better. The only problem is that the pastors of the parishes are scared to address it because it will alienate a certain proportion of their congregation. What’s more important…Money or souls? (I think we all know the answer to that question and that is the problem)

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    —>I think we will see the slow convergence of traditional Catholics with the more charismatic sort.

    As weird as that might sound to some, Fr. Z is right here. Those of the more traditional bent (neo-Thomistic orthodoxy with strong Tridentine orthopraxy) will have to work hard not to mistake them for modernists. I know that I do and I am not a neo-Thomist!

    I want to concur with what Fr. Z said in the last paragraph but stick a slightly different spin on it. Recovering our traditions is to return to a sense of “going through the motions”. The position, at best, that the heterodox come from is that external worship forms are meaningless unless there is first an interior change, and, even then, the external worship forms that are produced are only subjective manifestations of that personal interior change. This is a lengthy discussion, so to cut to the quick of things, yes “whitewashed tombs” (sound external practice poor interior practice) is not spiritually healthy, but this does not diminish the worth nor need of whitewash. External practice, especially rote practice, will drag along with it interior disposition. The connectivity between the interior and exterior life is a two-way street, not a one-way.

    If one starts from the position of desiring to have a relationship with God, one should start first by cultivating one’s external relationship with God. If one wishes the seed of Faith to grow in the field of one’s soul, one should start by clearing the land and tilling the soil. And don’t be stupid about it, trying to cut down an oak of sin with a spoon, use the well-crafted tools and practices that have been handed down by those that have had a relationship with God; i.e. go to Confession regularly.

  7. albinus1 says:

    “Also, and I’ve written this before, I think we will see the slow convergence of traditional Catholics with the more charismatic sort. ”

    I’ve believed for years that traditionalists and charismarics are natural allies, even if it’s hard for either side to see it. The charismatics I have known have been prayerful and serious about their faith and have taken the teachings of the Church seriously.

  8. Hildegard says:

    I agree. The power of both working together is what will draw more souls. Beauty, power, Truth, and joy of the Lord are irresistible!

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