The article below reports the U.S. Catholic church is currently losing six members for every one it gains. That’s an amazing statistic. Why the sharp drop-off? Older Catholics look around at the empty pews on Sunday morning and wonder what’s going on. Catholic leaders from across the country are meeting in Orlando this week to try to figure out how to stanch the exodus.
Most Catholics participate in the church’s mandated obligatory rituals only sporadically. From there it’s only a short step to dropping away entirely. Most Catholics would say they “don’t get anything out of” their religion. But, as the article points out, many who leave are attracted to evangelical outreach, accept Christ, and attend evangelical churches instead.
After having been a Roman Catholic for 27 years, and with many friends and family members who are still Catholic, at least nominally, I can speak to some of the frustrations:
- The mass is boring beyond description – Few these days want to sit through an hour-long liturgical ritual that is as dead as a door nail.
- The eucharist is a case of the emperor with no clothes – Catholics line up to receive the all-important Jesus wafer during mass with the grace that it supposedly confers, but don’t feel ANY different afterwards. Nothing changed.
- No relationship – Catholics are taught they were “born-again” when they were baptized as infants. Christians know that’s NOT how it works. Catholics haven’t accepted Christ as Savior and do not walk with Him. They have no joy or peace in Christ. Religion for them is legalism and sacramental ritualism. Some pious Catholics may claim joy in the Lord but they actually have no assurance of their salvation because their salvation depends on their obedience.
- Treadmill fatigue – In Catholicism, one must do, do, do, do and hope to die in a “state of grace” with no serious sin on their soul. But the Bible says no one is good and no one can merit Heaven by trying to obey the Ten Commandments. The commandments only show us we’re sinners in desperate need of the Savior. Many Catholics become tired of the religious treadmill and step off, hoping for the best.
- Confession – Confession to a priest at least once a year is MANDATORY upon threat of damnation but hardly any Catholics participate. Honestly, who would want to tell their deepest, darkest thoughts and actions to a sinful man? Many abusive relationships began in the confessional.
- Conspicuous gaudiness – While Catholicism’s worldly and ostentatious displays of wealth and power may have impressed the masses in bygone eras, they hold much less appeal today and are even seen as negatives by many.
- Pedophile priests – With all the newspaper headlines, Catholics can’t help but look at their celibate parish priest and wonder about HIS propensities.
- Birth control – The RCC absolutely forbids birth control but 98% of the women of child-bearing age in the pews use it anyway. Catholics legitimately wonder, “If the church is wrong about birth control, what else is it wrong about?”
- Divorced remarrieds – Catholics who had divorced and remarried were made to feel like Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter” by being barred from communion. Pope Francis is trying to surreptitiously get around this “infallible” restriction with his infamous “Amoris Laetitia” footnote but the damage has been done.
- Why bother? – Their pope says even atheists will go to Heaven if they follow their consciences and are “good,” so the laity logically wonder why they need to bother with all the ritual and exacting religious legalities (1752 canon laws)?
To my Catholic friends, Christianity is not an institution or a religious treadmill. Christianity is a Person, Jesus Christ. He came to save sinners. Do you qualify? Put institutional religion aside forever, repent of your sin and accept Jesus as your Savior through faith alone. Let go of the 100 lb. religious weight on your back and accept Jesus Christ. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise. Only after you repent and accept Christ as Savior can you follow Him joyfully as Lord.
God bless you as you desire for the Truth.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
‘For every person baptized, the U.S. Church loses six Catholics’