Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The incredible shrinking church of Rome


  1. Always a useful corrective to the narrative of supposed mass conversions to Roman Catholicism. The statistics have, of course, shown that the tide is out of Catholicism and into, among one or two other notable directions, Evangelical Protestantism. Perhaps now that we have an article acknowledging this trend from a Jesuit priest (Fr. Thomas J. Reese), Catholic apologists will present a more accurate appraisal of these religious trends.

  2. "Thus, both as believers and as worshipers, Catholics who become Protestants are statistically better Christians than those who stay Catholic."

    Oh dear.

  3. The supposedly large number of Evangelicals converting to RCism is a steaming pile of hype. If people convert, it is typically by marriage than anything else.

    Ditto conversions to EO. The born again Orthodox generally convert themselves and the "proud" ethnics who dominate don't want them around anyway.

  4. Very ironic that Rev. Fr. Reese's point seems to be "ex-Catholic Protestants are converting because they dislike Catholicism's works (= practice), more than they dislike Catholicism's faith ie, doctrines)."

    I can't see any of the Catholic bloggertariate conceding anything as a result of this article. Their response is likely to be "We do have The Truth, of course -- but we need to let it shine forth more richly so people who want the true bread of life don't have to make do with rice crackers at the local Full Gospel bible barn." It's quite common for ex-Prot Catholic bloggers to praise Prots for having better knowledge of the Bible, more evangelistic zeal, etc and the Reese article seems to fit with this.

    Moreover, if the conclusion is "So let's copy the Prots' success by introducing a regular Wednesday night small-group Tradition Study", well, Catholic parishes can adapt to that. Whereas if the conclusion had been "People are leaving in droves because they're opening their Bibles and looking unsuccessfully for passages congruent with the Papal Marian doctrines", the RC response will be "Let the unbelievers depart if they can't handle The Truth. Truth is not decided by majority vote (at least, not by majority vote of non-bishops). Two thousand years of unbroken tradition... Anglicans allowed contraception in 1930... Luther and Hebrews..." [etc - we've all heard that cassette many times].