Monday, June 8, 2009

Sacraments still decreasing...

According to the U.S. bishops news service, infant baptisms were down 16,000 this past year, adult baptisms and confirmations were down 12,000, first communions were down 1,300 and confirmations were down 8,500. At the same time, the Catholic population stayed at 22% of the US population and rose by 1,000,000 people. The number of seminarians rose slightly.

It seems odd to me that the number of seminarians is rising as the number of those receiving the sacraments diminishes. Although any number of interpretations could be formulated, this seems to speak of a divide between priests and laity. This could also speak of a growing divide between a more liberal laity that is not happy with a growing conservative clergy. It should be pointed out that liberal clergy are not being allowed to grow right now because of ideological Vatican crackdowns and the continued ban on married and women clergy.

If the liberal clergy were allowed to grow, it would be fascinating to see if the sacramental numbers would be starting to grow rather than decrease. Unfortunately, we will never know for sure.

A Faithful Catholic

8 comments:

Dad29 said...

Try this analysis, instead.

Forty years of diminishing sense of sin due to left-O-wacky seminary education results in reduced sacramental participation by laity who are poorly catechized.

Holy Spirit works to grow priesthood, which will be followed by a resurge in sacramental participation by correctly-catechized laity.

CatholicSoldier said...

FC,

You really miss the entire picture about why there is a decrease in attendance and participation of the Sacraments. You wish it had to do with the lack of a noble "Liberal Clergy". In reality, it is precisely the loss of the Sacred and the miserable catechesis of the last thirty-forty years.

According to surveys, only 20% of Roman Catholics attend Mass every Sunday. That is the core of the Church and they are overwhelmingly Orthodox and faithful to the Teachings of the Catholic Church. Another 20% or so who call themselves Catholic never go to Church and the remaining 60% go to Christmas and Easter or occasionally each Month. That might have more to do with the lack of participation in the Sacraments than your "persecution" complex.

Maybe the reason there are more Orthodox clergy and seminarians today is because they are the ones on fire for God and are willing to give up some of the things of this world to follow Christ. Why would a liberal who believes in no over-arching morality, no truth, and a malleable God want to become a priest?

Dave said...

The growth of liberal clergy has worked so well for the Episcopalians and other mainstream Protestant bodies...

Jack said...

Oh, you "correct" catholics. Here's my take: Things will get better when parents are no longer afraid to let their kids be alone with priests. Jack

Andy K. said...

Look at the Protties - They have gay priests, and married priests, and wymynprysts, but they are having a vocations problem, and they are ALL declining.

You would be funny, if you weren't so serious.

CatholicSoldier said...

All (even Jack) have good points. I think the most damning point to FC's entire argument is the complete meltdown in the Main-line Protestant Denominations. Those groups have all embraced the Spirit of the Age (New Age, Modernism, etc) and as a result have suffered a significant drop in numbers, so much so, that some of the denominations will likely cease to exist or be forced to merge (the First Church of Presbo-Luther-Episcop-Methodism?).

Faithful Catholic said...

It seems to me that true conservative Catholics will go to church no matter what... because the identity of the priest does not matter. Since 1978 though, we have had only conservative popes; that's over 30 years worth of conservative Catholic documents out of Rome. This 31 years of conservative backlash has not produced greater numbers in the area of sacraments. How long do we have to have conservative popes until we see an increase in sacraments? That's why I would argue that this 31 years of conservatism has kept the liberal Catholics away.

Terrence Berres said...

"true conservative Catholics will go to church no matter what... because the identity of the priest does not matter."

Score one for those of your readers who think your blog is a parody of liberal Catholics. Besides the flattery, there's the implication that liberal clergy and staff take conservative Catholics for granted on the assumption they'll put up with anything. Then you conjure up the picture of millions of liberal Catholics on Sundays in the Fall skipping Mass and then killing time until kickoff by grumbling about the last 31 years' encyclicals.

As I recall, though, the recent reports that 10% of the nation's and state's adult population is former Catholics indicated they mostly now are either members of more conservative denominations or are unbelievers or unaffiliated. There was no significant trend toward more liberal Christian denominations.