For years we have heard people say, "I'm spiritual, but not religious." I personally think that's a cop out, but at least it showed a belief in some sort of God. Now even that pretense is being dropped by a growing number of people: "In 2007, 60 percent of people who said they seldom or never attend religious services still identified themselves as part of a particular religious tradition. In 2012, that statistic fell to 50 percent, according to the Pew report."
Below is a chart showing the breakdown in religious beliefs in the United States, and how it has profoundly changed in the past five years. As you can can see, Christian belief in general has gone down 5%, equaling the drop in Protestant affiliation. Catholics have dropped 1%. The "unaffiliated" have risen steadily over the last five years, from 15.3% to now just under 20%. That means 1 in 5 Americans have no religious belief, nothing to guide them morally. It is then only logical that "Pew found Americans with no religion support abortion rights and gay marriage at a much higher-rate than the U.S. public at large." And we wonder why society's morals are in the toilet?
And according to this study, the future does not look promising:
More growth in “nones” is expected. One-third of adults under age 30 have no religious affiliation, compared with 9 percent of people 65 and older. Pew researchers wrote that “young adults today are much more likely to be unaffiliated than previous generations were at a similar stage in their lives,” and aren’t expected to become more religiously active as they age.
Seeing this, many of us are quick to get on our high horse and point the finger at these priests and bishops, and some even dare to condemn our Holy Father, for this crisis of faith in the Church. We say they just don't teach the faith anymore, never bringing up the important issues of the day such as abortion and homosexuality. They are poor examples of what it means to be Catholic. We say the priests are not being properly taught in the seminaries, and it is their fault that the laity are not being properly catechized. And, of course, the horrific sex abuse scandal in the church is always thrown out to undermine the authority of the bishops But is it right to lay all the blame for the crisis of faith in the Church at the feet of the bishops and the Holy Father?
I recently came across the following quote:
Oh, what terrible harm, what terrible harm is wrought in religious (I am referring now as much to men as to women) when the religious life is not properly observed; when of the two paths that can be followed in a religious house -- one leading to virtue and the observance of the Rule and the other leading away from the Rule -- both are frequented almost equally! No, I am wrong: they are not frequented equally, for our sins cause the more imperfect road to be more commonly taken; being the broader, it is the more generally favoured. The way of true religion is frequented so little that, if the friar and the nun are to begin to follow their vocation truly, they need to be more afraid of the religious in their own house than of all the devils. They must observe greater caution and dissimulation when speaking of the friendship which they would have with God than in speaking of other friendships and affections promoted in religious houses by the devil. I cannot think why we should be astonished at all the evils which exist in the Church, when those who ought to be models on which all may pattern their virtues are annulling the work wrought in the religious Orders by the spirit of the saints of old. May His Divine Majesty be pleased to find a remedy for this, as He sees needful. AmenPretty scathing words, don't you think? This pretty well describes the root of the crisis in the Church, right? I think most of us would nod our heads in agreement that this is an apt description of the present crisis in the church.
|St. Teresa of Avila|