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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Are Catholics Losing the Faith?

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

Could some Catholics be losing faith in their religion? According to a new report released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Affairs, Catholicism in America is shedding more members than any other traditional faith.

The numbers are alarming. The Official Catholic Directory of 2008 reports there are over 67.1 million Catholics in the US, a decrease of nearly a half a million in the span of a year. The result has been the shuttering of parishes throughout much of the country.

Parts of Ohio, including Cleveland, have been hit especially hard, but closures have effected perishes throughout the US, including Allentown, Pennsylvania, Camden, New Jersey and New York City. As many as a third of those in the survey raised as Roman Catholics no longer attend the church.

Church with Barbed Wire

The cause of the migration away from Catholicism is said to be rooted in money. "Too many bishops are treating parishes as if they were Starbucks franchises," Sister Christine Schenk, a Cleveland-area nun opined. "It's about more than money. It's about mission to the people," she said. "This isn't what Jesus would do."

The Catholic church has been faced with a number of image problems in recent years, as a result of internal strife and mounting scandal. The most prominent scandal involved accusation of sexual misconduct between Catholic priests and under-age minors, usually young boys. Some priests were ultimately defrocked, while others served time in jail.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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