Today, Father Steve Grunow reviews an article from Commonweal contributor, Peter Steinfels, in which he analyzes statistics documenting the exodus of a large number of cradle Catholics from the Church. Father Steve challenges Steinfels' interpretation of the perceived departure.
Peter Steinfels laments in a recent issue of Commonweal
the results of a Pew Forum study that indicated that one in every three Americans who were raised Catholic have left the Church. If this statistic is true, a religious denomination comprised of former Catholics would constitute the second largest in the nation. Steinfels has reason to be concerned. According to the Pew Forum study “Catholicism has lost more people to other religions or no religion at all than any other religious group.” Steinfels’ lament goes on to identify not just the drifting away of so many from the Church, but the state of affairs that these people have left behind. The bishops, Steinfels contends, remain silent, and recent studies also indicate the Church’s ability to inculcate the teaching of the Church in new generations of believers have not only faltered, but have completely failed. In terms of general knowledge of the basic tenants of their Faith, young Catholics score lower when compared to adherents of other religions or members of Protestant denominations- not just lower, but way
lower. In terms of comprehension of Catholic teaching by young Catholics, ignorance prevails. If they are rejecting the Church, or will one day do so, do they even know what precisely they are abandoning?...