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April 14, 2013

Decline in Catholics' church attendance: Fact or Lie?

It is not even shocking for many that there is a huge decline in Filipino Catholic's weekly church attendance, it is evident not in the number of people in their chapels who attend mass but through their catholic neighbors/friends/relatives/family/classmates/workmates that do not attend mass at all, they attend mass only when there is a special occasion like Christmas or birthdays etc.

But the question is, Is there really a decline in Filipino Catholic's church attendance?

Its a fact. Let's read the news:

The SWS conducted the survey on its own account as a “public service” and to determine if Fr. Joel Tabora’s assertions on his blog, posted on February 7, that “the Catholic church is in trouble is true.
Four topics were covered: Leaving the Catholic Church, how often they go to church, assessment of Church attendance, and religiosity.

The results of the survey showed that about 9.2 percent or one out of 11 Catholics said they “sometimes think of leaving the Catholic Church.” Of the 9.2 percent, only 2.5 percent “strongly agrees” in leaving the Church while 6.7 percent said they “somewhat agree” with the statement “sometimes I think of leaving the catholic church.”

However, the poll firm said those who consider leaving the church “do not consider themselves as very religious, attend church monthly mostly and whose church attendance is less now than five years ago.”

Among the Catholics who contemplate leaving the Church, 4.9 percent consider themselves as “very religious”, 9.1 percent were “somewhat religious”, 16.1 said that they were “not very religious”, and 57.3 said they “have no religious belief”.

The survey, conducted from February 15 to 17, involved 1,200 registered voters.

It did not only cover Catholic voters but also voters from other religions. Of the 1,200, 81 percent were Catholics, six percent were Protestants, three percent were members of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and three percent were of other religions.

Among the Catholic respondents, 43 percent said they hear mass once a week; 22 percent go to Church two to three times a month; 21 percent hear Mass once a month; nine percent attend two to 11 times a year and five percent, once a year at most.

Only 37 percent of Catholics attend church weekly. In comparison, there are nearly twice as many of other Christians who are weekly churchgoers: 64 percent among Protestants, 70 percent among Iglesia ni Cristos and 62 percent among other Christians,” the SWS said.

SWS noted that in 70 SWS surveys regarding church attendance conducted from 1991 to 2013, weekly attendance was always lower among Catholics in general.

SWS said that only 29 percent of Catholics consider themselves very religious, compared to 50 percent among Protestants, 43 percent among Iglesia ni Cristo members, 41 percent among those from other Christian denominations and 38 percent from Muslims.

“Compared with other religious groups, Catholics are the least religious,” the SWS revealed.

source: manilatimes.net

Its not surprising that Catholic priests, bishops, archbishops and even catholic defenders immediately defend their church saying that church's weekly attendance in fact increased and that their chapels are always full of people.

There is maybe a truth that some of their chapels or lets say many of their chapels are filled with churchgoers, but is it a proof that churchgoers really increased? Do they think about the number of catholic population in the Philippines and the number of their chapels across the country? How about their chapels' seating capacity and the number of Catholics in that area? 

My point is, even there are thousands and thousands of catholics attend mass every sunday, we should think that there are MILLIONS of Catholics in the Philippines. The number of Catholic's weekly church attendance in their chapels does not reflect the Catholic's church attendance as a whole.

What's the current situation of Catholics in the United States?

Only about one in four American Catholics attend mass once a week, a number that has been cut in half in the past 40 years, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center released Wednesday.

Only 24 percent of US Catholics said they went to mass on a weekly basis in 2012, down from 47 percent in 1974, according to the study, which was published as the world's 1.2 billion Catholics await the election of a new pope.

Among self-identified "strong" Catholics, only 53 percent went to mass once a week last year, down from 85 percent in 1974.

About a quarter (27 percent) of respondents identified themselves as "strong" Catholics last year, down more than 15 percentage points from the mid-1980s and among the lowest readings since 1974, the Pew data showed.

The figure is in sharp contrast to the 54 percent of Protestants who say they have a strong religious identity -- one of the highest levels since Pew began asking the question nearly four decades ago.
Agence France-Presse
source: globalpost.com

How about Catholics in European countries? 

In France, Germany and Spain, where multiple Pew Research surveys have asked respondents how often they attend church, few Catholics report going to Mass on a weekly basis. In four surveys conducted between 2009 and 2011, no more than 10% of French Catholics said they attend Mass at least weekly. By comparison, between 24% and 31% of Spanish Catholics have said they attend church at least once a week in polls conducted between 2009 and 2011.Among Catholics in Germany, roughly one-in-five said they go to Mass on a weekly basis in 2009 and 2010. In Pew Research polling in 2011, a slightly lower proportion of German Catholics (16%) reported attending Mass at least once a week.

Pew Research surveys have not routinely asked about attendance at religious services in Italy.

source: pewforum.org

And how about the center of the Catholic Church, Italy?

ROME, August 8, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite regular polls showing that about 30 percent of Italian Catholics claim to attend Sunday Mass regularly, a closer look at the numbers reveals a more uncertain future for the Italian Church, and consequently for Italy as a moral vanguard in Europe.
For many years, Italians responding to surveys have said that between 30 and 50 percent attend Mass more than once a month. But in 2004-5, the Patriarchate of Venice undertook a study that showed the actual attendance numbers were no more than 22.7 percent, with only 15 percent attending every Sunday. Those who attended one to three times were 7.7 percent. The survey noted that Mass attendance increases with the level of education, in contrast to findings in other parts of Europe. 

While this number still compares favorably to that of other EU countries like France, where regular attendance is thought to be below 5 percent, it is likely to slide further in the coming years. 

A survey conducted by Professor Paolo Segatti of the University of Milan, published in the magazine “Il Regno” in May, found that the news is even worse among younger Italians. Among those born after 1981, Segatti found, Mass attendance, self-identification as Catholic, and adherence to Catholic teaching are “in collapse.” Segatti predicted a near future in which Catholicism holds only “minority status in Italy.”

“It is imaginable that when the children of the younger generation become parents, they will make a further contribution to secularization.”

Segatti writes. “The youngest Italians are the ones to whom religious experience is most foreign. They clearly go to church less, believe in God less, pray less, trust the Church less, identify themselves as Catholic less, and say that being Italian does not mean being Catholic.”

Vatican expert and Italian journalist Sandro Magister noted last week that the loss of faith among young people has strongly affected women: “The collapse is so clear that it also wipes out the differences in religious practice between men and women – the latter of whom tend much more to be practicing – typical of the previous generations. Among the youngest, very few of the women go to church, on a par with the men.”

Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:15 EST
source: lifesitenews.com

You can search other surveys in other countries in the internet.

Now, Is there a DECLINE in the Catholic Church?

First Latin American Pope could counter declining Catholicism

Pope Francis, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the first non-European pontiff since the eighth century, bringing a distinctly New World flavor to the Vatican that Catholics hope can reverse the decades-long trend of Latin Americans leaving the church.

Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, acknowledged how unusual his non-European origins are as he greeted thousands of faithful outside St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday night. "As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am," he said shortly after his election.

Pope Francis shares his faraway home of Latin America with about 40 percent of the world's Catholics, a plurality of the world's faithful that has nonetheless eroded significantly in the past 50 years as droves of Catholics converted to evangelical Protestantism.

Roberto Blancarte, a professor at the Center of Sociological Studies at El Colegio de México, found that about 1,000 Catholics left the church every day between 2000 and 2010, adding up to a loss of 4 million congregants. Overall, Blancarte estimates that about 90 percent of Latin Americans were Catholic in 1970, compared with about 70 percent today, though the percentage varies widely by country. In the United States, the percentage of Hispanic Catholics has also been declining, but more because they are becoming more secular than converting to competing religions.

Having a Latin American pope, whose native language is Spanish, might lure back some of those Catholics to the fold.

"It could be part of an overarching process of helping to revitalize the Latin American church," said R. 

Andrew Chesnut, the Bishop Walter Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

"A lot of Latin American Catholics will feel very proud and elated that the new pope is one of theirs and his native language is their native language."

The precipitous decline in Catholic affiliation might have nudged the cardinals into selecting a non-European pope for the first time in centuries. Seventeen percent of the cardinals in the conclave were from Latin America.

"With this bleeding of members over the last half-century it made so much sense strategically to choose a Latin American. Europe is lost, the church is in a real crisis there, but Latin America still has a chance to be salvaged," Chesnut said.

Robert P. George, a Christian conservative thinker and law professor at Princeton, said the move will be interpreted by people in Latin America as a recognition "that there is a strong Catholic culture and many faithful Catholics in Latin America."

But not all experts on Catholicism agreed. Blancarte pointed out that Pope John Paul II was unable to battle the larger trend away from Catholicism despite his unprecedented attention to the region during his 26-year papacy.

"John Paul II visited almost every country in Latin America. ... He was as much Latin American as anyone can be," Blancarte said. "The fact that [Francis] is Latin American is a marginal fact."

Miguel Zamora, an Argentine immigrant who lives in New York and works for a pharmaceutical company, said he was elated to learn the new pope is from Argentina. "I think this is going to be a big boost for Argentina," Zamora said.

But he added that the pride he feels for the pope's nationality will not necessarily coax him back to attending mass on Sundays. "I still have hopes that the church is going to change," he said.

Wed, Mar 13, 2013
source: news.yahoo.com 

You decide! 

Is this really the TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST? 

And the Church that will Christ save?

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