Skip to comments.Why Catholics are leaving the faith by age 10 – and what parents can do about it
Posted on 09/06/2016 3:57:16 PM PDT by NYer
.- Young Catholics are leaving the faith at an early age sometimes before the age of 10 and their reasons are deeper than being bored at Mass, the author of a new report claims.
Those that are leaving for no religion and a pretty big component of them saying they are atheist or agnostic it turns out that when you probe a bit more deeply and you allow them to talk in their own words, that they are bringing up things that are related to science and a need for evidence and a need for proof, said Dr. Mark Gray, a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
Its almost a crisis in faith, he told CNA. In the whole concept of faith, this is a generation that is struggling with faith in ways that we havent seen in previous generations.
Gray recently published the results of two national studies by CARA which conducts social science research about the Church -- in the publication Our Sunday Visitor. One of the surveys was of those who were raised Catholic but no longer identified as Catholic, ages 15 to 25. The second survey was of self-identified Catholics age 18 and over.
In exploring why young Catholics were choosing to leave the faith, he noted an emerging profile of youth who say they find the faith incompatible with what they are learning in high school or at the university level. In a perceived battle between the Catholic Church and science, the Church is losing.
And it is losing Catholics at a young age. The interviews with youth and young adults who had left the Catholic Faith revealed that the typical age for this decision to leave was made at 13, Gray wrote. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed, 63 percent, said they stopped being Catholic between the ages of 10 and 17. Another 23 percent say they left the Faith before the age of 10.
Of those who had left the faith, only 13 percent said they were ever likely to return to the Catholic Church, Gray wrote. And absent any big changes in their life, he said to CNA, they are probably not coming back.
The most common reason given for leaving the Catholic faith, by one in five respondents, was they stopped believing in God or religion. This was evidence of a desire among some of them for proof, for evidence of what theyre learning about their religion and about God, Gray said.
Its a trend in the popular culture to see atheism as smart and the faith as a fairy tale, he said.
And I think the Church needs to come to terms with this as an issue of popular culture, he continued. I think the Church perhaps needs to better address its history and its relationship to science.
One reason for this might be the compartmentalization of faith and education, where youth may go to Mass once a week but spend the rest of their week learning how the faith is dumb, he noted.
In contrast, if students are taught evolution and the Big Bang theory at the same school where they learn religion, and they are taught by people with religious convictions, then youre kind of shown that theres not conflicts between those, and you understand the Church and Church history and its relationship to science, he said.
With previous generations who learned about both faith and science as part of a curriculum, that education helped them a lot in dealing with these bigger questions, he explained, and not seeing conflict between religion and science.
Fr. Matthew Schneider, LC, who worked in youth ministry for four years, emphasized that faith and science must be presented to young people in harmony with each other.
A challenge, he explained, is teaching how faith and science relate through philosophy and theology. While science deals only with what is observable and measurable, he said, the world needs something non-physical as its origin, and thats how to understand God along with science.
It was the Christian faith that was the birthplace of science, he continued. Theres not a contradiction between faith and science, but its understanding each one in their own realms.
How can parents raise their children to stay in the faith? Fr. Schneider cited research by Christian Smith, a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, who concluded that a combination of three factors produces an 80 percent retention rate among young Catholics.
If they have a weekly activity like catechesis, Bible study or youth group; if they have adults at the parish who are not their parents and who they can talk to about the faith; and if they have deep spiritual experiences, they have a much higher likelihood of remaining Catholic, Fr. Schneider said.
More parents need to be aware of their childrens beliefs, Dr. Gray noted, as many parents dont even know that their children may not profess to be Catholic.
The Church is very open to science, he emphasized, noting the affiliation of non-Catholic scientists with the Pontifical Academy of Science, including physicist Stephen Hawking.
There is no real conflict between faith and science, Gray said.
The Church has been steadily balancing matters of faith and reason since St. Augustines work in the fifth century, he wrote.
Yet, the Church has a chance to keep more of the young Catholics being baptized now if it can do more to correct the historical myths about the Church in regards to science, he added, and continue to highlight its support for the sciences, which were, for the most part, an initial product of the work done in Catholic universities hundreds of years ago.
Stunning! Look around you and ask yourself ... “where did this come from”? It’s so simple. If not God, then what created the universe.
God created the universe and everything in it, including all the scientific laws that scientists are discovering.
I didn’t leave Catholicism, because I never belonged. Yes, at age 10 my mother forced me to go to a catholic church where a child molester jammed a cracker down my throat along with some wine while babbling a bunch of nonsense in an extinct language. Yet there are those, including a rabidly catholic brother in law, who think this makes me a catholic for life. Wrong. I am no more catholic than a Jew or a moslem is. I didn’t choose Catholicism and I never wanted any part of it. Therefore, I never left it. It may have been my mother’s religion, but it was never mine. And catholics need to get over it. I want no part of their church. I never have and I never will.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster?
If there's a clock,there's a clock maker.
Schools. The evil one has been hard at work in the schools.
You conflate Catholicism with Christianity.
The proper question is what did Jesus mean when he said when He said (paraphrasing): Kephas Petras
Yup,that's what smug "progressive" atheists call God.
Ya, science is going to teach these kids all about morality.
Since when do 10 year olds get a vote on whether to go to church or not?
How are they allowed to leave while still living with their parents? After they leave home I could see it and understand completely.
“before the age of 10 and their reasons are deeper than being bored at Mass, the author of a new report claims.
Those that are leaving for no religion and a pretty big component of them saying they are atheist or agnostic”
I doubt many kids 10 and under even know what “atheist” or “agnostic” means. I’ll go with Occam here, church is usually boring for kids.
Re : #3 ~ Why Catholics are leaving the faith by age 10
Is the answer because at 11 theyll be called upon to be altar boys? ~
NOT funny, you should be ashamed of yourself...
The church can do some but the primary opportunity is the parents’. The article says even a once - weekly faith- related activity makes a significant difference for the kids. It’s the parents that can provide or at least enable this for their nice little Porto- atheist rug rats.
That’s what I wonder too. 10 year olds are not going to say they are leaving a church, without parents involvement and approval.
“Since when do 10 year olds get a vote on whether to go to church or not?”
Yup. Tho my family wasn’t really church-going, when they did go you couldn’t opt out.
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