What happens to a Church when:
- Its Sunday attendance drops from over 80% of members to only 27% of its members attending weekly?
- When the Birthrate of its members drops below replacement due to contraception and abortion?
- When it’s members have seldom been trained to evangelize?
- When It’s members prefer to fit in to the world around them?
- When the majority of its members see faith merely as a private matter?
- When the majority of its members see the sacraments merely as rituals rather than saving medicine?
- When the majority of its members are more influenced by popular culture than by the teachings of the Church and Scriptures?
- When catechesis in that Church has been poor for decades?
Start connecting these dots and they spell trouble. They also spell “church closings.” Throughout the Nation Catholic Schools are closing at an alarming rate. Parishes are closing too: Last year Scranton closed 90 of its Catholic Parishes, Cleveland closed 50. These churches were once filled and busy. They grew empty as Church attendance in the US dropped from over 80% in the 1950s to 27% today and as the average number of children in Catholic families shrunk from almost 7 in the 1950s to less than 2 today.
I am aware that there are demographic shifts too. Some city centers have depopulated as people moved to the suburbs. But that only explains a litle of the drop. In the end the Church is about people and when people loose the sense that their presence is essential to the Church’s health, then the Church suffers. There are more Catholics today than ever before in this country (Almost 70 million). The only denomination that even comes close are the Southern Baptists with 16 million members. And our overall numbers have been growing each year thanks especially to immigration. But the number of PRACTICING Catholics keeps dropping. And now it has become critical. We can no longer sustain and maintain the praishes, schools, hospitals, seminaries and convents we once did.
Consider well how essential your faithfulness and attendance are:
If you are steady in your attendance, recommit yourself to this and become and evangelizer, drawing back to God’s House your family members who have drifted away.
If you are one who has drifted or fallen away from the practice of your faith, please see your attendance as absolutely critical. If you have never been told this, I am telling you now: we need you, we need your gifts and talents, we need your support and prayer. Without you we perish.
All of us have to be serious about the situation and start connecting the dots. The Church is currently very injured by a great falling away. We have to commit, recommit and become better eveangelizers. Otherwise we will see more of what is displayed in these videos. Church and school closings are a great loss, not only for us but also for the communities we serve. In the end the Church is about God with his people. Commit to God and the Church!