The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Remnant, anyone?

The results of this recent Gallup poll are, to put it mildly, interesting.

It does make one wonder: just how do you define “Catholic” for these things?

And, of course: if this is even remotely accurate, what does that say about us as a Church?

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posted March 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I think this the results are accurate. They partly reflect the views of “culture” or “Cheaster” Catholics. But they also reflect the tolerance-ethic that has replaced Catholic moral teaching in our catechesis and in our homilies. Every time a Catholic commentator (or a bishop, for that matter) speaks of cracking down (as in the ND case), the dominant voices in our culture (including nearly all the media) cry out, “But Jesus was nice. He would just hug and squeeze the people who do/think/act in ways you so judgmentally brand as ‘wrong’!” The result is not that Catholics in America are confused; the result is that Catholics in America have accepted this mindset and think it is the teaching of their faith.

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posted March 30, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I’ve actually been through the raw data from earlier years, and they define practicing Catholic pretty much the way I suspect you would – going to Sunday Mass every Sunday.What I found most interesting in rummaging through the data, was that on certain issues (women’s ordination for example, married priests) the hypothesis that the support for these issues is nearly entirely located in the non-practicing hippy era Catholic population, not to be true. If all the litmus tests are applied, it will be a very small Church indeed. A thought that occurs to me on occasion when I hear people on one side or another lament the participation of the other side is that when you put all the weight on one side of a boat, they tend to overturn — not something it would be wise risking with the Barque of Peter.

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted March 30, 2009 at 6:50 pm

One reputable pollster a few years ago said that polls should give more consideration to where people live. He claimed that, since very few Catholics are rural, it is amazing how “conservative” or “traditional” Catholics are–especially regular Church-going Catholics. He claimed that most Catholics live in the areas where extreme liberal institutions control the culture whereas people in far suburban and rural areas–although they are not beyond the reach of the all-pervasive liberal media– still hear and powerfully experience more alternative points of view.

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posted March 30, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I do not think we can underestimate the effect the child sex abuse scandals have had on many active catholics. Right now the bishops and even Rome have little crediblity. When it comes to morals talkin the talk just does not cut it. Also we are hearing precious little from the pulpit about the financial crisis we are ALL dealing with. All abortion all the time. This is not a plea to change the subject but to speak to what effects our lives, our families and the greater community christian and otherwise. Just as “Man does not live by bread alone” well you get the point.

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posted March 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, there was no tuition to attend Catholic schools at the primary level and then it was several hundred dollars for very good high schools. And the books were not amorphous but dogmatic. That changed (tuitions rose and catechisms became amorphous and non doctrinaire) and one wonders how many Catholics opted out of Catholic primary when one then had to pay and the same would go for increases in high school. And the ones who did go were then getting catechesis that resembled the saccharine versions of homilies we had in some parishes forever. Still the poll is surprising on divorce and abortion and Pew research noted that on abortion, the youngest Catholics are the worst as to be liberal. The death penalty is off track with these other issues in that from Augustine til Pius XII in 1952, there was affirmation of it by the Church. And this recent change is really the personal feelings of the last two or three Popes and I reject their position after having read Evangelium Vitae on it which may be the worst papal reasoning I’ve seen. “Modern penology” is not modern at all unless one is thinking of electric doors. But if one is thinking of “life sentences”…(and he was), they existed during the Inquisition as we find in journals of that time since all they require is affluence of a nation and Spain was getting much money during the Inquisition by looting Chile..a permission given them by Pope Alexander VI in 1494 in Inter Caetera…but I digress. John Paul II said in 1999 in St. Louis that the death penalty was “cruel and unnecessary”. That personal view contradicts CCC 2267 not to mention Genesis 9:5-6 and Romans 13:3-4….but who’s noticing?

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posted March 30, 2009 at 10:45 pm

So Obama is getting some flack from Catholic Bishops and the media runs in with a poll to show that they are not in line with Catholics and ObamaCaths. We do not know how it was conducted or its accuracy. If it was set up in places like NY where many ObamaCaths pretend to still be Catholic and many still go to mass, then you get numbers to support BO. Why we still count Catholics who have not been to church in years as Catholic is one that puzzles me. Seems like between not going to Mass every Sunday and holiday of obligation, not going to reconcilliation, and when they do a drop by mass for a funeral or baptism running up in the state of grave sin to the Eucharist would begin to isolate them as no longer Catholics. Kind of like saying one is a democrat but never doing anything to support the party or vote in decades. I notice they look at likely voters in polls now. Maybe we should have unlikely still Catholic catagory.As to the Church getting smaller, think that is what it really needs to grow. Bishop Dolan made a strong point in the video that the DEacon posted earlier with his impression on why people are leavig and where they are going. Those who leave to seek God, especially the young, are going not to the churches with women priests and liberal Catholic light, but to the Evangelicals that demand a lot more from them in belief. The liberal Catholic light churches are struggling even with their women priest, support of gay lifestyle, married priest, and whatever you want to do teachings. All the things liberals say the Catholic Church needs. Tighten up the Church to actual teaching and get strong bishops like Olmsted, Dolan, Chaput, and others and you will grow a strong Church in 10 years that dwarfs what is there today.

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posted March 31, 2009 at 12:17 am

If you’d polled 17th-century Catholics about concubinage, duelling and slavery, I imagine the results would have been pretty similarly at odds with magisterial teaching.

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posted March 31, 2009 at 6:36 am

One could “apologize” for this data from innumerable vantage points. But, Ron has hit the nail squarely on its head!For American Catholics today, there is a fundamental lack of knowing the Eucharist. And, that fact alone is the explanation of all the data in this poll.”As the Captain goes, so goes the ship.”The Teachings haven’t changed. It’s time for our bishops, priests, deacons, parents and catechists to teach these Truths with renewed Trust; both in the Truth and in the One who entrusted it to us.

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tim mccarthy

posted March 31, 2009 at 11:08 am

The Teachings have not changed, and the Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Cathechists, and parents share responsibility. But it appears to me that what is wrong is “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi” and all it takes is a return to the “vetus ordo”, to end these “new springtime disasters.”

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Fr. Eric

posted March 31, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Rebel against your parents and go to Mass! After challenging your priest on various ways of living selfishly, go to Mass for a year, read Scripture once a week, pray rosary once a week. For Catholics the Faith is both objective and subjective. Their is a body of beliefs and we ascent to that in our search and love for Christ Jesus who has been proclaimed to us.

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