The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Scariest chart of the day

To get a clearer idea of what it means — and what can be done about it — check out Msgr. Charles Pope’s blog this morning.

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posted October 14, 2010 at 11:37 am

That is… unfortunate.

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posted October 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm

When are people going to learn to use SHAPES, as well as colors, to denote things in graphs? Over 5% of the population is red-green color blind; to us, this chart is useful only in that it shows that both marriages and baptisms have significantly declined. Which line is which is a pure guess for the red-green color blind.

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Mike L

posted October 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

This curve does not surprise me. My wife and I have worked with Marriage Encounter for several years now and have seen a large drop in the number of couples that care to attend an ME weekend to the point that we are having to cancel weekends because of a lack of interest. In talking with people associated with other programs for married couple we hear of the same problems. Young couples are too burdened with raising their children and the diocese will not allow us to provide baby sitting because of the requirement for back ground checks resulting from the sexual abuse problem. We also find that neither the diocese or individual pastor “have time” to promote the various programs. We cannot even get timely advertising in the diocesan newspaper!
We hear the moans and cries about how marriage and baptisms are declining, but it seems like the response is to require six months of preparation for marriage and three months preparation for baptism. I suspect what really needs to be taught to keep a marriage together cannot by taught in six months, and what is taught could be done a 6 days. But I do not know enough about what our deacon teaches during this time to really make a judgment. On the other hand it seems to me that waiting three months implies that baptism is not all that important, I certainly would have been uncomfortable waiting three months to have my children baptized, I know too many children that have died in that time period.
Sadly, I do not expect the statistics to improve, at least not in the near future. The Church administration has picked its area where it will spend its resources, and I do not think that is on helping married couples find the spiritual beauty of their marriage and what a wonderful thing it is. I hope I am wrong.
Mike L

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posted October 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

welcome to the faith remnant Church.

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Leo Carton Mollica

posted October 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm

ReaganRepublican: The marriage rate is lower than the baptism rate.

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posted October 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Interesting article. The world has changed and it seems that the Catholic families have too. One suggestion that Pope suggested was to encourage families to have more children, in order to repopulate the church. Does he understand that it costs money to raise children, and that isn’t going to get cheaper? Is he going to help finance those parents that give birth to those future Catholics? (no guarantee that those kids would stay in the church). Parents have apparently stopped worrying about baptism, as they realize that the baby isn’t going to go to a bad place if they aren’t baptized. As to marrying in the church? What is it—6 months of classes or something to see if they really want to get married or to teach them about marriage. (taught by a man who has never married, if it is a priest that does the classes). There are many reasons more I’m sure that explain the decrease in RC marriages and baptisms. As Pope mentioned, good thing some of the slack is being taken up by the immigrants, huh? Many Catholic schools have closed in the city I live near—-lack of money to keep them open because there aren’t enough kids to pay to keep them open. So far the one I taught in is still open, getting some of the kids from the closed schools. Don’t know how much longer it will be able to stay open.

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posted October 15, 2010 at 2:38 am

Well this is great news! No sarcasim intended. “Come ye out of her my people and be not partakers of her sins” God’s request to his people regarding the “GREAT WHORE OF BABYLON” Revelation 18:4. Oh thats right, I forgot, Catholics are not encoraged to actually READ GOD’S WORD. Read and learn what the Bible actually says, believe, THEN get baptized. Then heaven will await you. The pope nor the catholic church can save your soul. Praying to Mary or to statues won’t get you there either. Oh, by the way; there is no such thing as pergatory. That too is a lie. Invented during the crusades so that those commiting murder in the name of the pope had hope of going to heaven. Sorry, purgatory is also not Biblical. Who’s word do you trust? a nuns? A priest? a bishop? a cardinal? the pope? Or GOD? Your call. Your judgement. Your ETERAL SOUL.

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posted October 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Interesting that the drop had begun well before 1965. Some of that may simply have been demographics (the tapering off of the postwar marriages and baby boom). But some of it…reinforces my belief that not all the disastrous trends (consider also the collapse in religious vocations beginning in 1965) which have overtaken the Church since the Council are traceable purely to the misbegotten reforms instituted at that time. How much of this would have happened anyway due to larger trends in Western society?
Nonetheless, the abandonment of solid, even rote (however imperfect) catechesis, the impoverishment of liturgy, the unwillingness to teach the doctrine of the Church, the toleration of radical theologies, have all had their impact on Catholic life. And it is manifestly not a good one.

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posted October 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Dear PaganSister, I get your questions and frustrations. Been there. But that was when I really knew so little about Christ’s invitation to me, his truth, the history of holy people in a secular world (even though I thought I knew enough!). Even the simple idea that God loves me. I had no idea! What does this have to do with this discussion? God has been so patient with me. I’ve learned to trust the Church even if I did not understand and even when the Church’s position seemed absurd given the world conditions today. Now, as I crawl toward truth, I am seeing how God’s truth is proclaimed in our Pope’s teachings. The answer to your questions lie in your seeking God through the sacraments and study of history and church teaching, and not relying on your own understanding. Paul said that the world will never understand. PaganSister, be patient with yourself, with God, and with His Church; and study her teachings. God bless you, Bob.

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posted October 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Jaydee, a serious study of the early church A.D. 30 – A.D. 400 will show you that the Catholic Church is the ONLY church that Jesus established -and the gates of hell will not prevail against it! What do you do with the teachings of Jesus when he tells Peter that upon him he will build his church, or the verse that speaks of the 11 apostles drawing lots to see who will replace Judas? NO. rather, scripture says “who will take his station”. A serious study of early church teaching and the old testament will show you that God established kingship dynasties and hierarchies, and that the Church that GOD designed is liturgical, hierarchical, and apostolic. The authority of the Catholic Church is traced directly, every generation, to Jesus, through his Church. If you don’t get that, then you won’t get the rest of God’s truth that has been guarded by the Church consistently for 2000 years. Most importantly you won’t believe Jesus himself in your own bible when he said, “unless you eat of the flesh of the son of man, you will not have life within you”. Oh. And Baptism? Yes. Baptism into the Church founded by Jesus: the Catholic Church. God bless you. Bob

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Donna Ruth

posted October 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Dear Pagan Sister: Like Bob, I, too, have been where you are. He speaks great wisdom when he writes, “I’ve learned to trust the Church even if I did not understand, and even when the Church’s position seemed absurd given the world conditions today.” It took me five years of examining Church teachings and sacred scripture before I could fully embrace the big and little T truths of the Church. Entering into that embrace offered blessed peace that I could not find in wearying worldly attitudes. As for the nitty gritty issues you mention, I know many Catholic families with seven, eight, ten, even twelve children, and I see in those families a closeness and faithfulness that is the envy of many. And, yes, they may not be as “wealthy” as others, but they have a wealth beyond what the world offers. I see it, and I wish my husband and I had not been such silly fools as to choose a secular worldly path in our earlier childbearing years.
I know this is hard to understand when the world tells us to measure ourselves by what we own, but there is true peace found in holding on to the ways of Catholic faith. And we are all invited.

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Bill G

posted October 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Thanks for the profound historical and theological input. I will pray to a statue for you.

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Real Catholic Woman

posted October 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I used to believe like you. I found the real true faith by doing researching and asked questions. If you really are a true believer, you are responsible to find out the truth. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Scripture is the only source of our faith (Sola Scriptura). You have been taught wrong as I was. I would put my life, and my family’s life on the line for the Catholic Teaching. The Catholic Church is at fault today for not Teaching the faithful the true teachings of Christ. Very sad, but true. But, that’s no excuse. Not everything is in the Bible. It does not have to be. Sacred Tradition is the oral teaching of Christ passed on to the Apostles by word of mouth. When the Lord ascended He left the Holy Spirit to guide the church and an Authority was needed on Earth. The first Pope, Peter was chosen because God Revealed it to Peter Alone Who Christ was. Peter knew who Christ was. The others were not sure. The apostles passed it on from generation to generation, called Apostolic Succession. We do not pray “to statutes”. They are used to help keep our mind focused on prayer. There were no Bibles back then and people
did not know how to read. There were no printing presses either. So, Art and Statutes were used to help the faithful meditate and understand. As they preached the gospel, in time, the statutes and art helped those to understand the faith better. They are to be helpful not to worship the statute themselves. Art, sculpture is part of our very rich faith and a gift from God. Please inform yourself before critizing what you do not know. I have been where you are and I am so happy that the Lord led me home to His Church that He established through the apostles. Where there is a “Word”, in law and government, there must be an Authority to interpret, otherwise there will be numerous interpretations, of which all could never be right. Only One God, One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, not 30,000 + churches all claiming they have the right interpretation. Seek and ye shall find Jaydee. The last line of the book of John says there would never be enough books to write down everything the Lord taught the Apostles Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture (both on the same level of truth) and Magisterial Teachings, the presenter and preservers of Christ’s Teachings. God Bless You. A Prodigal Daughter

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posted October 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Bob and Donna Ruth:
Appreciate your comments and am happy that you are happy with your decisions to be in the faith you are in. Personally it isn’t for me, as I have entirely too much trouble accepting some of the teachings of the RC church, one of which is intercourse is primarily for reproduction. As a woman, my primary job wasn’t to be a baby factory. (I was a teacher before I retired, so I do love children.) 2 planned children was enough for us, and permanent birth control took care of worrying about another. Not a novice when it comes to Christianity, first 17 years being raised as a Methodist by loving and caring parents, and at 18, found it wasn’t for me…just didn’t work, and being over 60, still doesn’t. I’m extremely happy where I am in life with my husband of 46 years.
The best to you both.

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