CATHOLICS MUST RECLAIM THEIR SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL DISTINCTIVENESS
A new survey of more than 4000 adults reveals that the average American Catholic, or those who profess to be Catholic, have completely compromised with the culture to the point that many Catholics have entirely lost their spiritual distinctiveness--and need I say--faith. Fr John Hardon used to say that ordinary Catholics would not survive this age--it appears his words are ringing true. The motu proprio could not have come at a better time-it will solidify the cultural distinctiveness that Catholics once possessed and revive true holiness and sanctification in our Church and our world. Meanwhile, read, grieve and pray...
The Barna Group "examined 97 different facets of the lives of Catholics, comparing them to national norms. The outcome is striking: Catholics are virtually indistinguishable from people aligned with other faith groups - except in the area of faith."
"Although the percentage of adults who describe themselves as Catholic has dropped from three out of ten to slightly more than two out of ten in the past two decades, Catholics remain the largest denominational segment in the country (22%). These days, however, they are as mainstream as any people group in the nation...The Barna Group examined 97 different facets of the lives of Catholics, comparing them to national norms."
"44% of Catholics claimed to be "absolutely committed" to their Christian Faith compared to 54% of the entire adult population. Catholics were less likely than average to look forward to discussing their religious views with other people, to attending church services, and to reading the Bible. Catholics were only half as likely as other Americans to say they look forward "a lot" to reading from the Bible."
Faith oriented Behaviors: "The typical Catholic person: donated about 17% less money to churches; was 38% less likely than the average American to read the Bible; 67% less likely to attend a Sunday school class; 20% less likely to share their faith in Christ with someone who had different beliefs; 24% less likely to say their religious faith has greatly transformed their life; and were 36% less likely to have an "active faith," which Barna defined as reading the Bible, praying and attending a church service during the prior week."
Here is a little good news--"Catholics were 16% more likely than the norm to attend a church service and 8% more likely to have prayed to God during the prior week."
As for Spiritual Beliefs: "Catholics were significantly less likely to believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; and only half as likely to maintain that they have a responsibility to share their faith with others. [Catholics] were more likely than the norm to say that Satan is not real; to believe that eternal salvation is earned; and to contend that Jesus Christ sinned while on earth."
As to Moral Convictions: "Among the 16 moral behaviors examined, Catholics were notably more likely to not say mean things about people behind their back, and were more likely to engage in recycling. However, they were also twice as likely to view pornographic content on the Internet and were more likely to use profanity, to gamble, and to buy lottery tickets."
"Among the moral behaviors in which Catholics were indistinguishable from other Americans were illegally downloading copyrighted music from the Internet, stealing, engaging in physical abuse, getting drunk, using illegal, non-prescription drugs, lying, committing adultery, and seeking revenge."
And Catholics are as wordly as the rest: "Regarding aspects of life outside of faith and morals, Catholics are strikingly similar to the rest of the public. For example, from the 14 self-descriptions offered to survey respondents, the only adjective that separated Catholics from other Americans was their disinclination to adopt the term "evangelical Christian." Catholics were 39% less likely to accept that label. But all of the other adjectives - ranging from "independent thinker," "seen as a leader," and "loyal and reliable" to "stressed out" and "clear about the meaning and purpose of my life" - generated virtually identical scores between Catholics and others."
"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48
To read the entire study see: The Barna Group