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From Catholic News Agency:

[quote][size=10pt]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.

“It’s 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 haven’t 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 they’re learning about their religion and about God,” Gray said.

It’s 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 “you’re kind of shown that there’s 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 that’s how to understand God along with science.”

“It was the Christian faith that was the birthplace of science,” he continued. “There’s not a contradiction” between faith and science, “but it’s 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 children’s’ beliefs, Dr. Gray noted, as many parents don’t 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. Augustine’s 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.”
It may be time to actually teach them the faith then instead of giving them tiny bits and expecting them to grow into their faith on their own. Really get in depth at an early age. Don't wait for them to get older because simply the atheists (or the LBGetc crowd) aren't waiting. The parents have to stop waffling as well because they are the first examples.  Perhaps also get into how atheism and the other competing ideologies, are lesser replacements when discarding the True Faith.

The ways to combat this are endless I am sure considering we have essentially done NOTHING TO CHECK IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Recently I read an article by Bishop Barron (don't judge)  wherein he said the reasons why many modern people choose not to believe are pathetic and easily refutable. The problem is no one is refuting it.

Another article, and I wish I could remember where and who, said that Catholics have largely given up any intellectual ground we once had. We have been cut off and have not successfully regained ground we lost. To compound this we have largely been content to just speak with one another because (and this will change in the near future) there are enough of us currently to do this. In other words the fishbowl is big enough that we haven't felt the crunch yet.

It's very sad. When I leave church in the summer the Protestants have prayer stations, the Muslims have a table with books, and the JWs are out with pamphlets all withing eye shot of the front steps. We're not even trying.
No surprise there... My own siblings kids fit that mold to a tee. It's somewhat late in the day  to fix the historical myths about the church and science; at the point that apostasy has corrupted the minds of the young to this extent, it's kind of late to close the barn door after the horse had run away.  But is the failure to reconcile science with faith the root cause of the crisis or the outcome? The problem is apostate teachers, in the church and the home.  Error imitated truth so closely for 50 years, that subtletys became heretical teachings, resulting in perversions of truth that result In a complete loss of faith.  People simply no longer know the catechism of the Catholic Church., because the leaders speak in a metaphysical double talk.    Only leadership can fix this, another St Athanasious.
I don't think simply emphasizing the whole faith will do the trick.  The state of science today is further along than it was just a decade or two ago, so in a "God of the gaps" scenario, there are fewer gaps for Catholicism to be put into that will kick the cognitive dissonance bucket far enough down the road.  Plainly, Catholicism needs to discover a new means to evangelize.  It must show why it is worthy of peoples' faith.  The reasons that sufficed in bygone eras no longer will because people don't think on that paradigm anymore.  There are enough people just on FE who are still desperately trying to hang onto geocentrism and young-earth creationism with no other reason as to why they should still be preferred other than "TRADITION!"  It's not enough anymore.  Catholicism will revive if it can demonstrate that it is not merely trying to fill the gaps, but rather is the whole tapestry behind the foreground.  Merely saying it is will also not be enough.  It must be more all-encompassing than modern science is.  If Catholicism can't do that, it will continue to die.

While I share many of the doubts these youngsters are going through, it is interesting to me that I, and many others my age, began to have the same doubts as they are having not at the same age as they did, but at the same point in time as they did.  If Catholicism is true, I'd say that is strong evidence for the beginning of a general apostasy.
Early as 10? C'mon. If it's said to be unreasonable for kids at that age to defend their faith, if any, how can kids at the age of 10 decide that it's "just a fairy tale" based on a lack of evidence? I get the feeling those that responded, at least those that said early as age of 10, are being smart asses and are just the typical fallen-away Catholics turned atheist/agnostic later in their teen or early 20s.

Devin Rose, a former atheist turned Baptist turned Catholic, said he wasn't a believer in his childhood because he was raised in a secular home where his parents said science was the truth. During his college years he suffered from anxiety and later depression which led him to read the Bible and later to Christianity.
(09-07-2016, 07:32 PM)GRA Wrote: [ -> ]Early as 10? C'mon. If it's said to be unreasonable for kids at that age to defend their faith, if any, how can kids at the age of 10 decide that it's "just a fairy tale" based on a lack of evidence?

I think you're severely underestimating kids' intelligence and ability to reason. It's not at all unreasonable for kids at that age to defend their faith, and they need to be taught how to do that. The problem is that they're not given those tools. They're not properly catechized at all. Nor are most Catholic adults.

We have a SEVERE crisis of catechesis out there. We're ripe for the picking for Protestant or atheist "harvesters," to kill a metaphor. The human element of the Church, and parents, have dropped the ball BIG TIME. Parents also have to become scientifically literate if they aren't already, and to be able to think logically. There is no reason whatsoever for a kid to come to the conclusion that the Faith isn't logical or is in contradiction to science. None. Parents have to be clear about the differences between science and scientism, and the concept that not all Truths can be subject to scientific inquiry. Those are the two KEY points, and kids must be taught them, with examples. Science shouldn't be mocked or dissed in any way, but scientism should be.

Atheism and Satanism are becoming cultural forces, showing up even in popular culture. Parents need to be HIGHLY aware of this and arm their kids intellectually, and make sure their emotional needs are met. They also have to deal with it all in an emotionally reasonable manner, without hyperbolic nonsense -- without saying, for ex., that atheists are all jerks and mean or whatever. That's a lie, and telling lies isn't the Catholic way. Lying to your kids will backfire as soon as they meet a sincere atheist who is a "nice person" and not an ogre. (Same thing goes when it comes to talking about homosexuality and homosexuals, BTW). "Veritas" should be the motto. We have nothing whatsoever to fear from the Truth, and charity should always reign.

I have a slew of kids' books I'd LOVE to write if I could come up with an illustrator who has the "vision" I have for what those illustrations should be like aesthetically and who'd be willing to work up front and split any profits 50-50. Some would be stories about various virtues; some would be about the Faith itself; some would be about logical fallacies and how to think (if it were up to me, we'd start teaching Logic in kindergarten, and I am NOT kidding) -- I just have a ton of ideas written down (some of the ideas I have aren't Catholic per se, however).

But SOMEONE has to pick that ball back up and RUN with it. I'm doing what I can for the average adult of average intelligence and average education (and I still have MUCH to add to the FE site itself), but maybe we need an FE for kids as well.
(09-07-2016, 06:34 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]...The state of science today is further along than it was just a decade or two ago, so in a "God of the gaps" scenario, there are fewer gaps for Catholicism to be put into that will kick the cognitive dissonance bucket far enough down the road.  Plainly, Catholicism needs to discover a new means to evangelize.  It must show why it is worthy of peoples' faith.  The reasons that sufficed in bygone eras no longer will because people don't think on that paradigm anymore.  There are enough people just on FE who are still desperately trying to hang onto geocentrism and young-earth creationism with no other reason as to why they should still be preferred other than "TRADITION!" 

I don't think you're giving enough credit to peoples of times past. To be sure, there are people who will always be naive enough to seek only enough to fill the gaps of their understanding. But I can think of a number of works by Churchmen, from the Church's inception, from both East and West, who have offered the deepest (surely, there is nothing deeper) metaphysical arguments 'for' the Faith. Frankly, I don't view Catholicism as having ever been presented to fill any gaps, generally- certainly not officially. Yes, there are those trads who are irrational and ignorant enough misunderstand both history and theology and the Church's relation to science so as to push for ideas which are anything but traditional.  When I read of the history of the of thirteenth Century Europe, for example, I see a group of believers who are educated and high-thinking; anything but people striving to believe through any gap-theory. Certainly, those who poured (in greater numbers than our own times) into the Universities of those times had to have been educated- in basic philosophy, at least- to face the rigors of the schools they were entering (I find it hard to imagine our post-secondary education coming anywhere close to the levels the students of those times where exposed to).

But saying that we need a new evangelization is a bit misguided, in my opinion. I think we can all agree that we've tried that, and the aggiornamento has failed- big time. Rather, lets rediscover what the Faith and the Church's teachers have always taught. We have (thank you internet) a hyperliterate youth. Giving them dummied down versions of the faith will only work for so long (rather, it doesn't work at all).

Alongside prayer and the sacraments, I would be hard-pressed to believe that a youth who dabbles in Aquinas, Garrigou-Lagrange, Ignatius, et al, would lose the Faith. Help them access modern Philosophers like Edward Feser, then let an atheist or Protestant or whoever speak with them and challenge them. We don't need to make great philosophers but we need to give them access to the logic (like Vox says) that the Church provides in her philosophy and theology.
(09-07-2016, 06:34 PM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]I don't think simply emphasizing the whole faith will do the trick.  The state of science today is further along than it was just a decade or two ago, so in a "God of the gaps" scenario, there are fewer gaps for Catholicism to be put into that will kick the cognitive dissonance bucket far enough down the road.  Plainly, Catholicism needs to discover a new means to evangelize.  It must show why it is worthy of peoples' faith.  The reasons that sufficed in bygone eras no longer will because people don't think on that paradigm anymore.  There are enough people just on FE who are still desperately trying to hang onto geocentrism and young-earth creationism with no other reason as to why they should still be preferred other than "TRADITION!"  It's not enough anymore.  Catholicism will revive if it can demonstrate that it is not merely trying to fill the gaps, but rather is the whole tapestry behind the foreground.  Merely saying it is will also not be enough.  It must be more all-encompassing than modern science is.  If Catholicism can't do that, it will continue to die.

While I share many of the doubts these youngsters are going through, it is interesting to me that I, and many others my age, began to have the same doubts as they are having not at the same age as they did, but at the same point in time as they did.  If Catholicism is true, I'd say that is strong evidence for the beginning of a general apostasy.

You make some good points Melkite. I think in general people are just not taught how to think deeply and rigorously about things today nor are they given many beautiful,signs,symbols and rituals within the churches in order to lead them to a deep interior life.  We cannot forget that aside from this most popes,bishops and priests do not in any major way give a credible witness to their faith. 

Aside from this quite frankly Aristotelian metaphysics and Thomism are both extremely difficult to grasp, hopelessly abstract and, by the standards of most today, simply outmoded and archaic. Even if these narratives and philosophies are the best lens to approximately reality, they are still extremely abstract,abtuse,academic and well beyond the intellectual capabilities of most people today (including myself!) to grasp enough to counter the modern experts.

Finally, apologetics itself is stuck in the triumphalist late 19th to early 20th century preconciliar era when the idea of an unchanging citadel church holding up against all attack seemed credible.  I'm thinking specifically of the naive and dreamy view of Rome best captured in Lord of the World or in Frank Sheed apologetics handbooks. It's simply not credible today...not...one...bit.

The Catholicism the world sees today is the stuff you read about in America, Commonweal or the average Novus Ordo parish,with nothing to put forward other than talk of celebrating human dignity, ecology and the Reformation. It's substanceless. Kids are leaving what they see through at an early age. If bishop so and so or father so and so don't really believe in the Faith (and kids aren't dumb, they see right through things)  they realize it's a sad sham and they fall away.  Who can blame them?

Quite frankly I'm not sure what the answer is.  For me it's to live in books, prayer and the imagination, all while largely vehemently being at odds with the official structure. This takes immense effort, is incredibly lonely and quixotic,although I wouldn't give up my Jesus Prayer or Divine Office for anything. 
"We believed that after the Council would come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. But instead there has come a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness ... And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil. It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of satan has entered the temple of God." [Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972, Homily during the Mass for Sts. Peter & Paul, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation]

Paul VI, Speech to Lombard Seminary, Dec. 7, 1968: “The Church finds herself in an hour of disquiet, of self-criticism, one might say even of self-destruction… The Church is wounding herself.” (L’Osservatore Romano, Dec. 19, 1968, p. 3.)

Thanks Paul VI for that totally unnecessary exercise in creating doubt and self-destruction through punishing orthodoxy and abolishing edifying ancient liturgy and reopening already settled questions, while propelling fairy heretics and sacrality destroying, protestantized guitar " masses."  Thanks alot John XXIII for ignoring those "prophets of doom" who were totally right and you were totally wrong.  God have mercy on you at your judgements as you left us all in crisis with no visible hope of restoration still 50 plus years later in 2016.

I think honestly people have either consciously or subconsciously internalized the reality that the Church of Vatican II is not the confident Catholic Church of all time preaching its exclusive uniqueness for salvation and supernatural ambience in its liturgy, devotions, imagery and architecture.  All they can see is a worldly banal wishy washy "faith community."  Even little kids can be perceptive to that awkward and uncomfortable feeling in some horizontal Novus Ordo they just want to get away from. 

Beyond the higher level apologetics and scientific development, which do play a factor certainly, there is nothing unique for people see or hear. The Eucharist is great! (But not really essential.  Prots love Jesus too!)  Catechesis or rather non-Catechesis is a joke.  All of that work post Vatican II to get rid of solid catechesis just to produce know nothing Catholics.  Or was that the point for freemason clergy....?

Manly, holy priests are hardly anywhere to be seen.  All you basically have are social workers whose message varies not much differently from liberal protestant ministers except with some sacraments there to help you along your journey. 

From the pulpit:  "Sure you can find Jesus and salvation elsewhere!  We are just the five course dinner and they are all the 3 course dinners.."

From the liturgy:  A lutheran/episcopalian looking meal service stripped out sanctuary and uncomfortable handshakes, corny songs, etc. etc.

From the Vatican: Total effeminate indifferentism and Francis lecturing "fundamentalist" Catholics for thinking they have a monopoly on the Truth.

Enough said.




Religious indifferentism/downplaying the serious importance of the Faith is a major issue. If you aren't teaching people that this is beautiful, important, transcendent, the way to true happiness, the fulfillment of all their deepest needs/wants/hopes, the way to salvation, etc...why would anyone ever expect them to stick with it?
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