Religious practice drops in the US
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Religious practice drops in the US

A “Religious News Service” study warns that the number of baptisms and church weddings has dropped. “People want God but they’re not happy with churches”

The country which has “In God we trust” stamped on its currency seems in fact to be trusting in God less and less every year since the motto first appeared on coins in 1864 and later became the national motto in 1956.

The study carried out by the Religious New Service, shows that one in five Americans today say they have no religious identity.

Religious practice has taken a dive among people of any denomination who call themselves Christian, starting with children’s baptism. In 1970 there were 426,000 marriages in U.S. Catholic churches — a full 20% of all U.S. marriages that year. By contrast, in 2011, there were 164,000 such weddings — only 8% of all marriages. But in both years, Catholics were 23% of the national population. Baptisms have followed the same trend. Back in 1970 there were approximately 1 million baptisms registered but by 2011 this had dropped to exactly 793,103.

“There is a de-emphasis on practicing faith. People want God but they’re not happy with churches,” the Rev. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee said. According to Page, sacraments such as baptism have fallen victim to an “anti-denominational, anti-institutional, even anti-church era.” Like the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) which rightly considers baptism a key part of the Christian faith, recorded 314,959 baptisms in 2012, a low which has not been seen since 1948. This is odd when one considers that the number of faithful joining the SBC has risen from 6 million back then to nearly 16 million now.

An interesting point for religious scholars is that even Hispanic Americans who have always been considered “reservoirs of faith” compared to their more secular Anglo-Saxon brothers are showing a tendency to follow national trends.

Hispanics account for 34% of US Catholics and of this, a significant 13% claim they do not have any religious identity. The same percentage of Hispanics seek their spiritual path in the Evangelical denominations. While there was great emphasis on the number of Hispanics – particularly young Hispanics – who switch from Catholicism to the Evangelical denominations, the same cannot be said for those Catholics who decide not to have any faith at all. 80% of those who claim not to have a religious identity are in favour of same-sex marriage, while only 21% of Evangelicals are in favour of such unions.

All this is leading to the sacraments – including baptism – being practiced less and less. In 2006 1 in 4 families in the US was composed of people of different religious faiths; in 1988 this dropped to 15% according to Naomi Schaefer Riley’s “Til Death Do Us Part”.

To prevent disagreements, many of these families decided not to baptise their children in any particular Church immediately. Divorce is three times more frequent in these types of marriages than in marriages where spouses belong to the same religious community. The problems that follow after these divorces have a negative effect on the children’s religious life. There has also been an increase in the number of marriages celebrated in a place of worship. This is another clear sign that the couple in question does not see faith or a faith’s sacraments as a key part of the life they share together.


Two reasons why I think this relates to FE and why FE is important.

1) Protestantism is dying in the so-called first world. America is going the way of Europe.

2) Protestantized Catholicism is dying (more slowly) in the so-called first world. America is going the way of Europe.

The restoration of the traditional sacramental rites is more necessary than ever before.

FE could help with that significantly, I think, if it can move in the direction that Vox is courageously advancing here ...

I agree.

Traditional Catholicism has, right now, one very unique moment to reach out and find a lot of people of good will, people who are out there and who have simply never met Catholicism in its best light. If we reach them and love them, they will come. What happens to traditional Catholicism will be on the heads of trad Catholics, for better or for worse. Pope Benedict opened up a way in the Church for this to be seen and to flourish and grow. I just hope we recognize the moment for what it is.
I know I've been struggling with my Catholic faith for eight years. I looked at being orthodox as a alternative cause they still had that sense of mystery to them. That was tell i found sites like this and embraced my catholic faith. I think the fullness of the catholic faith is needed. The church needs her roots deep in her tradition or she will become irrelevant in the world.

Both comments above really touch me in their different ways.

Yes love is needed. Feeling the tragedy in our hearts, that, as you say Maldon, Catholicism is "simply never met in its best light" - or even seen at all. (At least in the Anglosphere).

I myself had no idea for 34 years. I was a New Ager who largely saw Christianity in terms of people like Jerry Falwell ...

And I am moved to hear that sites like this helped you find the mystery in your own faith, aschauer82.

Nice - I hope Vox sees this ...
We just got to stay the course. If we cling to his church and live are Christian lives we can do are part to lead the lost back to christ. We live in a dark world and I can not see it getting brighter. The world hates the light and so hates what the church stands for. Even our pope seems not to stand for us. I cling to every word of christ and pray the catholic church be brought out of the dusty shelf of the museum that the world has placed her in.

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