This should not be a surprise after years of the horror of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and bishops and the less than vigorous oversight by the Catholic leadership we count on to protect us against predators; who all too often became predators themselves.
The good news not covered in the sad news, is that the Church is being blessed by strong growth within conservative, traditional orders of religious, the stalwart leadership of Peter, and the promsie from Our Lord that the Church will not fall, ever, even though the gates of hell are arrayed against it.
The results from a survey from the Pew Forum tells the sad news.
The percentage of U.S. Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members of the Roman Catholic Church has never been lower than it was in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the General Social Survey (GSS). About a quarter (27%) of American Catholics called themselves “strong” Catholics last year, down more than 15 points since the mid-1980s and among the lowest levels seen in the 38 years since strength of religious identity was first measured in the GSS, a long-running national survey carried out by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago.
The decline among U.S. Catholics is even starker when they are compared with Protestants, whose strength of religious identification has been rising in recent years. About half (54%) of American Protestants – double the Catholic share (27%) – described their particular religious identity as strong last year, among the highest levels since the GSS began asking the question in 1974.