The Church of England (Anglican there, Episcopal here) does not have Humanae Vitae to blame for its decline in church services. It does not have a strict moral code to blame either as it accepts divorce and remarriage and full communion with their sect. There is no distinction between male and female in the vocations to their ministries and marriages. Acceptance of worldly standards for sex prevails. Yet this denomination is declining so rapidly one wonders if it will exist in any meaningful way in the near future.
On the institutional level this sect has moved so far away from orthodox Christianity signified by full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that we can say there is an institutional loss of Faith that leads their members into a personal loss of faith substituted by a bogus faith and on many levels. Who wants to make a lifetime out of that when simply being secular is so much easier and you don't have to go to church on Sunday and ruin most of the day.
For Catholics, the decline is blamed on halting Vatican II with Humanae Vitae and a conservative reiteration of gender policies and sexuality. Catholics now prefer secularism and this affects their Mass attendance as well as the other sacraments to include marriage and Holy Orders.
Yet Pope Francis seems to want a type of liberal ecumenism that will correspond with what the Church of England has accomplished since it did away with natural law when it comes to gender and sexuality. Liberal Protestantism is not fundamentalistic and thus is preferred by Pope Francis over evangelical Protestantism and what John Allen once dubbed Catholic Evangelicalism or Evangelical Catholicism.
Thus we will see the Francis Effect leading to a further decline in Mass attendance, RCIA programs and the other sacraments to include Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders. I think this is already happening in four short years. Our RCIA at St. Anne's in Richmond Hill is down from last year and significantly, maybe just a blip in the scheme of things? I hope so.
But this is what is happening to the Church of England and it is happening in the Catholic Church and all of it is a result of institutional and individual loss of authentic Catholic Faith, either partial or full:
Over at Catholic Herald, Stephen Bullivant gives his analysis – as usual for him, incisive and witty – on “Statistics for Mission,” the annual report from the Church of England. Here’s a taste of the sobering data:
Between 2006 and 2016 (not in itself a vast span of time): “Usual Sunday Attendance” has fallen by 14 per cent (and 23 per cent, even more worryingly, for children), Easter attendance by 17 per cent, baptisms and “thanksgivings” by 15 per cent, marriages and “services of prayer and dedication” by 21 per cent, and funerals by a striking 28 per cent.
And here’s Bullivant zeroing in on the essentials:
Sadly, this year’s report – in contrast to last year’s – doesn’t tell us the proportion of Anglican parish churches that either have a toilet and/or moonlight as a Post Office.
Bullivant thinks the Catholic Church ought to follow the CofE’s lead and see what our data looks like:
I dunno… call me crazy, but I’ve always thought it’s better to know what precisely it is we’re up against.
A commenter's observation to the article above: And of course, CofE ordains women and is more accepting LGBT+ people. I am not making a statement about the desirability of any of CofE policies or doctrines but pointing out they are not doing anything to stop the decline. People are just finding it difficult to believe in a personal God, divine revelation, and any institutional church (whether liberal or conservative).
Of course, the Catholic Communion is having it’s own difficulties. Take a look at Pittsburgh. Mass attendance has dropped over 40% in 16 years. On the upside, in 2000 there were 730 mass attenders for every active diocesan priest. In 2016, there were 658 per priest in Pittsburgh.