Wednesday, August 26, 2015


 The following is true I fear. However, I have to wonder if the percentage of faithful Catholics is much higher with those who actually attend Mass. I don't know. I do know that Catholics are being cooked in the crock pot of secularism, not from evil motives, but from ignorance and not wanting to appear too much different than their peers in the world.

It seems to me that when Catholics give into the culture and its fads or trends as opposed to being faithful to Christ and His Church that this opens the door for them to leave the Church when they realize they can't have it their way. They either join liberal Protestant denominations or they simply become "nones" like Dr. Bill Cummings. What do you think about these findings?:

On Almost Every Major Issue, Catholics Are More Progressive Than The Average American

For years, liberals have decried the conservative theology of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, lamenting U.S. bishops’ efforts to push back against LGBT equality, for example. But a new study illustrates a widening ideological gulf between Catholic leadership and people in the pews. In fact, typical Catholics are not only more left-leaning than the Church, but also more progressive than average Americans on most major issues — sometimes by significant margins.

The report, created through a joint polling effort of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Religion News Service (RNS), was released on Friday in preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States next month. It chronicled America’s ongoing love affair with the popular pontiff, but also pointed out the increasingly liberal politics of the country’s Catholics.
CREDIT: Andrew Breiner/ThinkProgress
The disparity between the Catholics and the rest of the United States — not to mention Church leadership — is especially evident on LGBT issues. Whereas 55 percent of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, a full 60 percent of Catholics say the same. This directly contradicts the Catholic Church’s official opposition to marriage equality, yet most Catholics (53 percent) do not believe same-sex marriage violates their religious beliefs.

What’s more, when Catholics were asked whether they favor laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination, 76 percent say yes — as opposed to 70 percent of Americans overall. And while U.S. bishops have supported guaranteeing business owners the right to refuse service to customers who are LGBT by citing religious concerns, around two-thirds (65 percent) of Catholics oppose such policies. Most Americans also disagree with so-called “religious liberty” exemptions, but by a smaller percentage — 57 percent.

Lay Catholics are also more progressive than average Americans on climate change, although their opinion is more in line with Catholic officials such as Pope Francis, who recently published a formal encyclical calling on the faithful to protect the planet. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of the general public believes the government should do more to address global warning, compared to some 73 percent of Catholics.

Meanwhile, Catholics mirror most Americans by sharing the pope’s fairly left-leaning approach to economics and immigration. Catholics (72 percent) and Americans writ large (71 percent) agree that the government should do more to help the poor eradicate income inequality, while 63 percent of the general U.S. population and 61 percent of Catholics say America should grant undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship under certain requirements.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of American Catholics (57 percent) also believe that the Church should focus more on economic and social justice issues than reproductive justice. While this may seem odd given the Church’s longstanding, passionate opposition to abortion, lay Catholics are closely aligned with the general populace here: A slim majority of average Americans (53 percent) and Catholics (51 percent) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Granted, several of these issues express themselves differently when Catholics are broken down along racial lines. For example, non-white Catholics express much stronger support for government action on climate change (86 percent) than white Catholics (64 percent). Similarly, non-white Catholics (81 percent) are far more likely than white Catholics (65 percent) to tell pollsters that the government should do more to address economic inequality. Conversely, roughly equal numbers of white Catholics (59 percent) and non-white Catholics (61 percent) support same-sex marriage.

Some of these trends reflect longstanding Catholic teaching, and other surveys have pointed out the progressive bent of Catholicism globally — including in places such as Ireland, where thousands of Catholics recently voted to legalize same-sex marriage. But the PRRI report also helps explain the wild popularity of Pope Francis among American Catholics, who have lauded the pontiff’s deeply progressive positions on climate change, economics, and immigration. And while Francis hasn’t changed the Church’s historical condemnation of homosexual acts and abortion, the first Argentinian pope has called for the church to be less “obsessed” with such issues, framing his papacy around other concerns.

Predictably, the survey found that while 80 percent of American Catholics say Pope Francis understands the needs and views of the American Catholic community, only 60 percent are willing to say the same for U.S. bishops. In addition, the 56 percent of Catholics report that their feelings towards Church have changed since Francis ascended to the papacy.


qwikness said...

It would be interesting to see where Catholics stand on issues in different parts of the country. Meaning are they more "progressive" in the North East and more "conservative" in the South East? It is disappointing, Catholics were so tied to the Democrat Party and that Party left us and took our people with them. I think the Party and the culture forms consciences now.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

That is a keen insight that their political affiliation shapes them more than their religious affiliation. The same could be said of Republicans too when Catholics buy into the party platform even if it opposes the Church.

Lefebvrian said...

What was that saying about salt losing its flavor?

The label "Catholic" doesn't mean anything in our culture. It is much more of a societal identifier than it is a religious statement.

rcg said...

The good news is that you have a great list of topics for homilies for several more years.

Rood Screen said...

What a mess we're in. Good thing we have Jesus on our side.

Anonymous said...

I think qwikness had a good point above---I suspect down here in the South, you'd find Catholics less willing to support the liberal national Democratic party than up North...unfortunately there often is a strong correlation between how Catholic a state is and its support for the likes of Obama, Kerry and Al Gore. Take the Northeast, Maryland to Maine (11 states)---Obama won all 11 of those in 2008 and 2012, all of them with significant (though generally not majority) Catholic populations. Meanwhile, in the last two presidential elections, McCain and Romney ran best in the more Protestant States (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, the Great Plains, Mormon Utah).

In the last presidential election, the Catholic vote was estimated to have split about evenly, with a slight Obama advantage. But I suspect here too, you would find that white Catholics backed Romney, while Hispanic and black Catholics backed Obama. Similarly, Catholics who are regular churchgoers (those who go every Sunday or almost every Sunday) were more likely to back Romney than the "Christmas and Easter" ones.

Of course, Catholics can have legitimate different views on some issues---like the minimum wage, climate change, level of defense spending. But disconcerting that so many support abortion on demand and same-sex marriage---all the more so because it was a Catholic justice (of the US Supreme Court), Anthony Kennedy, who made same-sex marriage universal in the United States and upheld Roe v Wade in 1992. Had he voted the "right" way on both, at least both issues would have been sent back to the states instead of one-size-fits-all imposed by activist judges.

George said...

"In the last presidential election, the Catholic vote was estimated to have split about evenly, with a slight Obama advantage. But I suspect here too, you would find that white Catholics backed Romney, while Hispanic and black Catholics backed Obama."


In the 2012 election,white Catholics voted 59%/40% Mr Romney over Mr Obama.

My reading of this article is that these stats represent the views of ALL Catholics, not just those that are faithful to Church teaching. Catholics who attend Mass weekly are more conservative than this and those who attend Mass daily are more conservative still. Just because a person considers themself to be Catholic(baptized, raised that way) does not make it so anymore than standing in a hanger makes one an airplane.

Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas has shown that responses on same sex marriage polls are heavily influenced by the way questions are worded.

rcg said...

In all seriousness, pols are often, if not always, worded to get the result they want. There is a herd mentality with all people. If they want Catholics to change their position and voting habits a poll telling them that all the other Catholics are voting for abortion, etc. is expected to sway votes. It also has a big impact on other voters "Wow, if the Catholics are supporting same sex marriage, I guess it's OK."

Anonymous said...

I want to say something about Catholics who are born into it, went through the sacraments, go to Mass once and while versus the every Sunday, true to Rome type. And the similarities to the Reform Jews versus the Orthodox. It's cultural/familial vs. Orthodoxy...I don't know how to make my statement other than it's like comparing Oranges to Tangerines. Same family, different fruit.

Unknown said...

To be honest, a lot of the so-called progressive stances in the graphic really do fall in line with Catholic teaching.

The Catholic Church's social teachings can easily be labelled 'progressive' or 'conservative' depending on the wording used. Like Orthodoxy, Catholicism (rightfully) does not deal in terms of progressive vs. conservative. It deals in terms of godly vs ungodly.

But in a decaying civilisation whose institutions are crumbling, I suppose it's easy to conflate independent magisteria, since most Westerners I know are desperately trying to cling to ideas that are quickly eroding away.

Paul said...

Words have become trivialized. Is it no wonder the young and unwary read into (whatever) the trivialized meanings and live their lives accordingly?

To them, this "religious stuff" is nonsense because they don't know what it means! People do not write, speak or think like they used to. I've seen documentaries concerning early America. Hear how carefully and beautifully contemporaneous letters are written. See the gorgeous penmanship! Thought, time and effort went into these letters. Words were more than just noise and typefaces. Listen to old Movietone or Pathe newsreels from the 30's and 40': hear the carefully chosen and enunciated words. Film and sound back then cost real money and people paid real money to see and hear them. Today with digital cameras, YouTube and streaming, words with pictures aren't worth a dime a dozen and the language and "production" shows it.

Be the rock Church Church is when people are inspired to get out of the sewer else they will not see or hear anything different.

gob said...

Those young people about whom you speak so disparagingly, are the same ones to whom many here look to save the Church and the world after all of old folks die.

Anonymous in Archdiocese of Detroit said...

It could also be local Church leadership. Here in the Archdiocese of Detroit, during Vatican II, we had John Cardinal Dearden, who was one of the most liberal cardinals in Church history. "The Wanderer" labeled him the most dangerous heretic in America. In the wake of Vatican II, he forced the most extreme "spirit of Vatican II" changes in the archdiocese, the effects of which are still felt today. In many dioceses, they are getting new, young priests in the seminaries who are more traditional and orthodox. Not so in the AOD. The traditional and orthodox candidates are often rejected, while the search goes on for liberals to push through to priesthood. One of the men who make these decisions, Msgr John Zenz, I once heard give an entire homily praising and defending Karl Rahner and Hans Kung.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"The Wanderer" is trash.

One of my seminary classmates was highly praised in The Wanderer because he wore a cassock and biretta around his central Pennsylvania diocese. "Shape of things to come" said the editorialist. That classmate has since left the Catholic Church and established his own "autocephalous" operation in NY City.

Another seminary classmate wrote for The Wanderer after he was "let go" from the seminary. Was he rejected because he was traditional and orthodox? No, he was sent down because he lied on his application for a mid-western diocese (not Detroit), not telling them that he had been previously dropped by one religious order and one east coast diocese.

And lest we forget, The Wanderer slandered a former Bishop of Savannah, saying outright that he did not know of what the Catholic faith consisted.

The Wanderer is trash.

Calvin of Hippo said...

There is a theological side to this. The Catholic Church has always had a sometimes-too-close friendship with reason. Once Aquinas brought in Aristotle, the Church embraced reason as a philosophical tool for understanding man's relationship to God and the creation. Asserting, rightly, that reason was God's gift to man and a part of the good Creation, the Church set about a rationalistic "philosophy of religion" or philosophical theology.The Enlightenment put the icing on the cake, as the Church fully embraced this rationalism. As logical and nice as all this sounds, it has led to things like Teilhard, Kung, and Vatican II.

This has always been a huge point of conflict with Calvinistic (which is to say most protestant) theology. The issue is this: Calvinism also believes that reason was a gift of God to man, but only so that man might create lawful societies in which to live without devouring one another and to be able to make progress in understanding and subduing the world to our God given use. Reason is a totally horizontal phenomenon and can tell us nothing about God nor lead to any significant understanding of Him, other than some primitive awareness of some creator or ordering power. Calvinism has always been suspicious of reason, as was Luther, "Reason is a whore who can be made to lie in any bed." So, protestantism emphasizes the otherness of God, the inability of man to know him through rational means...only Revelation, the radical breaking into the world of God in Christ, can give us any knowledge of the Trinitarian God. Thus, theology has its own logic...detached and separate from Enlightenment type reason. The problem with this is that the Calvinist doctrines of Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace raise the issues of universalism and indifferentism...but ONLY when subjected to Enlightenment Reason, which protestantism embraced in the 19th century. We just cannot resist trying to rebuild the Tower of Babel.

The Church had built-in protection from her love affair with reason...the Eucharist...the Real presence, the Mystery. But, Vatican Two, that masterpiece of reason and rationality (and protestantism) diminished that and placed the focus on the humanistic and the "rational." Ultimately, both protestants and Catholics now find themselves in much the same place. They both went a whoring after reason and the chickens have come home to roost.

George said...

There is a major disconnect between what many Catholics believe and advocate and what the Church teaches on major moral issues. (many Catholics today are that in name only)

Look at Church teaching on the following:

Same-sex marriage - against(morally unacceptable)

abortion- against -against(morally unacceptable)

artificial contraception - against(morally unacceptable)

research using embryonic stem cells- against(morally unacceptable)

legalization of drugs- against(morally unacceptable)

pornography -against-against(morally unacceptable)

Ordination of women -against(morally unacceptable)

No matter what his or her views on immigration and the death penalty, any politician with the above views would stand little or no chance of being elected to national office, and would lose even the Catholic vote. Ironically, that same Catholic would have a very good chance of getting elected in some of our predominently Protestant congressional districts here in Georgia.

Paul said...


We all die eventually, so the young and unwary will eventually inherit the stewardship of Christ's Church. We hope they will be faithful and good stewards. Will they be good stewards of empty churches or good stewards of packed churches?

Jdj said...

From an article in "The Catholic World Report"--the statistics cited are from
"The New Evangelization has been a major effort in the Catholic Church for more than 40 years. Unfortunately, it has failed to stem several significant downward trends among faithful in the United States. Since 2000, 14 million Catholics have left the faith, parish religious-education participation of children has dropped by 24 percent, Catholic school attendance has dropped by 19 percent, baptisms of infants has dropped by 28 percent, baptism of adults has dropped by 31 percent, and sacramental Catholic marriages have dropped by 41 percent. Something is desperately wrong with the Church’s approach to the New Evangelization."...

While the author acknowledges that "...there are massive cultural forces outside of the Church (secularism, pluralism, anti-Christian bias, radical feminism, pornography, etc.) and missteps within the Church (failure to make men a priority, sex abuse scandals, etc.)...", he believes there is a massive, progressive failure of the Church to "man-up" as it were. Young 20-something males have left in droves, becoming "nones". He faults male clerics (and by default, laity) in failing to encourage and mentor younger males through critical periods of faith formation issues.

Is he correct? From our personal experience, I think so, at least partially...

Paul said...

I think priests, parishes and diocese should create a private poll, send it to every registered household and ask specific question about what local Catholics believe and accept or reject. I really, really wonder if the local clergy would be surprised at the responses and how deep the acceptance or rejection runs.

Calvin of Hippo said...

I don't think the clergy would be shocked at all...many of them share their flock's apostasy...indeed, helped create it through insipid preaching and their own ambivalence regarding doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Father Kavanaugh,
If The Wanderer, in your opinion, is trash, what do you consider the National Catholic Reporter?