I attended our local ministerial association meeting in Richmond Hill and was fascinated to hear the Protestant ministers speak about their “nones”.
One minister stated that their nones are not just nones but they are DONE with the church ⛪!
Seems like a lot of growth these days is in "non-denominational" churches, or "community" churches. I think even Southern Baptists---hardly a liberal bunch---are either losing members or at best are flat in membership.
As they have gotten more liberal, "mainline" Protestantism (Episcopal, Lutherhan, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ) has declined significantly. Makes you wonder, has the last Episcopalian been born? But Catholics should not be so gleeful---if they were a separate denomination, "ex-Catholics" would be the second largest denomination in the country.
I have followed this trend for about ten years. There are several blogs on spiritual abuse,from a Protestant perspective, that write about it frequently. I converted to Catholicism fifteen years ago and I can say from my own personal experience that I watched, in my small Catholic Church in small town GA one hour from Macon, a new priest come in and almost destroy the church. It was evident from the beginning that something was off with him. Seriously, I’ve worked in the mental health field and could tell. So, I left and attended church at Father MacDonald’s in Macon. to flee the coming storm.
Since then, I’ve moved from the state , but am told that a wonderful deacon was relieved of his duties, another parishioner was forbidden from attending church and had a restraining order filed against them, another loyal parishioner was subject to such behavior of the priest that he left as well. Attendance there has dipped greatly. Word, letters and even a meeting with the Bishop fell on deaf ears. (Allegedly!) The sad Catholics in this small town have no option, but to drive to Macon.
Many people who suffer at the hands of spiritual leaders are often so hurt and traumatized they leave the Church altogether. Hence, DONE.
I’ve seen abuse when I was a Baptist and seen it as a Catholic, but my hope and my faith is in Christ, not man. I pray that anyone struggling with what they are reading, seeing or experiencing in the church these days, will hold fast to the promises of God and let no man steal your faith.
Father McDonald, thank you so much for your blog! I miss your homilies.
Religion is marginalized and even frowned on in today’s society. The Dones makes perfect sense. Many had sent children into church so they would not officially be nones,but after grade school most were done practicing religion. It takes less than one generation for a done to convert to a none. Sad.
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