The Sudden Decline of the Catholic Church in America

Posting the following article piggy backs on yesterday’s post on The New Paganism. These are two exceptional articles that get at the core of why our culture and the Catholic Church has seen such a sharp decline in faith and morality in recent decades. Understanding this goes a long way in taking steps to undo the damage.

Enjoy this fascinating article from Catholic Social Scientist Review:

The crisis into which the Catholic Church in America fell in the late 1960s and early ‘70s (a crisis that is still with us) is in large measure the result of three factors that occurred more or less simultaneously, thereby creating a “perfect storm” for US Catholicism: (1) Vatican II, (2) the end of the so-called “Catholic ghetto,” and (3) the cultural revolution that swept the US beginning in the ‘60s. Just as Catholics were entering the mainstream of American culture, that culture was losing its old Protestant character and taking on a new, secularist character.

Everybody has long since acknowledged that the Catholic Church in the United States went into a serious decline beginning in the middle to late 1960s. Great numbers of priests left the priesthood, even greater numbers of nuns left the convents, and recruitment of new nuns and new priests dropped precipitously. Sunday Mass attendance sharply declined. Enrollment at Catholic elementary and high schools declined, leading to the closing of many of these schools. The Catholic publishing industry nearly collapsed. One bright spot was higher education. Catholic colleges and universities continued to flourish, and they actually improved in academic quality. But they did so at a high price: many of them, perhaps even most of them, lost much of their distinctively Catholic character, becoming increasingly indistinguishable from secular colleges and universities.

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