RNS on Catholic Shame

RNS (Religion News Service) generally avoids controversy, and when possible, focuses on uplifting news about religion. That’s what its customers want. But in the run-up to Pope Francis’ summit on child abuse, it featured an important exception: “For some Pennsylvania laity, being Catholic has become embarrassing and troubling.”

Much of it the report contains human interest stories, but it also includes important statistical facts. The lead story is about a nurse, Kathleen Trazzera. For the past 20 years, she served in Catholic churches as “a Eucharistic minister and a lector.” Recently, she and her husband had a revelation of sorts: “It got to the point where I just couldn’t defend participating anymore. We’re just not comfortable with supporting the Catholic Church.” The article includes a number of similar stories.

The report also cites a 2014 Pew study which shows that the Catholic Church suffered the greatest losses due to “religious switching.” Almost 13 percent of Americans are “former Catholics.” There are more than 6 people leaving the Catholic Church for every person converting to Catholicism. If it weren’t for immigrants, Catholicism in America would be in a death spiral.

Recent polls show that opinions of Pope Francis have plunged. Catholics now give Francis lower ratings than Trump – something almost unimaginable.

The report ends with a quote from a former Catholic: “To be a Catholic is not only embarrassing but troubling. Where will it end?”


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