The Catholic Defender Playing The Catholic Numbers Game
According to the American Bishops from each Diocese, in 2017, they reported that there were 70,412, 021 registered Catholics in the United States. This is also according to their Official Catholic Directory 2016. This represents currently about 22% of the U.S. population. The Church will traditionally range between 22 and 25% give or take yearly.
Since 1988, there are over six million Americans who have converted to the Catholic faith as adults. Think about that for a second. There are more Catholic converts today than both the Presbyterian church (USA) and the Assemblies of God combined.
Again, just considering the Catholic converts, they total about as many as all the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). Most secular news sources report that there is a decline in traditional Christian denominations and the Catholic Church in particular. I do not hold to that reporting at all.
Some interesting things to consider that affects the Catholic numbers from year to year. About 50% of Catholics have left the Church at one point in time in their life time. I myself am a "revert" as I returned home to my Catholic faith October 1978 as a result of a Cursillo retreat. My Mother invited me to make this retreat and it had the desired affect.
There is a notion that the Catholic Church is in decline, that is what is being reported about traditional Religion. Seven out of ten Catholics, especially those practicing their faith, state they would never leave the Catholic faith.
Having a strong family upbringing where both the father and mother are together living their faith, that is most important. When the family structure is faithfully intact, their children taking hold of the paton is above 90%, but when the father is out of the picture and it is all on mom, the numbers fall to 30% and down to 10%. The family structure is critical and unfortunately I see this a lot.
Some good news is that six out of ten fallen Catholics will return. That is under reported in any stats that I find. It's like the secular media always wants to place the worst possible analysis they can or will report. The past few decades there have been great Catholic resources that people can investigate. Deepertruth, St. Paul's Street Evangelization, Catholic Answers, Catholics Come Home are just a few good resources. EWTN is also significant.
Some of the most anti-Catholics I have ran into are former Catholics who fell away listening to the false misrepresentations they adopted. Is the Catholic Church the "Whore of Babylon"? Why do Catholics worship the Pope? Why do Catholics worship a dead Christ? Why do Catholics need a priest to get sins forgiven? These are some of the basic questions they want you to think are reasons the Church is a cult. I have seen some of these return, but it is like they have to be delivered from being brain-washed. This is why Catholic apologetics are important. 1st Peter 3:14-17 states, "But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil."
Former Protestants who become Catholic have a much different perspective about their conversion. I remember Cherry Boone, daughter of Pat Boone, in her testimony becoming Catholic. She saw her Protestant upbringing as like a step-mother that eventually led her to her true Mother, the Catholic faith. Growing up, she learned to love the bible, she learned to trust in Jesus which are so important. Learning the truth of the Catholic faith made her a fulfilled Christian.
Jesus made a very interesting statement concerning Heaven and Hell. Matthew 7:13-14 states, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." World wide, the Catholic faith has about one out of six people which is certainly not a majority, but it is in every nation. The Catholic Church is a Kingdom that Christ established that is the ordinary means of Salvation.
Matthew is certainly not concerned about the numbers game but he is wanting to warn what Jesus states (Matthew 7:15), “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves." Unfortunately, people will listen to these false prophets and Jesus warns about that too, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,* but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
What we try to do here at Deepertruth is to work to help Catholics not only stay Catholic but to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work to bring people home. It's more than simply being a "cultural" Catholic, but it is important to really believe and follow Christ. In our day in time, with the threat of Secularism, people are being drowned with Paganism. We are in a battle for souls.
The good news for those six out of ten Catholics who return back to the Catholic faith, St. James states, "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." I love comparing numbers in the hope that all are really following the faith. It is like a divorce when someone does abandon the Catholic faith, nothing hurts the heart of Our Lord, Jesus Christ than to have someone turn their back on Him.
If one percent of fallen Catholics would return with a simple invitation, that would be several thousand that would make a difference in their lives.
When its all said and done, those who are claiming the Catholic faith's decline are premature in their assessment. In the end, we will all stand before Jesus at the Parousia, as Catholics, we look to hear Jesus say, "Well done my good and faithful servant."