New study of 1,005 of Catholics in England and Wales — age 15 to 25 years old — highlights shifting dynamics in the faith and life of Catholic young adults. In advance of Pope Francis’ Synod on Youth this autumn, research named “Complex Catholicism: The Lives and Faith of Young Catholics in England and Wales Today” was released on 12 June. The study shows that irregular Mass attendance (less than monthly) has increased from 59 per cent in 2009 to 75 per cent today. Also, over half of young Christians do not hold traditional Catholic beliefs on God, many believe that Jesus was only human and not the Son of God, and a large number are willing to ignore the Church’s moral teachings.
Such a result is quite expected because in the world of rapid development of science, rarely anyone can still believe in irrational Catholic legends. Many young people are also against sex abuse scandals and pedophile priests, the Church’s bigoted stance against LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and birth control. The Church is no longer a place where moral virtues are taught, and young people realize that there is nothing special about imaginary man who resurrected.
Among the findings:
More than half (52%) of self-identifying Catholics say “it’s not especially important for me to go to Mass regularly.” Another 27% say they’re either not religious (i.e. culturally Catholic) or have no connection to the faith at all.
According to the Catholic Herald, the finding that should cause most concern to the Church is that half of the respondents who self-identify as Catholics don’t believe in a personal God. Only 38 per cent hold to the Church’s teaching that God created the world and is involved in what happens to the world now. A further 12 per cent believe He created the world but is not involved in the world today.
Commenting on the research findings, the report’s author, Matthew van Duyvenbode said: “Through this research, young Catholics have articulated a strong openness to Christian belief, to social action and to belonging to the Catholic community; but they are also living complicated lives with some perhaps paralyzed by pressure. The Church today has an opportunity to follow the call of Pope Francis; to reach out to those on the peripheries and demonstrate an authentic, dynamic and humble expression of Catholicism for the 21st century.”
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