Where are the Catholics?

Fr Z with a searching post:

I am sure you have heard that on Sundays the largest Catholic congregations are actually at fundamentalist mega-churches.

I saw this on Catholic Culture:

Roughly one-fifth of the Catholics in the US are not associated with a parish, a new study has found.

While there are about 75 million Catholics in the US, “fewer than 60 million are associated with a specific Catholic church,” reports Clifford Grammich of the Glenmary Research Center. Thus at least 15 million people who identify themselves as Catholic but not with any parish.

The Glenmary study found that drop of 3.1 million in the Catholic population since the 2000 census. There are now 58.9 million Catholics registered in 20,589 parish congregations. The number of congregations, like the number of registered Catholics, has dropped by about 5% since 2000.

If you are reading Catholic blogs, you are more than likely dedicated to your Catholic faith and identity, or you are trying to be more dedicated.  One of the most urgent dedicated and practicing Catholics need to do right now – whether their parish priests or bishops have a program to help them or not – is to do concrete things to help fallen-away or non- practicing Catholics back into the fold.

We all know people who are not practicing their faith or who have drifted into some nearly doctrineless sect.



Al-Qaeda Official: Catholics in Ireland ‘Fertile Ground’ for Conversion

The Catholic Herald is reporting:

A US al-Qaeda official concluded that Catholics were “fertile ground” for conversion, “particularly after the rage expanding against the mother church [Vatican] as a result of its scandals and policies refused by many of its public”.

American al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn wrote to Osama bin Laden in January 2011 and laid out reasons for reaching out to Catholics, particularly the Irish. He urged bin Laden to use public anger at the Church’s mishandling of clerical abuse to encourage Irish people to convert to Islam, according to newly declassified documents.

The letter was contained in files allegedly found at bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout after he was killed by US special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, last May.

The Combating Terrorism Centre, a privately funded research base at the US Military Academy at West Point, posted a number of declassified documents belonging to bin Laden on its website yesterday.

They were taken in the raid on his house.

The letter from Mr Gadahn particularly highlighted the reason for approaching the Irish, noting Ireland was not a participant in “Bush’s Crusade wars”.

It noted “the increasing anger in Ireland towards the Catholic Church after exposing a number of sex scandals and others” and speaks of the hunger of youths because of the economic downturn in Ireland.

Mr Gadahn wrote that Irish people, “who were the most religious of atheist Europe”, were moving toward secularism.

“Why do not we face them with Islam?” he asked.

He said he considered preparing a similar message to Catholics living in Arab regions, calling them to Islam: “Catholics were historically the prominent enemies of the Jews, among the other Christians. They were also the original enemies to the evangelist Protestant[s] who were the vanguard of the Crusades.

“Their public in general, these days, is more sympathetic and understanding of the Muslims, than other Protestant and Orthodox Christians,” he said.

However, he said he put off his message following backlash from an attack on a Catholic church in Iraq.

Fifty-eight people died in an attack on the Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad on October 31, 2010, after military officials tried to end a terrorist siege of the church.