As a postscript to the series on Reformed church members as free agents I note that a recent poll shows that a majority of American Roman Catholics believe that they too can be “good Catholics” even though they do not attend mass (HT: Jon Moersch).
The study also confirms what others have been finding, i.e. that those Roman Catholics born since 1980 take their faith more seriously than their baby-boomer parents. This trend parallels similar trends in evangelical and even Reformed circles (though the latter is more a matter of anecdotal more than statistical evidence).
Well, it’s partly a chicken or egg issue. Did the liberalism of their parent’s churches turn the boomers into free agents? Are there enough “true” churches out there to meet the need? The church growth guys have bent over backwards to try to meet the boomer’s felt needs and in the process not given them anything worth getting up on sunday mornings to attend, while at the same time alienating the busters who want liturgy, who want transcendence, and who want doctrine. I can get EVERYTHING the transformationalists, the experientialists, and the seeker-sensitive can work up, somewhere else in culture, and get it better. Chicken or egg? Leadership or congregant? I’d say at least it is both. The liberalism of the churches; “God is dead”, then the adoption of German liberalism in vatican II, gave birth spiritually to this generation. Now, they can’t get ’em back. In the meantime, they’ve orphaned the generation after them. Let the boomers go, you lost them years ago, you’re in danger of losing the next group now.