Growing our Catholic Communities

In this post, Mark Lambert from De Omnibus Dubitandum Est considers the decline in the numbers of priests and practising Catholics in England and Wales and looks at the opportunities our church leaders are missing in their quest to improve the situation:

As we start 2018 and Dioceses all over the UK (and beyond) are developing plans for the future (such as my own here) we are being asked to discuss and consider a way forward as communities of believers as vocations dwindle and practising Catholics disappear even more rapidly. This has been discussed in numerous places with great clarity, perhaps most familiarly by Sherry Weddell in her book Forming Intentional Disciples, and most recently by Professor Stephen Bullivant in the Catholic Herald.

Bullivant’s article is concise and packed with valuable detail for anyone discerning the future direction of the Church. Key points are:

  • There are more priestly retirements (or deaths) each year than ordinations.
  • A number of our seminaries have closed, the ones we still have are practically empty.
  • Priest numbers fell between 1970 and 2014 by 48 per cent.
  • Sunday worshippers fell by 55 per cent over the same period.

In short, priest-to-worshipper numbers were better in 2014 than at any time between 1950 and the 1990s, but this is simply because we’ve lost practising Catholics even faster than we have priests.

So how are our bishops thinking and addressing this reality?

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7 Responses to Growing our Catholic Communities

  1. 000rjbennett says:

    “So how are our bishops thinking and addressing this reality?”

    You can be sure that they’re NOT thinking about addressing this reality in the only way that will change it for the better: by returning to the teachings of the Church, the liturgy, and the theology as they were before the distortions and consequent wreckage cause by the “spirit” of Vatican II (wherever that “spirit” may have come from).

    It’s NOT that the Council itself created this new and terrible “reality.” It was that “spirit” that inflamed so many souls and led them astray into the horrors we see in the Church today: the bishops, for example, who want to “bless” sodomite or other adulterous relationships.

    And – if sodomy and adultery are no longer grave sins, how long will it be before those who believe in polygamy, incest, pedophilia, and God knows what else begin lobbying for the social and ecclesiastical “non-judgmental” acceptance of their behavior.

    Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat.


  2. Mary Salmond says:

    Just at a church gathering, and only 3 of us were concerned about bringing in young couples and young singles! It is a dilemma. And the CC is not known for doing a marketing strategy, but we sure could use it. We live in 3 town county which is not Catholic, it’s a real crisis here. Any suggestions? Our only couple with 2 small children has an idea we’re going to use, but it’s like swimming up stream without a paddle. Probably can’t get very far!


  3. Toad says:

    How do you swim with a paddle, Mary?
    Instead of blaming the drop in numbers, (as above,) on Vatican Two – why not try considering that a lot of people nowadays find religion (any religion) to be superstition-riddled and generally incredible?


  4. kathleen says:

    Because they have lost the true sense of the supernatural, Toad. It’s that simple.
    But many of those same people probably believe in all sorts of truly “superstition-riddled” things…. such as horoscopes, black magic, reincarnation, etc.! GKC rightly said that “when man won’t believe in God, he will believe in anything”!

    However, if you are dished up childish banalities day after day in homilies, catechesis, or wherever, more aligned to worldly affairs and NGOs than to knowledge of God and the salvation of our soul through the true teachings of the Church, it is understandable (if you have not had an opportunity to know the Truth) that you will eventually get fed up.

    Have you read the whole of Mark Lambert’s post? He is pointing out what we all know, and yet the old liberals still keep trying to rearrange those wretched deck-chairs on the ill-fated Titanic. Oh dear! But, ‘the proof is in the pudding’, as they say – just look at his examples. IOW, where the Faith is taught and lived in all its splendour and fullness; where the incomparable Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated; then Churches are full, families large and joyful, vocations plentiful…

    It is really not rocket science!


  5. Toad says:

    [Comment deleted by a moderator. Toad, we are well aware you are a non-believer, no need to elaborate.]


  6. GC says:

    Toad, on the contrary, the proportion of the world who are Christians is growing. It is you ‘nones’ who are shrinking, but just making more and more noise as you slide miserably down the scale.


  7. Toad says:

    ”There are more priestly retirements (or deaths) each year than ordinations.
    A number of our seminaries have closed, the ones we still have are practically empty.
    Priest numbers fell between 1970 and 2014 by 48 per cent.
    Sunday worshippers fell by 55 per cent over the same period.”

    So, none of this is a fact, then, GC? It’s what I was responding to.
    Doesn’t matter – as my comment was killed anyway.
    For making a sensible point.
    Why should believing in fairies be considered any sillier than believing in angels?


    [Moderator – (1) Fairies are an invention of the imagination. Angels form part of God’s Revelation to Man.
    (2) Comments “killed” are usually those that fall under one or more of these categories: blasphemy, heresy, calumny or libel, indecency, xenophobia, and (as is often the case with you) nonsense.]


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