Religion

Why Catholic Millennials are Leaving the Church

catholic church

Millennials, those born between 1981-2000, (there is some debate over the exact time frame) now ages 15 to 34, are less religious than their parents and grandparents. Why they are remains a subject of intense debate. Regardless of the reasons why, millennials are less likely to be a part of an organized religion than earlier generations. According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, nones, those who are not affiliated with any religion, continue to increase numerically. 55 million Americans are now a none.  Granted, this is still a small percentage of the total U.S. population, but 34-36% of millennials are a none, compared to just 17% of their parents and 11% of their grandparents.

While the media tends to focus on millennials leaving Evangelical sects and churches, the Catholic church also has a millennial problem. Kaya Oakes, a writer for Religion Dispatches and a one time atheist who returned to the Catholic church of her youth,  had this to say about the Catholic church and millennials:

A new survey from Catholics for Choice on the opinions of Catholic millennials as regards doctrinal issues might make the church’s traditionalists want to brace themselves. But its findings are also somewhat unsurprising to anyone who spends time around younger Catholics, whose political and social leanings mirror the open-minded stances of their increasingly non-religious peers.

Birth control and abortion, arguably the Catholic church’s most contentious issues, are not always perceived in a negative light by young Catholics. Among those polled, more than half say abortion should be legal in “almost all” or “most” cases, and 31 percent say it should be legal in “just a few” cases. Only 17 percent say it should be illegal. 78 percent say birth control should be included in insurance coverage, no matter where a woman works.

In spite of the widely mocked Catholic Vote video of young people “coming out” as believing that marriage is between a man and a woman, marriage equality is embraced by Catholic millennials. 69% “strongly” or “somewhat” support legal same-sex marriage.

In the wake of the firing of multiple Catholic school teachers who are openly gay or lesbian or married to a same-sex partner, and the ensuing grappling over Catholic teacher contracts that explicitly prevent teachers from being open about their sexuality, younger Catholics have chosen the side of the teachers. 71% say Catholic schools should not be able to fire teachers for being LGBTQ. On gender in the church, Catholic millennials follow similar thinking, with 75% supporting women having an equal role in the church.

Pope Francis is popular among young Catholics, with only two percent having a negative view of him. But the American church hierarchy is not looked on so kindly, and there is an increasing emphasis on a separation between politics and religion. A full 80 percent of respondents said they felt no need to follow the bishops’ advice when it comes time to vote, and 77 percent said Catholic politicians were under no obligation to follow the bishops either.

They are also opposed by a wide margin to bishops withholding communion to the divorced and remarried, those who support legal abortion, and those who support marriage equality.

What’s missing from this survey, however, is the question of church attendance. How much are these Catholics who disagree with and question church teaching are actually showing up? Christian Smith, the head of the National Study of Youth and Religion at Notre Dame, says the situation with Catholic millennials participating in church culture is “in fact, grim.” Only 16% of millennials self-identify as Catholic according to Pew. That 16% is the group the church is struggling to hold on to.

So if they are increasingly choosing the liberal side in the culture wars, are they really still Catholic?…

…What is clear, however, is that the more young Catholics start to embrace marriage equality, safe and legal abortion, access to contraception, and the liberal side on many other issues in the culture wars, the more of those same Catholics will also drift away from a church they perceive as incapable of change.

Perhaps they’ll attend mass on occasion, and perhaps they’ll still call themselves Catholic, but in many ways, their faith will be a loose garment rather than a straightjacket.

growth of religiously unaffiliated 2014

age breakdown nones 2014

Songs of Sacrilege: Jesus is My Friend

This is the fortieth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Jesus is a Friend of Mine by Sonseed, an American Roman Catholic pop band formed at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1970s.

Video Link

Lyrics

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

He taught me how to live, my life as it should be.
He taught me how to turn my cheek when people laugh at me.
I’ve had friends before, and I can tell you that, He’s one who will never leave you flat.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

He taught me how to pray, and how to save my soul.
He taught me how to praise my God and still play rock and roll.
The music may sound different but the message is the same.
It’s just the instruments who praise His name.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

Once I tried to run, I tried to run and hide.
But Jesus came and found me and He touched me down inside.
He is like mountie, He always gets His man, and He’ll zap you any way he can.
Zap.

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

He loves me when I’m right, He loves me when I’m wrong.
He loves me when I waste my time by writing silly songs.
He loves me when I’m quiet and I have nothing to say.
He’ll love me when I’m perfect if I ever get that way.
Whooo!

Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
Jesus is my friend.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
I have a friend in Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.
J-J-J-Jesus.
Jesus is a friend of mine.

Songs of Sacrilege: Spirit in the Sky

This is the thirty-ninth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Spirit in the Sky by Gareth Gates, an English singer-songwriter.

Video Link

Lyrics

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best.

Prepare yourself you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best.

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He’s gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky
Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Oh

Set me up to the Spirit in the Sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Goin’ on up to the Spirit in the Sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best.

Songs of Sacrilege: Leper Messiah

This is the thirty-eighth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Leper Messiah by Metallica.

Video Link

Lyrics

Spineless from the start, sucked into the part
Circus comes to town, you play the lead clown
Please, please
Spreading his disease, living by his story
Knees, knees
Falling to your knees, suffer for his glory
You will

Time for lust, time for lie
Time to kiss your life goodbye
Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to Leper Messiah

Marvel at his tricks, need your Sunday fix
Blind devotion came, rotting your brain
Chain, chain
Join the endless chain
Taken by his glamour
Fame, Fame
Infection is the game, stinking drunk with power
We see

Time for lust, time for lie
Time to kiss your life goodbye
Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat
Bow to Leper Messiah

Witchery, weakening
Sees the sheep are gathering
Set the trap, hypnotize
Now you follow

Time for lust, time for lie
Time to kiss your life goodbye
Send me money, send me green
Heaven you will meet
Make a contribution
And you’ll get a better seat

Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie
Lie

Songs of Sacrilege: Holier Than Thou

This is the thirty-seventh installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Holier Than Thou by Metallica.

Video Link

Lyrics

No more!
The crap rolls out your mouth again
Haven’t changed, your brain is still gelatin
Little whispers circle around your head
Why don’t you worry about yourself instead

Who are you? Where ya been? Where ya from?
Gossip is burning on the tip of your tongue
You lie so much you believe yourself
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

Holier than thou
You are
Holier than thou
You are

You know not

Before you judge me take a look at you
Can’t you find something better to do
Point the finger, slow to understand
Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand

It’s not who you are it’s who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges build them back with wealth
Judge not lest ye be judged yourself

Holier than thou
You are
Holier than thou
You are
You know not

Yeah
Who the hell are you?

Hey you

Holier than thou
You are
Holier than thou
You are

You know not
Know not