A survey made by the Catholic Times in 1988 showed how the Church had become middle class. In the 90s the word 'middle-class' was used by religious sociologists, and appeared in many articles written about the church.
A professor and deputy
director of the Catholic Cultural Research Center has an essay in the
Catholic Times about the weakening of the Church's prophetic role in society and the reasons. Scholars see this as a
change in the Catholic situation in society.
these words we are saying the majority of the Catholics belong to the
middle class. The professor believes we may think the number of
Catholics in the middle class would be about 70% but it is closer to 45~55%, 5% of this number would be the
upper class. With this being the fact is it possible that we are making
too much fuss about this? But the reality is that Catholics before
1980 were poor, the results of the religious persecution that lasted
for over one hundred years.
In the 1980s the young,
highly educated, and economically well-off began to enter the church.
Those entering were imbued with the dynamism from the church they entered which lasted up to the end of the 90s. Numbers
entering began to increase greatly.
Those entering were changing the make-up of the Church, both
within and without: numbers of church buildings and their sizes increased, the quality of the material improved, the
number of welfare programs improved, shrines for the martyrs were developed, and the exterior of Catholicism was changed.
money and time were only half of the numbers registered in the Church,
but they were the ones attending the Masses and involved in church activities, however, the
prophetic role of the church decreased greatly. The symbolism of
the old time Catholicism and its culture grew weak.
Catholics increased, but the quality did not keep pace and we hear the continual voice for renewal.This, in the words of the professor, explains the present
Catholicism with which we are faced.