Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Leaving the Community of Faith

The number of Catholics in many countries of the world continue to decrease and Korea is experiencing this trend. In 2010, 27.2 % of the Catholics were coming out to Sunday Mass.  Each year we have seen a decrease. In 2015, 20.7 % attended Mass on average.

An article in the Catholic Times with grafts  shows the readers what appears on the outside is not what we have on the inside. The numbers of Catholics continue to increase but so does the number of the tepid who for one reason or another leave the community of faith: they don't attend Sunday Mass.

In 1961 only 4.4% were considered tepid (left the community). This number increased to 11.4% in 1971, in 1985, 22.5% and in 2009 to 27.6 %. The method of determining who was tepid was to see the results of tickets that were given out twice a year  before Easter and Christmas which period is called 'Pangong'. Those who have not gone to confession for three years are considered tepid. The bishops of Korea have decided that this was not a reliable standard and have dropped this method and look to the Sunday observance as a better gauge of practicing and not practicing.

The number of Catholics aged from 20~49 is similar to the percentage in the total population but those from 0~19 is far below that national average. Those over 50 years old are a larger percentage than the total national average.

Many of those from 20~30 who are tepid are not baptizing their children and if this continues by 2020 those who will be attending Sunday Mass will decrease to 13.8 %.

Many who have studied the problem feel the reasons are lack of satisfaction in the Christian's  desire for a deeper spiritual life, lack of programs for those who have been baptized from 2-5 years, and a lack of concern for the baptized by the pastoral workers and the community.

Leaving the community is a personal decision and whether more concern by those in the community will stop the flow is problematic. In Europe, we have the Neo-Catechumenal Way and Chemin-Neuf (Going up the new road) movements which are helping to awaken the European Church.

Need a study of the reasons Christians leave the community. When those who enter the community,  see little difference from the world or find it even  worse than what they left, chances they will leave are great.

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