23 March 2011

Sunday Morning: Deconstructing Catholic Mass attendance in the 1950s and now

Sunday Morning: Deconstructing Catholic Mass attendance in the 1950s and now (Nineteen Sixty-four, 21 March 2011)

Excerpts:
In his 1954 study, Social Relations in the Urban Parish (University of Chicago Press), Fichter estimates Mass attendance levels based on the number of individuals registered with the parish. But he also provides the counts for what he calls “dormant Catholics” from his census within parish boundaries. These are people who self-identify their religion as Catholic but who do not attend Mass. Thirty-eight percent of the Catholics within the parish boundaries he studied in this book were dormant. Thus, at the outset we know that typical weekly attendance by the measure of this study could have been no more than 62%. But what about among the “active” Catholics? About 79% of the non-dormant Catholics attended Mass on a typical weekend. So overall, the total percentage of self-identifying Catholics attending Mass in this study was estimated to be about 49%.

...

Currently, CARA surveys indicate that 23% of self-identified adult Catholics attend Mass every week. Yet, in any given average week, 31% of Catholics are attending (almost identical the “adjusted” 30% estimate from the Gallup trend). Note there is considerable local variation in Mass attendance levels with higher levels in the Midwest and lower in coastal urban areas). During Lent and Advent, Mass attendance increases into the mid-40 percent-range and on Christmas and Easter, an estimated 68% of Catholics attend.

Thus, if one is seeking to make a comparison of Mass attendance in the 1950s to now, the drop is not 80% to 20%. Instead it is from a peak of 62% in 1958 to about 31% now. This is still a remarkable decline. It means that the Mass attendance you see at Christmas and Easter is a lot like the attendance you might have seen in a typical week in the late-1950s. Yet, even then, as now, there is a significant number of Catholics like the father in Rockwell’s “Sunday Morning” who choose to do something else.




Link: Sunday Morning: Deconstructing Catholic Mass attendance in the 1950s and now


07 March 2011

Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)

Link: Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)

Abstract:
The ARDA provides free access to the most authoritative religion statistics, data and church membership reports from around the world, including Christian statistics and data. The ARDA offers recent U.S. and international survey findings, local, national and global profiles of religion, and detailed demographic reports and maps of religious and protestant denominations in America. Relying on an archive of over 500 data collections, the Association of Religion Data Archives provides online tools and resources for educators, religious congregations, researchers, journalists, and anyone interested in religion statistics and data. The data collections have been submitted by the world's foremost religion scholars and research centers.
Link: Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)


06 March 2011

Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views On Old Questions

Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views On Old Questions, by Erik Eckholm (New York Times, 4 March 2011)

Excerpt:
In a book to be published this month, the pastor, Rob Bell, known for his provocative views and appeal among the young, describes as “misguided and toxic” the dogma that “a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better.”
Link: Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views On Old Questions