Catholics in Philadelphia appear to be leaving in droves and it appears that the reason is not just the sexual abuse scandal. In fact, most of those who were going to leave over that left ages ago. No, apparently they are leaving because of a number of reasons, but among those appears to be the Church’s attitudes towards homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Charles Zech of Villanova University’s Center for the Study of Church Management was part of a study of some 189 former Catholics in one Philadelphia parish. According to Zech “People who are going to leave the church over the scandal and the church’s handling of it have already left. So people leaving the church today are leaving for other reasons. A growing reason we found out was the church’s attitude toward homosexuals and gay marriage. A lot of younger people object to the church’s teaching on that.”
Most are landing in more Progressive Protestant churches.
The results of the survey were not made public when it was completed in 2012, and Zech only spoke to reporters so long as he did not have to name the parish. Studies by the Pew Foundation have found that roughly one third of baptized Catholics leave, and the policies of the Vatican are often the reason why.
Zech did note that the quality of the liturgies does help keeping dissatisfied Catholics from leaving. He said “Liturgies are really important. I’m not sure that parish staff and clergy understand how important liturgies are to people, that they have good music and the liturgy be meaningful. People who feel they are not being fed by a meaningful liturgy — they’ll go where they are being fed.”
Of late, the Vatican has been seen as wholly out of touch with the current generation, and is slowly having trouble retaining the power it built up over the centuries.