Over the past years, I have noticed a steady decline of the younger folks in the Catholic Church. I recently saw the results of a Pew Research Center study, which indicated that approximately 20 percent of all Americans and 33 percent of all Americans under the age of 30 have left the traditional Churches.
Do you have any explanation for this exodus? Could it be that they have had plenty of dogma and doctrine, but no personal spiritual experience? How can the Catholic Church mitigate this trend? Do you see this trend continuing?
Yes, the trend is worrying and may continue. To be fair, many people in this age group were raised in families where religious practice was more social than reflective of any deep personal commitment. Many younger people are asking themselves, “Who needs that kind of religion?”
I think the answer is for all of us to live our faith in such a dynamic way that women and men in this age group will ask themselves, “What do they have that I don’t?” That seemed to attract people immediately after Pentecost.