There has been some interest of late in statistics regarding Catholic youth and youth groups. Being slightly surprised that secular media would be interested in finding out about the statistics, I thought I best look at it myself and what I found was very interesting.
So I have always known about the dire lack of young Catholic adults in the Church (18-30). But what I have found interesting is that it is remarkably difficult to find any data. What comes to mind is the infamous scene in the Planet of the Apes...
So if you want to find Statistics you have to look at the National year book, the statistics are tucked away at the back. So what's the news? Well not good.
The current average Parish closure rate over the last 3 years is 98 parishs. If we extrapolate that for every year, then there would be no more Catholic Parishes by 2039 (27 years).
The Catholic Population over the last 3 years has reduced by an average of 57,357. Which, if continues, means there won't be any Catholics by 2081 (69 years).
Catholic Mass Attendance
The Catholic Mass Attendance over the last 3 years has reduced by an average of 16,838. Which, if continues, means there won't be anyone in Church by 2063 (51 years - though if Parishes continue to close they won't have a Church to go to).
But a more dire situation is marriages. 10301 in 2010. Well if every one of those families had three children then that's still less than the average population decrease. To actually increase the Catholic population of England and Wales, every couple that married in 2010 (and every subsequent year) would have to have at least four children. Please note, that is every couple.
So what is the purpose of this information, apart from "Doom and Gloom" "it's the end of the world". Well. The original purpose and intent of this post was to highlight how difficult it is to find other young Catholics. It's not going to get any easier. In fact it is probably going to get harder. The real question is what to do about it.
Catholic youth meet, and ultimately can find suitable husbands and wives and to get married to. It is vital to the life of the Church that youth meet. Don't meet and there will be less marriages, which means less children (or more children in fewer families). It's the end of the line.
So what is the answer?
We could all leave the UK. Well that's not going to solve the problem, we just migrate it elsewhere. England and Wales becomes a black hole of pro-death paganism, great. But like I said, we would just migrate the problem elsewhere.
The problem is within us. The problem is apathy. An apathy which has paralysed us. Now I am sure there are the heroic souls out there who are going blue in the face at what I am saying here "I do all I can to bring young people together, I volunteer X amount of times at my Church, I run a youth group" and please, I commend you brave souls. But I am principally pointing the finger at myself.
That is the only person I can accuse. Until we start looking at ourselves as the source of the problem, this won't change. We need an attitude change. If you have any ideas on how to bring that about. please leave a comment. God bless.