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The Catholic Church: Smaller and More Conservative


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the-catholic-church-smaller-and-more-conservativeVia Meadia:



Younger Catholics are more “conservative” on many issues than their older counterparts, according to some data buried in a new NYT/CBS news poll. In absolute numbers the poll found that the majority of US Catholics want the next Pope to change Church teachings on hot button issues of gender and sexuality. But the really interesting news turned up when the numbers were broken down by age.


As other blogs have noticed, support for female priests is at 72 percent among Catholics aged 45-64, but at 68 percent among those 18-44. Only 11 percent of older respondents oppose birth control, but that number ticks up to 15 percent among the young. Support for eliminating the requirement for priestly celibacy falls by a whopping 15 percent from the older to the younger generation.




The reason younger respondents are more conservative than the Boomers is likely because the rise of the non-affiliated “nones” has picked off the more “liberal” Catholics among Gen Y. Boomers unhappy with the Church’s teachings often remain in the Church, but in the next generation those with more liberal instincts tend to leave the faith altogether.


In the coming decades, then, we’re likely to see a smaller, but more fervent Catholic Church. The “cultural Catholic” will increasingly become an endangered species. However, that smaller church will probably grow: Religious people have more kids, and people are drawn to communities that have strong beliefs.



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