Will Catholics come home?

By | February 17, 2010

The report’s objective was to understand and compare the spirituality of Americans and Millennials. Interviews were conducted from Dec. 23, 2009, through Jan. 4, 2010. Respondents were identified as Americans, American Catholics and practicing American Catholics. Millennials were identified simply as Catholic and non-Catholic.

Millennials is the term used to describe young adults between the ages of 18 and 29.

According to the survey, most Americans believe religion is an important part of daily life. Eighty percent of Catholic Millennials said they see religion as at least “somewhat important” in their lives and 98 percent of practicing Catholics said the same thing.

When asked, “How interested or not are you in learning more about your religion,” a majority of American Catholics responded somewhat (41 percent) or very (19 percent) interested. Twenty-nine percent said not very interested and 11 percent said not at all interested.

In contrast, those who consider themselves practicing Catholics responded more favorably. Fifty-two percent said somewhat interested and 32 percent said very interested. Fourteen percent said not very interested and only two percent said not at all interested.

Two-thirds of Millennial Catholics also expressed a desire to learn more about their religion. Thirty-seven percent said they were somewhat interested and 28 percent said very interested.

These numbers closely follow how other Millennials responded (31 percent somewhat interested and 30 percent very interested).

These survey results should motivate our parishes. The findings show that now is the right time to put out the welcome mat. People who were skeptical about the Catholics Come Home initiative, wondering whether people are even interested in an invitation to return to church, should understand that Americans, including young adults, sincerely have a desire to know God. They want to join others in worshipping him.

There are still challenges, as the survey suggests. These include suggestions that two-thirds of Catholic Millennials see themselves at least somewhat more “spiritual” than “religious” and that 61 percent of Catholic Millennials believe it is OK for Catholics to practice more than one religion.

Our duty as Catholic parishioners is to hold open the doors and welcome others to church. Once inside, our pastors, parish directors, ordained and non-ordained ministers, RCIA directors and religious educators will eagerly instruct people in the faith.

Carl Anderson, who is supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, sums up this opportunity for parishes:

“The church has a great opportunity to evangelize, and has much to build on with the next generation of Catholics, but it must act and teach in a way that makes clear the reasons for church teaching as part of what our pope has called our ‘yes’ to Jesus Christ.”

A PDF version of the the survey can be downloaded at the Knights of Columbus Web site, www.koc.org.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top