The American Church: Going, Going . . . by Russell Shaw

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By Russell Shaw, The Catholic Thing, April 17, 2021

Russell Shaw is former Secretary for Public Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity (forthcoming from Ignatius Press).


Russell ShawAs Holy Week got underway this year, many people were surprised to learn of a new Gallup survey showing fewer than half of all Americans now identify with any particular church, synagogue, or mosque. But for those who’ve followed the rise of America’s “Nones,” and the corresponding decline in religious identity, this was old news.

Actually, self-identified Catholics didn’t come out – relatively – all that badly in the Gallup numbers, with 58 percent still identifying with a church while the overall figure for Americans was 47 percent. But any comfort Catholics might find in that vanishes when one realizes that the new figure is a drop of 18 percent from the 76 percent that Gallup reported for Catholics two decades ago. …

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