I see the URC are down from 188,300 to 69,900 in 25 yrs. It would be interesting to have the figures for continuing Congregationalists. I suspect their numbers have held up better....which says something about denominational mergers.
I wonder what the attendance trends are at the cathedrals/collegiate chapels for the evensongs.
The most interesting figures are those for the most morally conservative denomination, the RC Church - and these date from a period of high immigration from countries with large Roman Catholic populations.
A reasonable estimate, based on trends, is that just under 800 thousand people attend your church every week; in a population of over 50 million, how is this a "national" church?
Or are this question and these statistics just going to get covered in rich Anglican fudge?
Fr Mark makes a good point. I was suprised by the numerical decline of the RC Church in the period esp as there has been much made in the media about the influx from central/eastern Europe. it suggests to me that RC numbers have fallen a lot in the north..Liverpool/ Salford / Hexham and Newcastle. Any euphoria about the ( tiny) ordinariate numbers seem out of place!
Sadly the RC figures are accurate.. not because of Roman absolutism, but because of the liberal stranglehold over our episcopate and priesthood. Hell is not preached and without this the Catholic faith and its requirements are useless.
Hell is not preached and without this the Catholic faith and its requirements are useless. RIW
Robert, you astound me. Are you seriously arguing that if the RC heirarchy more consistently preached hell, and put forward the requirements of the Church as a counter to the fear of hell's fire, then the decline in worshipping numbers would be reversed?
My impression, from my friendship with numerous former Catholics (and former members of fundamentalist churches for that matter)is that many of them perceive the Church to be doing exactly what you propose. That is why they left.
I also know a fair number of people who have swum the Tiber in the same direction as yourself - notably my own parents. Until your posting, I have never heard one of these folk put forward increased preaching of hell as a significant selling-point.
If that is your view, then I am glad you have found a home in the RC community, and I am very happy to remain an Anglican.
Robert why not (re-) read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when you get a mo ?
People also have their own 'requirements'.
Often they manage to create hell for people, even if not preaching it.
I knew your mum and Dad when I lived in NZ...a lovely couple. Christianity makes no sense if you take Hell out of the equation. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.. As our Lord said, " Fear not those who can destroy the body, but fear him, who can put body and soul in hell."
Read it years ago Laurence. The fact is , Christianity shows no real growth when it adapts the gospel to the age in which it lives.
Jesus comes to demonstrate the sheer abundant love of God and RIW says that his message only makes sense if you preach hell?
Makes you want to weep!
RIW: "The fact is , Christianity shows no real growth when it adapts the gospel to the age in which it lives."
This is an interesting proposition, Robert. Isn't it the case that Christianity has always done this, though? Think of the changes to the Church that followed the conversion of the Emperor Constantine; or of the Church in Renaissance Tuscany; baroque Rome; Gallican France, etc, etc.
The history of our holy religion seems to me to be one of continuous adaptation of the Gospel to the age in which people live. Indeed, one might argue that the problem in Britain and Europe generally is the lack of adaptation and engagement with wider society by Christians in recent decades, which had not been a feature of previous centuries.
How can you honestly appreciate the love of God, unless you know the horrors he has saved us from.
What meakes me weep are people like Erika who do not realise that.
RIW "How can you honestly appreciate the love of God, unless you know the horrors he has saved us from."
Sounds more like Calvinism than Catholicism to me...
Love is valid in itself. It doesn't need potential horrors imposed by the very same lover in order to make it appealing.
It shocks me that people understand love so little that they can only understand it as something you have to forced into by threat of everlasting punishment.
"Hell is not preached and without this the Catholic faith and its requirements are useless."
- Robert I Williams -
So, Robert. At last you've admitted it. This was your reason for leaving protestant Anglicanism in New Zealand, and joining the Roman Catholic Church in Wales?
Obviously, your thirst for preaching about hell-fire does not catch on with your co-religionists in your adoptive situation - otherwise, there would be more at Mass.
For myself, I prefer the more eirenic, redemptive atmosphere of Anglicanism, which at least (mostly) doesn't see FEAR as a helpful or legitimate tool of evangelism into membership of the Body of Christ.
The God of revelation is a God of infinite justice and holiness. He has to punish sin,and the God of your construct is one of your imagination.
I suggest we are in danger of confusing two arguments here. There is the theological argument about the place of hell, and the rightness or wrongness of the motivation of fear in applying the Gospel. I doubt that RIW and I will ever agree on that one, but that does not concern me, as it is an argument that has exercised the minds of better theologians than either of us back as far as Origen, and one that Bob Bell has raised in a different form, as mentioned in another thread. Besides, it is a bit tangential to the original posting of this thread, about declining morship numbers.
The rather different issue I commented on above is RIW's extraordinary contention that the rise or fall in worship numbers among Roman Catholics (and presumably other denominations, though Robert does not claim this) is directly correlated with the Church's preaching of hell.
I just don't believe you can sustain that argument, Robert. Fr Mark probably provides enough evidence to debunk it, but in addition, I suggest that the largest drop in RC worship numbers in history came with the Reformation. Surely one of the key complaints of the Reformers was the Catholic preaching of hell and the requirements of the Church in the form of indulgences.
No, the causes of decline are much more complex than this.
Im just bemused by RIW's assertion of a liberal stranglehold over the english RC episcopate and priesthood. Have I missed something? in any case the increasing conservative episcopates in some countries and the undoubted fact that many seminarians / younger priests are more conservative than,say, 30 years ago doesnt seem to have halted the decline in RC numbers in Europe or North America.
Perry: it's interesting that younger clergy are more conservative.
I think we younger clergy are more conservative aesthetically, in both RC and Anglican churches, because we grew up with lots of ugliness of the beards, sandals, and polyester variety thrown at us without let-up by the older generation in church, who themselves were in reaction to the aesthetic of the previous generation. But that doesn't mean that the younger generation of clergy are more conservative when it comes to sexual morality, in either RC or Anglican churches; rather the opposite. I know several partnered gay RC priests (living double lives, of course), who are all amongst the more conservative young clergy when it comes to liturgy, for example. The numbers of such as these are currently being swollen by those joining the Ordinariate too.
"The God of revelation is a God of infinite justice and holiness. He has to punish sin,and the God of your construct is one of your imagination." RIW
I see this thread has now sunk to the level of 'my God's better than your God'.
"I know several partnered gay RC priests (living double lives, of course)" Fr. Mark
How depressing for all involved. What integrity can their ministry have - for all its aesthetically pleasing liturgy - when their own lives are circumvalated with lies and charades?
Its not a question of liturgy, but of preaching the Gospel. Conservative lincoln diocese in the USA, produces more vocations than the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Thanks for your quote Mark..it will be very useful.
Not a healthy situation Fr Mark!
Perry: Exactly. That's why it's time we were able to model a healthier option for clergy ourselves.
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