This week at Catholicmom.com, we are discussing the statistics of Christians who leave the faith of their childhood and either convert to another faith or become a "none", someone who claims no religious affiliation. I chose to answer this week's discussion questions in a Q&A format in order to give you a better picture of who I am in the Catholic community.
Have you always been Catholic?
I joined the Church in 2007 after a life of yearning to be Catholic. I was one of the “nones” that the author talks about in Chapter 1. I was raised with no religious affiliation and my parents thought that this was best so that I can choose my faith when I grew up. Because of my “none” status growing up, I don’t consider myself a convert to the faith nor a cradle Catholic. I think those of us “nones” who become Catholic fit into a special category all to ourselves. We have no religious background to help us to connect with our Catholic faith but we also have no preconceived notions about what to expect.
How did the instruction and mentoring you received help you – or prevent you – from having a personal relationship with God?
I started RCIA classes not long after I began attending Mass regularly. The instruction offered there was the basics of the faith but they did not get into the practical application of the faith at all. I suppose they discussed a personal relationship with God but not in the way that most evangelicals approach it. A personal relationship in Catholic terms would be frequent reception of the Sacraments. How much more personal can you get then by ingesting the body and blood of our Lord?
What events among your friends and family seem to explain why some are Catholic, and others are not?
In my family, I am the only truly practicing Catholic although I actually have a few Catholic family members. My one cousin was baptized Catholic but never attended Mass. She now has a daughter who is baptized Catholic but has never been to a Mass. They know nothing about their faith and sometimes she mentions wanting to connect to her faith better but I think she gets overwhelmed with all she doesn’t know about her faith that she gives up on learning. This overwhelmed feeling may be one of the reasons that so many Catholics tend to drift away and feel disconnected.
How’s your “retention rate”? Do young adults in your parish stay in touch with their childhood faith community, or do they drift away to an unknown fate?
I don’t know what the retention rate is within our parish but I know that our priest makes the joke that the Confirmation youth should not do as the bats did in the house we use for religious education. He said he confirmed them all and they have not been seen again! I think this is an indication that many of the youth leave the Church after Confirmation.