New Report Shows over 80% of Catholics Think Satan is Just a Symbol. That’s Dangerous.

Did you know that the first Catholics in America were Spanish missionaries who sailed on Christopher Columbus’ second voyage in 1493? Cities today still reflect the roots of Catholic settlements. For example, Boston has more Catholics than any other U.S. major city because of its original Irish roots from the 17th century. Southern Louisiana and Texas are largely Catholic due to the influence of Spanish and French settlers in those regions.

Since then, Catholicism has grown to be the largest religious denomination in America, with approximately 77 million members calling themselves Catholics. These religious faithful account for 22 percent of the U.S. population, the fourth largest after Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines. Catholic Americans come from every ethnicity, political party and socioeconomic status.

But what does it mean to be Catholic and American today?

Catholicism retains more parishioners than any other Protestant or other non-Christian religion, but the church in America is rapidly changing. One-third or 25 million adults don’t identify with the church and its teachings. Disagreement on social issues is a major contributing factor, but surprisingly, today’s Catholics are starting to waiver on tried-and-true tenets of the faith like belief in Satan.

Amazingly, 83 percent of Catholics no longer believe that Satan is real. Instead, they believe that Satan is just a symbol. The shocking results come from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). By comparison, 55 percent of Evangelical Protestants believe that Satan is a literal being.

Belief in the good versus evil, God versus Satan and heaven versus hell are cornerstones of the Catholic teaching. The Church has always stated the actual existence of Satan as a being. In fact, the first line in the Renewal of the Baptismal Promise, said during confirmation, is “Do you reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises?” Other tenets of the faith include a belief that God created heaven and earth, Jesus was God’s son born of the Virgin Mary, and that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. Other beliefs include an afterlife in heaven (or hell), forgiving sins, and the communion of saints. To believe in all of these things defines belief in the holy Catholic Church.

Why is this happening? Why are Catholics no longer believing in the basic tenets of their faith?

One reason is changing demographics. The majority of Catholics are Hispanic and younger, so as younger people grow up in the faith, they’re less likely to believe in all aspects of the faith. Younger Catholics tend to have different views on social issues that the church has remained steadfast on. Same sex marriages and lack of recognition of gay and lesbian marriages as holy unions has been a real issue with younger people.

Sexuality in general has been a major issue. The Catholic Church does not condone sex before marriage, babies born out of wedlock, or couples living together before marriage. They teach that these things are immoral, as is remarrying after divorce unless the church has granted an annulment. However, most Catholic parishioners today disagree with these church teachings. About 25 percent of American Catholics are divorced, with many remarrying. Most modern American Catholics also believe in contraception, but the church still teaches that using it is a sin. And nearly half of Catholics are in favor of legalized abortion. The Church has remained steadfast that abortion is murder, a mortal sin punishable by excommunication.

The dwindling number of priest ranks has been another major issue for the Church. In 50 years, the Catholic Church has seen priest numbers decrease by 33 percent. Greater congregations with fewer priests means gaps in teaching the faith. Nearly half of American priests are over age 65; they’re ready to retire, but younger priests are not taking their place. More than 20 percent of churches these days don’t have a priest in residence. Lack of priests also leads to lack of leadership; the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is responsible for overseeing Catholicism in America.

According to 2015 Pew Research, many Catholics say they would never dream of leaving the faith, but only about 40 percent of Catholics attend mass regularly; about 16 percent say they never go. Approximately 10 percent describe themselves as “culturally Catholic”, meaning they attend non-Catholic churches or don’t attend church at all; some don’t even believe in God, but say they were raised as Catholics and it is an important part of family tradition or ancestry. Pew showed that almost 50 percent leave the Catholic Church after being raised in it, with about 20 percent of this group returning to Catholicism later in life.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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