For John, BLUF: If a religion isn't serious about its beliefs, its doctrines, it will whither and die. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is some happy little news from The Pew Trust, the number of Roman Catholics identifying themselves as "strong Catholics" has decline.
And this right after the election of a new Pope, Francis I.
From the article lede:
The percentage of U.S. Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members of the Roman Catholic Church has never been lower than it was in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the General Social Survey (GSS). About a quarter (27%) of American Catholics called themselves “strong” Catholics last year, down more than 15 points since the mid-1980s and among the lowest levels seen in the 38 years since strength of religious identity was first measured in the GSS, a long-running national survey carried out by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.The thing missing from this study is the fact that a too liberal religion tends to lose members, but one that is more "conservative" or "fundamentalist", while it may lose members overall, tends to increase the percentage who strongly identify with that religion. Remember, the two Pentecostal Churches East of Lowell, one on 133 and the other on 110, didn't come over with the folks on the Mayflower. They represent faiths that are only about 100 years old. So, their members came from other faiths. Why? Because the members were not being nourished by their original Faiths.
Even within the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, the more "conservative" dioceses are thriving and the more "liberal" are declining.
Regards — Cliff