"How many have bailed out of Catholicism?", asks Jacqueline L. Salmon of Washington Post's PopeWatch, referring to the publication of a recent report from the Pew Forum:
Benedict will have a big audience here in the United States. According to a megastudy of Americans' religious identification released recently by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, almost one in four Americans--24 percent--is Catholic. But Pew also found that no American faith group has lost more adherents than the Catholic Church; 10 percent of Americans are ex-Catholics. However, in the pollster version of a smackdown, some of Pew's findings are getting an argument from the go-to research center for all things Catholic--the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.Jacqueline may also be interested in InsideCatholic.com's symposium, which asked 34 prominent Catholics from various backgrounds to answer the question, "Why Are So Many Leaving the Catholic Church?"
It's kind of a wonky dispute, but interesting nonetheless. CARA maintains its 2003 research shows the situation isn't as bad as Pew paints it. . . .