Konvertitter forblir katolikker

Jeg må innrømme at jeg har hørt denne «sannheten» i Norge noen ganger de siste 2-3 årene; at en stor prosent av menneskene som blir opptatt i Den katolske kirke i voksen alder (konvertitter) forlater Kirken igjen ganske snart. Dette samsvarer ikke med min egen erfaring, men det har blitt påstått. Nå kan det se ut til at denne «sannheten» aldri har vært korrekt (skriver Catolic Herald):

For several years now, I have been hearing a “fact” stated with the utmost confidence: that a large proportion of adults entering the Church through the RCIA end up lapsing within the space of a year or two. I have even heard some depressingly precise figures quoted – 50 per cent, 75 per cent, even 90 per cent – along with authoritative, albeit non-specific, appeals to “a study from the United States”.

You have probably heard something similar yourself. Perhaps it flashed through your mind recently, briefly souring the joyful moment as you clapped those white-clad, beaming-faced “world’s newest Catholics” at your parish’s Easter Vigil.

Well, let me tell something. This week I was in Washington DC, among other things visiting the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). This is Georgetown University’s crack team of social scientists, who have been providing empirically rigorous yet pastorally useful answers to all manner of Catholic questions for over 50 years. (They have also partly inspired the creation of at least one other research centre, likewise based at a leading Catholic University in a major capital city.)

To be perfectly blunt, if there really is a “study from the United States” on the perseverence (or not) of adult converts, the good folks at CARA would not only know about it, but there’s a very good chance it would be theirs in the first place. Here’s the thing, though. No such study, showing a significant and imminent falling away of RCIA-ers, exists. What CARA do, however, is a raft of evidence suggesting precisely the opposite. All this is clearly set out in two blog posts, one from February of this year and the other from 2014, both of which I urge you to read.

The most recent, though modestly described as “a quick back of the envelope reality check”, is in fact a clever use of some very robust data sources. This estimates that something like 84 per cent of all American former RCIA-ers still regard themselves as Catholic. Given that, according to my own analysis of similar sorts of data, only 64 per cent of US cradle Catholics still identify as Catholic, that’s not bad going at all. …

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