Shift in religious practice

86 percent of U.S. Catholics consider doubts about the doctrine of the faith to be compatible with a fundamental loyalty to the church. For nearly nine in 10 Catholics, a person's specific behavior is more important than whether he or she is Catholic.

This is according to a survey of 1.442 adult Catholics, which the magazine "National Catholic Reporter" published on Monday. The survey also reveals a shift in religious practice. While 44 percent said they attended mass at least once a week in 1987, the current figure is 31 percent. On the other hand, the number of those who celebrate mass once a month has risen from 26 to 47 percent.

As a striking development compared to previous surveys, the authors of the study note a loss of authority for the Vatican among all age groups. The church's opposition to same-sex unions and married priests, as well as its no to the death penalty, is no longer supported by the majority of U.S. Catholics, said Michele Dillon, co-author and sociologist at the University of New Hampshire. On moral ies, too, such as sex before and outside marriage, the majority of even practicing believers follow their own opinions rather than the directives of church superiors. Bishops have also lost credibility as pastors and shepherds, Dillon said.

Conversion loses significanceu
Four in 10 Catholics in the survey say you can be a good Catholic without believing in the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at the Eucharist. 73 percent consider belief in the resurrection of Jesus to be the central doctrine of the church; 67 percent consider the commandment to help the poor to be particularly important, 46 percent daily prayer.

For 40 percent, according to the National Catholic Reporter, opposition to abortion is essential; for 36 percent, devotions such as praying the rosary; for 35 percent, opposition to same-sex marriage. 30 percent consider it very important to listen to the Vatican, 29 percent declare the fight against the death penalty essential, 21 percent the teaching that only unmarried men may become priests.

On the subject of abuse by Catholic church employees, 83 percent say the scandal has at least partially damaged the political credibility of church leaders. 77 percent also see the current activities of pastors affected by it. 29 percent, however, also believe the bishops have handled the scandal well.

Protestant churches in the USA lose members
In the U.S., major Protestant churches continue to lose members. The Catholic Church, Pentecostal churches and the Mormons have seen their membership grow. The decline from 2009 to 2010 was particularly pronounced in the United Church of Christ (2.8 percent to 1.1 million), the Presbyterian Church (2.6 percent to 2.8 million) and the Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion (2.4 percent to two million). The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America saw a decline of nearly two percent to 4.5 million.

The Roman Catholic Church remains by far the largest church in the USA (68.5 million members). Thanks to immigration, their membership increased by 0.5 percent. The Pentecostal Assemblies of God (2.9 million people) were also involved
members) and the likewise Pentecostal Church of God (1.1 million) registered increases. The Mormon Church, known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the fourth largest church in the U.S. It grew by 1.4 percent to 6.1 million members. As in previous years, the Southern Baptist Association also lost members. The evangelically oriented Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant church in the U.S. with 16.2 million members. Among Protestant churches, the Methodists rank second with 7.8 million members.

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