Re: Values Added: Catholics Making Up Their Own Minds (Robert Jones & Michele Dillon)
To deemphasize the statistics of ex-Catholics in America by speaking about how many Protestants also leave the denomination of their childhood but don't get counted as "ex-Protestants" because they land in some other Protestant church is not a very analogous comparison.
To a Protestant, most Protestant churches are essentially the same, with very minor differences of dogma. Sometimes it's not even a difference of dogma, so much as a difference of emphasis. You have to really squint at mission statements to figure out the religious differences between a Baptist and a Methodist, even if the culture of the two churches seem very different. Pretty much all of the large Protestant movements point to New Testament scripture as the final authority on all spiritual matters, and what differences there are tend to boil down (mostly) to disagreements about interpretations of that scripture.
Catholicism does not point at the New Testament as the "final" authority on all matters. To the extent that scriptures matter, it's because the authority of The Church has declared it to matter. Final spiritual authority rests with the infallible Church. To a Catholic, all other "Christian" churches reject absolute papal authority, and therefore are a whole other religion.
So somebody might "leave" a Pentacostal church to attend a Baptist one simply because they moved and the Baptist church in their new neighborhood is more convenient, and nothing about their declared faith has changed at all.
But when somebody leaves the Catholic church (as my father did), they are making a deliberate decision to reject a body of teachings. Becoming an "ex-Catholic" means you are changing religions. Becoming an "ex-Lutheran" merely means you found an Episcopal church you enjoy attending more.
Last edited by Tara Davis; 03-23-2011 at 07:07 PM..