Our Changing Church

Parish life differs from decades past, but mission endures

How Catholics in the Philadelphia Archdiocese live their faith has changed significantly over the past 30 to 40 years. Parish leaders from both city and suburbs discuss the complex reasons, and their determination to renew pastoral outreach today.

‘No religion’ rising among all ages; ‘enormous implications’ foreseen

Most of the religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. are young, but a Fordham symposium said the trend encompasses all age groups. Panelists pointed to causes for the increase, and offered solutions.

Pew poll shows ‘nones’ exceeding Catholics in U.S.

Those who profess no religious affiliation grew while the percentage of Catholics declined in the past 10 years, said a Pew Research Center survey. But 62% of Christians attending church twice a month do so at the same rate as 2009.

Fewer in number, Father and Sister can’t minister alone

An analysis of the number of priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese over the past 50 years and projections for the next 20 years shows marked decline in numbers available for ministry, and the need for greater participation by lay people.

What that mysterious word ‘church’ really means

That simple and well-worn term is often misunderstood, says a theologian at St. Charles Seminary. The "church" describes God's multinational people, and the parish is where we meet them.

Decline in baptisms, marriages seen as harbinger, call to community

Since 1961 infant baptisms have dropped 79% and Catholic marriages 69% in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, where the long-term trends will inform future planning. A local priest explains the communal experience of sacraments in parishes.

A few thoughts on Sunday Mass attendance

Empty pews are a call to focus on the corporal works of mercy, improved liturgies and homilies, and a relational approach to ministry that favors real authentic conversion over big numbers, says Father Eric Banecker.

Seminary panelists ponder future of thinning Catholic parishes

What will parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese look like in the future? Archbishop Charles Chaput and three professors at St. Charles Seminary shared their vision of Catholic communities and how future priests will serve them.

Half of Catholics attending Mass 28 years ago no longer do, figures show

CatholicPhilly.com analyzes the long-term trend of declining attendance at Mass in the Philadelphia Archdiocese since 1990, accelerated by the sexual abuse crisis and parish mergers in recent years.

At the mountaintop: Half-century of change in Phila. Archdiocese

When Archbishop John Krol arrived to lead the Church in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, he could not know he was seeing the peak of population, sacramental life and school enrollment, as historical figures show.