The decline can be traced in part to the church's decreased emphasis on Mass attendance, said James Davidson, a Purdue University sociologist. Where people once worried about going to hell if they missed Mass, "priests in parishes no longer chastise people for not going the way they used to," Davidson said. Davidson also cited shifts in Catholic teachings that emphasize God's loving nature, not his judgment.
"Catholics tend to go when they want," he said. "God forgives."
Isn't this the buffoon the Cardinal appointed as Chaplain to the Massachusetts Legislature:
The Rev. Bernard McLaughlin, pastor at St. Gerard Majella Church in Canton, said his church, has a band that plays contemporary worship songs to attract younger people, and he avoids the heavy-handed pronouncements from the pulpit that he says turn off today's Catholics.
The faith itself remains the church's best selling point, McLaughlin said.
"I obviously believe very strongly Jesus is God and what he says is the truth," he said. "I think a lot of people still believe that. It's the institution they don't like."