What Do the 2017 Gallup Poll Results Say About Catholics as Missionary Disciples?
By Fr. Kenneth Boyack, CSP
An article titled “2017 Update on Americans and Religion” by Frank Newport of Gallup, Inc. raises key questions about how we as Catholics are taking on the identity of missionary disciples as Pope Francis teaches in The Joy of the Gospel (see no. 120). Ponder the numbers below from Gallup.
Note that Catholics are in fourth place behind Mormons, Protestants, and Muslims as being “highly religious,” and Catholics have the highest percentage of “not religious” among these same three religious groups. What is occurring in Mormon communities of faith that enables 74% of their members to self-identify as highly religious and only 10% as not religious? What are some factors causing Catholics to be less highly religious and more not religious as we look at the poll results?
As a Church concerned about forming communities of missionary disciples, Catholics need to ask ourselves what the Spirit is calling us to be, and to do, to increase the number ofCatholics who self-identify as highly religious; to move those who are moderately religious into the highly religious category; and to engage in intentional outreach efforts to invite and welcome baptized Catholics who self-identify as not religious to join us around the Eucharistic table.