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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Denominational Loyalty Among Catholics

Ellison Research has released a study (apologies, that link is PDF format,) indicating that among active church-goers, those actually practicing something, denominational attachement is pretty low.

I am encouraged to see that there hasn't been a total catechetical failure among Catholics for the past few decades, a greater number of Catholics have a loyalty to the Mass, than Protestants to their services.
That indicates many practicing Catholics do understand, even if they cannot articulate it, the uniqueness of the Real Presence gratuitously available to them in the Blessed Sacrament confected by the ordained presbyterate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (or maybe their grannies just inculcated them with fear of going to hell if they missed Mass ;oP)

Denominational loyalty differs strongly between Protestants and Catholics. Six out of ten active Catholics would only consider attending a Roman Catholic church, and another 29% prefer this, although they do not rule out other denominations. Eleven percent of Catholics do not show a specific preference for attending a Catholic parish.

In comparison, just 16% of Protestant churchgoers will only consider attending their current denomination. Fifty-one percent do express preference for one denomination, but would also consider others. Thirty-three percent do not have any preference for one specific denomination. This is little difference between the loyalties of people who attend evangelical Protestant churches and those who attend a mainline Protestant denomination....

There are relatively few demographic differences within the findings. Denominational loyalty does not vary significantly by gender, household income, age, or type of community (rural/small town, suburban, or urban). It does vary by race/ethnicity and by region of the country.

However, these differences are driven more by the Catholic/Protestant divide than by the actual demographics. Hispanic churchgoers – a majority of whom attend a Catholic church – are the most intensely loyal to their denomination, while African-Americans – relatively few of whom attend a Catholic church – are the least loyal.

Similarly, loyalty is highest in the Northeast, where Catholicism is more common than in any other part of the country, and lowest in the South, where Catholicism has less of a presence.

Roman Catholics are far more likely to be loyal to their denomination than they are to be loyal to specific brands within [consumer categories such as automobiles, toilet paper, pain relievers, and grocery stores.] The story is much different for Protestants.

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