.. alvation came we are one of the ways to salvation.This new open mindedness in the catholic church appealed to Catholics and drew new membership. Catholicism before the council was not so stable, the church appeared to be solid rooted and unchanged :fish on Friday; mass on Sunday in Latin etc. But then almost over night it was all right to eat meat on Friday, Mass was said in English with the priest facing the people etc. Greeley states ‘Catholicism in America is more healthy and alive today than it was before Vatican 2.’America is a society engulfed in a culture of the American Dream, in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Reeves states “We are consumed by our jobs and endless pursuit of the power, cash, status and the pleasure of promise ‘personal fulfilment and happiness’ we therefore go about our lives pretty much the same as those who have no faith at all.” One could speculate as to how Catholicism could survive in an age of materialism and consumerism. But this speculation is false for Catholicism has survived and its presence is increasing as Gallup Poll shows us.
Money means a lot of things but it still doesn’t bring meaning to life, this is why Catholicism co-exists in this materialistic society. Consequently you could be easily mistaken to think that Catholicism is in decline in this culture of consumerism where it is easy to forget this(god) when is search of this(money). But ‘Money can’t buy faith’ and this is why the Catholic faith exists today as strong as ever. To my fourth subquestion How has modernisation, science and technology affected Catholicism in America. From 1945 till Vatican 2 modernization, science and technology were thought of as enemies by the Catholic church.
Darwin’s theory of evolution was banned from all Catholic schools. But as the conservative church leaders kept rejecting modernization, lay Catholics began to reject the church and membership dropped significantly. As Bruce suggests “Technical advances gradually removed areas of uncertainty and unpredictability and by doing so shrunk the regions of life for which religion was thought to offer the best explanations and remedies.’ Although science and technology opened our eyes to new wonders of the world does this mean the decline of faith? Not necessarily, I concluded the decline this was not caused by science and technology but rather the conservative church leaders rejecting it initially. What they did not realize is how Reeves describes ‘Science knows nothing about absolute truth’. Science can’t offer explanations on the meaning of life, or the after life this is where Catholicism serves its purpose. At Vatican 2 church leaders woke up to the myth of science against Catholicism and as Levi states ‘abandoned its stance towards the world and its modern development’. After Vatican two Catholic membership began to rise again as individuals came back to a modern church which was now inter-linked with science and technology.
As Noble states ‘there is a simultaneous flourishing of both, not only side by side but also hand in hand.’ So in respect to the decline in Catholicism due to modernization, science and technology. I found that it was merely a myth that was initially believed by the conservative church, but now in the modern church the two are inter-linked. How has the mass media affected Catholicism since 1945. With almost every household receiving some form of media coverage it is evident that the mass media is very influential in America and indeed most western societies. In today’s society as Reeves states “studies have shown an overwhelming bias against religion by media leaders.
In one survey of the media elite, 86% said they seldom or never attended religious services and 50% listed their religion as none.” Television critic Howard Rosenberg observed ” You see more hookers, rapists and serial murders on TV than clerics.” In 1990 the media research center published an extensive study of the media documenting a powerful left wing and secular bias. More recently in the last 4 years the media research center conducted an annual study into the quantity and quality of T.V religion coverage. They found that year after year the total news content of religion failed to crack the one- percent barrier. In a NBC statement “what a strange formula, if it is secular you can report it. But if it is religious, it’s radioactive, third rail, and controversial stuff.
How sad, especially when you consider that religion according to a national survey is quintessentially important to 91% of the public”. It seems as with politics there is a disproportionate number of secular minded individuals in the media who tend to shrug of religious issues. Because of the media’s great influence a misconception is created of decline of Catholicism and for that matter any religion, when really the faith still remains in the population. How has modern education affected Catholicism. From the late 1940’s to the present, public education in America has been completely secularized.
1947 Everson v. Board of education the court had declared that the first Amendment erected “a wall of separation between church and state. 1961 Torcaso v Wathins court declared that a State could not require public employees to believe in the existence of god. 1963 Abington v Schempp, Supreme Court struck down, sponsored bible readings and recitation of the lords prayer in public schools. The Washington Evening star stated “God and religion have all been but driven from the public schools.” Consequently because of the changed public sector of education you could easily believe that it would result in decline of Catholicism.
However with this change as Rose states ” Evangelicals began withdrawing from the public schools in 1950’s.Between 1960-1975 public school enrolment declined by 40% while Christian school enrollments increased by a factor of 4-5. ” Rose goes on to say “The Christian schools movement is today the fastest growing sector in private education representing the second largest group. The first being Roman Catholics.” Therefore with the decline in Catholicism in the public sector there was a shift in enrollments from public to private. This indicates the strong sense of catholic faith that still exists in American society. With all the extreme opinions out there it is easy to get caught up in the myth that Catholicism can’t exist in a culture of materialism where liberal politicians rule in our governments and we are engulfed in modernisation, science and technology.
Although devotion is down there has been a lot of change in the church and being a Catholic today is a lot different than it was fifty years ago and this does not reflect decline. Furthermore the fact is Catholicism still does exist and statistic’s show is on the increase, reasons for this being money, science and politics can do a lot of things but still will never fill up the hunger that exists in our lives for meaning. Religion.