In the comments of the William Whitaker thread, just below here, Truth Unites… and Divides, asked:
Q: What's the highest ranking RC clergy in history (and in recent times, say the last 100 years) to ever convert to Protestantism? Has an RC bishop ever done so?
I don't know the answer to that specific question. I also know that James Swan, our esteemed host, is not a fan of conversion stories (his theory is, "if you want to tell a story, tell Christ's story.") We know, too, that throughout the history of the papacy, very many popes were so very foul that it would have been a travesty to have suggested that they were in any way Christian.
But as for which way the tide is going today, a former Catholic-turned-Presbyterian named Dudley Davis posted this account a while back at PuritanBoard:
There is in truth a great flux away from the Roman catholic church to Protestantism in the United states. 30 million people now in the US define themselves as ex roman catholics; half are unafililiated with no church and 15 million like me are now Protestants. The following are the current statistics from the pew Forum on Religion in The United States...
Catholicism has suffered the greatest net loss in the process of religious change. Many people who leave the Catholic Church do so for religious reasons; two-thirds of former Catholics who have become unaffiliated say they left the Catholic faith because they stopped believing in its teachings, as do half of former Catholics who are now Protestant. Fewer than three-in-ten former Catholics, however, say the clergy sexual abuse scandal factored into their decision to leave Catholicism.
One-in-ten American adults is a former Catholic. Former Catholics are about evenly divided between those who have become unaffiliated and those who have become Protestant,… The reasons for leaving Catholicism given by former Catholics who have converted to evangelical Protestantism differ in some important ways from those offered by former Catholics who have joined mainline Protestant churches. Most former Catholics who are now evangelical Protestants, for example, say they left Catholicism in part because they stopped believing in Catholic teachings (62%) and specifically because they were unhappy with Catholic teachings about the Bible (55%). …
However the same survey also shows that a majority of those raised protestant are still Protestant. Eight-in-ten adults who were raised Protestant are still Protestant, and about two-thirds of this group (or 52% of all those raised Protestant) are still members of the same family of denominations (e.g. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) in which they were raised. The other third (28% of all those raised Protestant) are now members of a new family of Protestant denominations. However, one-fifth of those raised Protestant have left Protestantism altogether; most of them are now unaffiliated (13%), with smaller numbers having become Catholic (3%) or members of other faiths (4%)….
The numbers of Protestants having become Catholic is only (3%).