“The Catholic church is hemorrhaging members.”
Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese, former editor in chief of America, is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington.
Thanks to Steve Hays at Triablogue for pointing this out:
Other significant quotes from the Jesuit priest Thomas J. Reese:
“They also cited the church's teaching on the Bible (55 percent versus 16 percent) more frequently as a reason for leaving. Forty-six percent of these new evangelicals felt the Catholic church did not view the Bible literally enough. Thus, for those leaving to become evangelicals, spiritual sustenance, worship services and the Bible were key.”
“Contrary to what conservatives [Roman Catholic conservatives] say, ex-Catholics are not flocking to the evangelicals because they think the Catholic church is politically too liberal. They are leaving to get spiritual nourishment from worship services and the Bible.”
Three General Categories (The first two are from the article cited, the last one is a different direction, summary from a different trend.)
1. Roman Catholic to Liberal Mainline Protestants: It seems, generally speaking, that Roman Catholics who leave the RCC for mainline Protestant churches (Liberal both in doctrine and political and social issues) do so because of disagreement with political and social issues of the RCC.
2. Roman Catholics to Evangelical Protestant: But the reason for Roman Catholics becoming Evangelical has to do with thirst for spiritual reality in worship and Bible teaching. They seem drawn to the Bible and wanting to hear the word of the Lord.
The third is conversions the other way - Evangelical Protestants who are becoming Roman Catholic (not in the article, but a summary from the recent trend of the Scott Hahn/based on the Newman thesis/Mattatics/Francis Beckwith and "Called to Communion" (Taylor Marshall, Bryan Cross, etc.) former Reformed folks.
3. Evangelical Protestants to Roman Catholic: And the reasons for Evangelical Protestants becoming RC is, in general, according to them, it seems to me, is a desire for deeper historical ties to church history and the development of doctrine (theory of Newman) over the centuries, and desire for certainty in authority and interpretation; unity in one church; the apparent appeal of mystery in the Liturgy, the Mass and Eucharist [why anyone would find that appealing is strange to me]; and all the strange attraction to statues and prayers to Mary and the saints and things such as “Gothic architecture”[although I personally agree that stone architecture with arches is more beautiful than the plain modern Evangelical churches, they are quite expensive]; and the seeming appeal of intellectual knowledge in more Latin and philosophy.
It seems that the desire for spiritual reality (# 2 – “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me” - John 10:27-30) is more important. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“You must be born again”, Jesus said. If you are not born again, it doesn’t matter how much of the writings of John Henry Newman or Early Church Father’s * or Latin ** or philosophy *** you know.
* though I try to learn as much as I can now.
** I wish I knew it.
*** I want to understand it better, but under the Lordship of Christ. I Peter 3:15; Colossians 2:8