No matter what the Catholics want you to believe, the fact is, they’re failing miserably. It isn’t just the churches who have suffered from plummeting membership for years, it’s the Catholic schools who they rely on to brainwash kids into lifelong Catholic zombies, that have seen fewer and fewer students coming through the door year after year.
In the past decade, Catholic schools have seen a 24.5% drop in attendance and more than 2000 schools in the United States have closed or consolidated. Chicago’s Leo Catholic High School for Boys has fallen from 1200 students in the 1950s to just 157 this year. New York is going to lose 24 schools this year, according to the local archdiocese. Of course, this isn’t true everywhere, there are small pockets of growing Catholic influence like Indiana, Texas and Florida, but the news just isn’t good for Catholic education in general.
Of course, the Catholics try to spin it like this is a bad turn of events. They claim that the estimated 2 million students educated in private religious schools save taxpayers over $21 billion a year, but that’s simply not the case. Public schools are funded by property taxes, those taxes are raised whether the students to to public schools or not. The only thing that private schools do is reduce the amount of money families have available to spend because they are paying for schooling twice. I’d rather see that $21 billion pumped into the economy through local businesses than wasted on religious education. At least local businesses pay taxes on the money they collect, unlike the Catholics who are tax-exempt.
Catholics claim that it’s the charter schools and changing demographics that are harming them but I suspect that it’s a better educated society that is driving people away from religious schools and churches in droves. Of course, the Catholic sex scandal can’t be helping them. Add to that the fact that Catholics typically give half as much to their church as Protestants, 1.2% vs. 2.5%, I’m not surprised to see them running out of money faster. With weekly Catholic church attendance down dramatically since the 1970s, falling from 47% to 24% in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center, the schools will only continue to suffer unless they can find a way to boost their ranks. Many archdiocese are trying to appeal to the Hispanic community as a means of filling their classrooms, but the honest fact is, they will continue to lose money unless they can appeal to a more affluent clientele. The traditional low and middle-income students just won’t cut it, but the high-income students often come from families with excellent educations who don’t fall for religious bullshit in the first place.
Is it any wonder that the whole religious infrastructure is failing? If they cannot keep indoctrinating kids with their nonsense, those kids will not go to their churches, won’t give them money and churches and schools will continue to fail. The whole system is spiraling into oblivion and personally, I think that’s a very good thing.