(Who’s Counting.?)

Since the election of Cardinal Bergoglio to lead the Catholic Church the reporting of their numbers as members of that church have been bantered about without qualification. I have personally scoured the Internet to learn that the 1.2 billion number being reported is more than suspect. The variances differ with secular sources as well as Catholic sources themselves.

A little levity to start with:
There were five houses of religion in a small town:
The Presbyterian Church,
The Baptist Church,
The Methodist Church ,
The Catholic Church andof religion
The Jewish Synagogue.

Each church and Synagogue was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.

In the Baptist Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week

The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creation. So, they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But — The Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church.

Now they only see them on Christmas , Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue, but they took one squirrel and had a short service with him called circumcision and they haven’t seen a squirrel on the property since.

But I digress.

Here are some givens regarding Roman Catholic Church membership counting:

Over 25 % of supposed Catholic growth is the result of Latino immigration.

There has been a “mass” exit from the church for various and sundry reasons, to state a few:

1-Pastors have been known to over report in order to prevent closing of a church.

2-Certainly there has been anger over the miss handling of their world wide sex scandals.

3-Many members left rejecting the Catholic teaching on divorce.

4-Many who have died have not been removed from the rolls.

5-In our mobile society many left the church without any formal exit procedure.

6-Inconsistent counting methodologies are being used that further muddies the numbers.

7-The “once a catholic always a catholic” philosophy retains many Catholics who left.Counting here is based on baptism records.

8-At some churches the count is based on envelopes turned in. However many have stopped contributing especial by using the traditional envelope system which is used by some churches to tally members.

9-A substantial number of members avoid close identity because of practicing cohabitation.

10-A significant number of Catholics have abortions and stay away for fear of rejection.

So who is counting? I suggest an organization as large as the Catholic Church release numbers that are backed by integrity and state disclaimers befitting the disparities. Truth matters, especially in religion.

Gus Supan