“Believing without belonging” challenges Catholicism – NY Cardinal Dolan
Roman Catholicism faces a serious challenge from the rising number of people who believe in God but no longer see any need for a church, according to New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Opinion research shows that some people today have problems “with the very nature and meaning of the church”, Dolan, in Rome to prepare for a conclave to elect a replacement to the retired Pope Benedict, told Reuters in an interview.
Dolan said this trend, which sociologists of religion call “believing without belonging”, should be high on the list of issues that cardinals discuss at the Vatican next week before they retreat into the Sistine Chapel to vote for the pope.
Benedict officially stepped down on Thursday, the first pope in almost six centuries to do so, and the 115 cardinals due to pick his successor began informal meetings on Friday to discuss procedures for the vote and size up candidates.
“We hear that more and more people have absolutely no problem with faith, but they do with religion,” Dolan, 63 and mentioned among possible candidates for the papacy, said.
“While more and more people have no problem at all with Jesus Christ, they love him and accept him as their Lord and saviour, they do have problems with the church,” he said. “More and more people don’t see the need for the church.”
The phrase “believing without belonging”, coined by British sociologist Grace Davie in the 1990s, describes the growing number of people who say they are “spiritual but not religious” and leave organised religion behind.