“Believing without belonging” challenges Catholicism – NY Cardinal Dolan

March 1, 2013

(Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, watches  the helicopter (not pictured) carrying Pope Benedict XVI fly off from the Vatican, on its way to the papal summer residence at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Yara Nardi )

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.

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4 comments

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This is like, I love your product but I hate your company. It’s incredible that the priest abuse was not the number 1 item on their list years ago – how many principles did it violate? If you want trust, you have to earn trust. If you say you believe in truth, you better be saying truth – no matter how difficult it is.

Posted by AppletreeD | Report as abusive

“Believing without belonging” is the common man’s first step on the path to freedom from his primal fear of the unknown and the unknowable and his intellectual fear of the illogical.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

The position of Cardinal Timothy Dolan –namely that believing without belonging poses a real problem to the Roman Catholic community — gives light to the way that this community functions. In order to belong to this community, it is not enough to share and ascribe to the same beliefs as other community members. In order to belong, there are certain ritual actions that one must take. Church attendance functions as sort of rite of passage. It serves as a physical commitment.

http://thecommunitytalks.wordpress.com/2 013/03/05/believing-without-belonging/

Posted by communitytalks | Report as abusive

Dolan has long since been exposed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing; disgraced, ousted as self-annointed “American Pope.”

Posted by SixthRomeo | Report as abusive