Unusual study asks former Catholics why they left the Church. I wonder where that idea came from?

Do you know why people are leaving your parish?

Speaking to the Leadership Roundtable in 2008, Mr Larry Bossidy, retired Chairman & CEO of
Honeywell International suggested that parishes conduct exit interviews to find out.

The first [suggestion] is to establish a parish committee for the retention of Catholics. In other words, when people drop out of the Church, do exit interviews to find out why they are leaving. There are a number of common reasons why they leave, including uninspiring leadership, insufficient activities for youth or the aged, sparse or ineffective laity involvement, and sometimes rundown facilities. Whatever the reason, it would be nice to identify it and then set up a committee to do something about it. I think the fact that people leave the Church and we just shake our heads and say “We can’t do anything about it” is a mistake. I think we should work harder to retain good Catholics.

You can read his full presentation here (to find out what his other two suggestions were!).

Then, Leadership Roundtable stalwart, Fr. Bill Byron, wrote an article in America magazine.  Fr. Tom Sweetser, a collaborator with the Roundtable asked if he could publish the idea in his practical newsletter for parishes which we then posted in ChurchEpedia.org. Bishop David O'Connell of the Diocese of Trenton, NJ, read the article in America and invited Fr. Byron to conduct a study in his diocese that asked those who have left the Church why they did.  Fr. Byron worked with Roundtable member Chuck Zech to performed the study.  On March 23, 2012, the National Catholic Reporter reported on the study with the headline: Unusual study asks former Catholics why they left the Church.  You can read the article here.

Mr Bossidy's first proposal was to ask why Catholics were leaving.  He second proposal was "do something about it." So my question: what are you going to do to find out why Catholics are leaving the Church - in your parish, in your diocese?  And what are you going to do about it?  With over 300 members on this forum, is this not a question we should all have an answer to?

Views: 328

Comment by Michael Brough on April 2, 2012 at 3:54pm


This study has drawn a lot of attention with articles in Catholic and secular media outlets including: America, Pray Tell, The Times of TrentonUSA Today and CNN.  They all have comments too!  My question remains:  do you know why Catholics are leaving your parish?  What can you do about it?


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