Archbishop Timothy Dolan, newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein in a recent interview that one of his top priorities will be to reach out to the tens of millions of disaffected Catholics in the U.S. population.
I was particularly interested to hear that because when I recently wrote about the phenomenon in a piece headlined "The 'had it' Catholics" -- former Catholics, if considered as a group, would make up the second largest denomination in the country -- I called the USCCB to ask if anyone was tracking or investigating the development. The answer: No one was looking into it.
In the recent interview, Dolan cited recent studies showing that only half of young Catholics marry in the church and that weekly Mass attendance has dropped from a high of 78 percent during the 1960s to 35 percent today.
He expressed urgency in finding out what he can do to help people return to the church.