The Catholic Church continues to wrestle with the idea of homosexual unions and the ordination of females. To get a realistic preview of expectations resulting from these proposed changes, one needs to look no further than the nearest (in faith and practice) Western faith, the Church of England and the world Anglican Communion.
Anglicanism is declining faster than any other majority denomination. With the current rate of decline, it would be set to disappear from Britain by 2033. Ordination of women and inclusion of homosexual unions was hyped as the answer to that rapid decline. Despite that, over the period 1983 to 2014 (women first ordained in 1994), the Anglican population of the United Kingdom almost halved, falling from 16.5 million adherents to 8.6 million, from 40% of the British population to 15%. Between 2012 and 2014 alone, the proportion of Britons who described themselves as Anglicans fell from 21 to 17%, a loss of 1.7 million people in two years.
Attendance too has suffered substantially with 1,370,400 people in England being recorded as regular Anglican churchgoers in 1980. In 2015, there were only 660,000. Only 3% of adults under 24, and only 5% of British adults between the ages of 25-34, identify as Anglicans. Anglican Kathy Gyngell commented that a correlation between the rise in female clergy and the drop in Church attendance cannot be ignored.
“Having women bishops has become more important than dealing with declining church attendances – as though ‘gender equality’ was of spiritual significance. It is not. It is purely ideological and political.”Kathy Gyngell
The American branch of Anglicanism, the Episcopal Church, as of 2018, reported 1,676,349 baptized members in the United States, a drop of 120,602 members from two years prior in 2016. Total average Sunday attendance for 2018 was 533,206 in the U.S., a decrease of 24.7% percent from 2008 (with a decline of 53,237 persons in the pews between 2013 and 2016 alone.).
All of this is important for the members of the Catholic Church (which has shrunk in U.S. membership only 3% in 7 years but had increased in size worldwide to over 72 million while the Anglican communion steadily shrinks) to take note of as they struggle with the ideas of homosexuals unions and female ordination. History has shown, in the closest counterparts to the Roman church, that bowing to these issues does not and will not save the Church. In fact, the numbers strongly indicate that these factors contribute to a quicker decline.
There is no doubt that there remains much work to do in the way the Catholic Church; welcomes, includes, and interacts with genders, with sexual orientations, and with the plethora of colours of mankind in order to fulfill the mandate of extending the pure love of Christ. The proof, however; shows that bowing to political and ideological winds is not the way to move forward, but rather, is a crippling move.