Terry Mattingly profiles the confession “problem” at Aggie Catholic, and its campus ministry director, Marcel LeJeune. What do you make of this assessment:
But the statistic LeJeune stresses is that nearly 80 percent of Catholics who leave the church do so by age 23. In other words, he thinks that if Catholics are serious about influencing young people before they join the growing ranks of the so-called “Nones” – the religiously unaffiliated – they must invest more time and resources into campus ministries.
His 80% might be an accurate citation. But it would be my experience in mainstream parishes, even ones with schools, that we’ve lost two-thirds of the baptized by the day after First Communion. Numbers fritter away from there. Four out of five might be close to the defection rate by the beginning of the college years.
The campus ministry at Texas A&M University raises its re$ource$ by the eight-figures. There is something to be said about raising millions to build structures and supply a staff of dozens.
I don’t think pouring time and resources into Catholic schools will quite accomplish a stemming of the tide either. How to overcome apathy, parental indifference, and parishes unfriendly to youth and discipleship: that’s the issue.