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Minnesota Catholic Bishop says 30% of Americans being non-religious is his ‘number one concern’ as a clergyman

U.S. Catholic Bishop Robert Barron said he is “very concerned” about a new poll showing that 30% of Americans no longer identify with any religion.

The prominent theologian and leader of the Winona-Rochester diocese in Minnesota told Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier on Friday that he finds this number “staggering” after watching it slowly grow from 3% from when he was a child, to ten times that number in recent years. 

“This number was about 3% when I was a kid, back in the 1970s. So during the last few years, it’s been a precipitous increase in disaffiliation,” he said, adding, “So yeah I would say, as a churchman, it’s our number one concern.”

ALUMNI AND STUDENTS OF CATHOLIC ALL-GIRLS COLLEGE CHEER BIOLOGICAL MEN POLICY REVERSAL

The recent numbers come from a new survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll results among young people are more dramatic. 

Baier mentioned those stats, saying, “You look at some of these polls dealing with young people – 18 to 29 religious affiliation – Christians as 52%, None at 43%, other religions at 4%.”

The host then brought up Barron’s recent Christmas-themed article published in National Review, titled, “What the Christ Child says to the ‘Nones,’” and asked him about the message he was trying to send to this growing contingent of religiously unidentified people. 

Barron explained how he was trying to address people who have left religion because of their perception it’s irrational or contrary to science. 

“When you look at the polls, a major reason people disaffiliate, they say religion is irrational, religion is opposed to science. And there are a lot of reasons now for this problem. One is, we tended to dumb down our own presentation of the faith, precisely at a time when the colleges and universities were consistently presenting a very materialist, secularist view of the world.”

“That combination, I think, was deadly for a lot of people,” he added, also mentioning that most Americans in the 1950s had a biblical worldview.

‘SEINFELD’ HOLIDAY FESTIVUS IS FOR EVERYONE THIS YEAR

The Bishop noted that his piece was about reminding readers that Christ “becomes a child, becomes one of us” at Christmas, not as just another “being in the world competing with nature,” or “one cause among many,” but because he is “the reason why there is anything at all.”

He continued, “So if we look deeply at the truth of Christmas, we find this transcendent and non-competitive God, and that’s I think a source of solving a lot of this problem of conflict with science and religion.”

The two men then discussed how the beauty and joy of the Christmas season can help bring “nones” back around to religions. 

Bishop Barron referenced U2 singer Bono, saying, “I think of Bono, the lead singer of U2, said, he just sees the poetic appropriateness of the creator of the universe becoming a baby born in straw poverty. And that’s beguiled the minds and hearts of artists, and poets and songwriters over the centuries – is the very beauty of Christmas that can draw people in.”

“Once they’re drawn in by the beauty of it, then we can look more deeply at the truth and goodness of it.”

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