Statistics in Canada show Catholics have Disaffiliated from the Church
According to Statistics Canada, Canada's national statistical office, there are 2 million people who have "disaffiliated" with the Catholic church. Given the string of scandals the church has faced in recent years, we are not shocked by these numbers.
From the latest round of revelations regarding abuse and murder at residential boarding schools to exposes of Canadian Church abuse cover-up, the issue of Catholic sex abuse has been much discussed in the past several years. The amplification of these horrors has no doubt been a leading factor in why Catholics in Canada are choosing to walk away from the church. Simply put, the institution is a dangerous place for children and an increasing source of worry for parents.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis went to visit Canada to issue an apology for the historical abuse and neglect of Indigenous children at Catholic Church-run residential schools. But as these data show, a mere apology isn’t going to reverse the trend of Catholics leaving the church for safer pastures. If the church wants to stem the bleeding, they should join the chorus of voices pleading for a national-level investigation that will examine, from an independent and secular perspective, the true scope and context of clergy abuse in the nation. Until such an investigation is carried out, we expect more and more parents to join in this latest exodus.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)