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are rapidly growing in membership, and the Episcopal Church which is Catholic in its official standards though it contains a large proportion of protestant-minded people. Both of these bodies, however numerically insignificant today, will have to be reckoned with in the ultimate outcome. For our present purpose however, it is the Roman type of Catholicism which holds the field and affords the material available for analysis and comparison. Under the Protestant group would be included all those bodies which are usually thought of as legitimate heirs of the Reformation, leaving out of consideration as unimportant for our present purpose those congeries of petty modern sects commonly ranged under the Protestant name but which are really nondescript in their character and so defy classification.
It is evident that there is a philosophy of religion which may properly be designated as Catholic as there is one in a less positive degree which may be termed Protestant. The conflict is between these two opposing systems and only time can tell which shall ultimately dominate the religious thought and practice of America. Victory will rest with the group that can best adapt itself to its environment, in other words, with the system that in the long run can make the strongest appeal to the religious instinct of the human material upon which it has to work. Speaking in a broad sense it may be said that in the Catholic system the mystical and "other-worldly" elements predominate and in the Protestant the intellectual and the utilitarian. Of course this is only a broad generalization and is not necessarily true of individuals or groups belonging to either division which may well reverse the judgment in particular instances. This much at least may be said in favor of the Catholic ideal as opposed to the Protestant, namely, that it is the one consciously or unconsciously cherished by the vast majority of people in the world who can claim to have any religion at all.
To offer now some concrete considerations that tend to support the prediction that the future of religion in this country lies with the Catholic conception rather than with the Protestant. Statistics show that out of the one hundred and ten millions of the population only forty odd million are reported as having any definite religious affiliation. Of this number more than one third, or nearly one-half, if only the main Protestant bodies be considered, profess allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and
every census marks a decided advance over the former. Even to the casual observer who studies no statistics and is indifferent to the story they tell it is obvious that Catholics are fast outstripping Protestants, not merely in numbers and solidarity but in the strength and efficiency of their institutions and in their political influence. Catholics of the Roman type flourish in every community and present the spectacle of an united and devoted people. Their church edifices occupy the most commanding sites and are filled three or four times on Sundays, while many of the Protestant churches can hardly get a congregation once and in certain places are being abandoned and closed for lack of worshippers. Some of the Protestant bodies are actually diminishing in numbers or making only immaterial gains. None of them is keeping pace with the growth of the population. As for their Sunday schools the natural feeders of the Churches, it is the same story everywhere; the enrollment is less than it was ten or even twenty years ago and the official figures in no degree represent the actual attendance. Even churches otherwise prosperous report a scanty number of children and young people. It is obvious that Protestant parents are no longer concerned to see that their children shall receive regular religious instruction and are satisfied with such a modicum of moral and ethical teaching as is furnished in the secular schools, which designedly ignore religion. In this wide-spread attitude of indifference lies sure disaster to the Protestant cause. The children of Catholics on the other hand are sent to the parochial schools everywhere established and cheerfully supported by the parishioners. Their training in religion is a matter of daily routine and not confined as in the Protestant Sunday schools to a bare half-hour or so one day in the week. Thus the children of Catholics grow up with a definite bias in favor of their religion and continue to supply the Church with a steady stream of faithful worshippers.
The Protestant theological seminaries are half empty. However the fact may be explained fewer young men are annually qualifying for the work of the ministry. If the present scarcity of candidates continues half of the Protestant churches will be without qualified pastors in the next twenty years. We hear nothing said about a similar shortage of material among the Catholics. Common report has much to say about the desperate financial straits that prevail among the Protestant ministers and we read
of pastors abandoning their vocation because they do not get enough to enable them to support their families. We hear no complaints from the Catholic clergy on this score for these are rather in a position to dictate the emoluments of their office than compelled to cater to the laity to get their bread and butter.
The drift from the Protestant churches into the ranks of secularism is notoriously immense. Of the total number officially enrolled as members it is probably true to say that one-third to one-half pay little or no attention to their religious duties in the matter of church attendance or contributions of money. It is estimated that offerings for the support of the church average less than twenty-five cents weekly per enrolled member and some authorities assert that even this figure is too high. Of course there is also a drift away from the Catholics, though they suffer to a far less extent from the prevailing religious indifference and their gains from the Protestants more than make up for the losses thus sustained.
Perhaps the main point which favors the future of the Catholics as against the Protestants is one suggested by a study of the vital statistics, namely, the far greater fertility of the former. "Race-suicide" does not bother the Catholics-the rule, especially among the foreign element, being to raise large families. The old American Protestant stock is fast becoming sterile. The descendants of the original colonists and early settlers are rapidly diminishing. Even now they constitute numerically an inappreciable element in the community and fifty years hence if the decline continues specimens will be as rare as the dodo. This country will then be peopled mainly by descendants of the Slavs of Eastern Europe, Italians, Poles, Irish and Germans, with a sprinkling of Scandinavians, together with a mass of negroes and an ever-increasing number of Jews, the most prolific of races and the one whose assimilation seems most hopeless. It is highly improbable that many of these people will be persuaded to enter the Protestant churchs, for most of them will have affiliations with some form of Catholicism, Latin or Greek, and they will be shepherded with increasing vigilance. These would appear to be some of the self-evident reasons for believing in the decline of Protestantism and the corresponding increase of Catholicism. But there are also other facts and tendencies, not perhaps so obvious, which seem to point the same way.
It is not too much to say that Protestantism as a definite religious system, a spiritual ideal, has largely lost its raison d'étre and is rapidly disintegrating. It has ceased to be dogmatic or to care very much to preserve the basis upon which Christianity ultimately rests, namely, the supernatural. It is indisposed, if it does not regard it as injudicious, to enforce the old evangelical doctrines and many of its ministers are frank to admit that according to their view such have become increasingly incredible as the result of modern criticism and scholarship. Protestantism as such has no formal creed and this leaves the way open for the individual preacher to give his flock such pabulum as he thinks will agree with their taste and digestion. The Christian religion is primarilly concerned with the mystical relations of man to his Maker as set forth in such doctrines as the Incarnation and the Atonement, fittingly symbolized in objective worship and made vital by the sacraments. For these Protestantism has substituted subjective devotions, prayer-meetings, sentimental hymns and sermons in which moral teaching and a vague philanthropy constitute the main themes. It reserves its severest anathemas not for heresy or even sin and worldliness but for such extraneous matters as the traffic in alcoholic beverages and what is euphemistically termed the "Desecration of the Sabbath." Protestantism began with a protest and it looks as though it would end with one. Its most characteristic development is the Y. M. C. A. and its female counterpart. These directly compete with the churches by offering opportunities for Bible study and meetings for prayer and hymn-singing with addresses and lectures on moral themes. Emphasis is laid on decent behaviour and counsels are given how to get on in the world by self-improvement and thrift. In addition facilities are afforded for indulging in athletics and bathing, to which in some cases the bait of cheap lodging and cheap food is added. Doubtless these associations have their proper place in the life of the community, but they are a poor substitute for religion, though many who patronize them seem to suppose that they answer all the purposes of one. It has been said that the Y. M. C. A. secretary is the most influential Protestant minister in the community. Besides these and other quasi-religious institutions which usurp the function of the churches and suck the life-blood out of them there are the innumerable secret societies and lodges which, while not claiming
to possess a religious character, yet offer many elements found in the churches, including a ritual and a liturgy. In addition they provide a social fellowship of a selected nature and opportunities for the practice of philanthropy chiefly among their own number. These organizations are largely regarded by their members as affording a sufficient field for the exercise of their religious aspirations and enlist the support and enthusiasm which would otherwise go to the churches.
Whatever guilds, fraternities or associations Catholics may be interested in exist only with the consent and sanction of the Church and are under its supervision, thus directly serving the Catholic cause. The Church is exceedingly jealous of any organization from which its influence is excluded.
Protestantism has in the past tended to represent the religion of the monied classes and those in natural alliance with them. Its pulpits have been quick to defend class-privilege and the socalled "sacred rights of capital" and hence have earned for it the distrust and even the positive dislike of the masses. As the democratic spirit becomes more dominant this feeling will be even more apparent than it is today. On the other hand the Catholic Church has ever claimed, and largely justifies the boast, that it is the advocate and defender of the poor and lowly as against injustice and wrong, and, except in the case of unbelievers, socialists and lawbreakers with whom it refuses to make any terms, has uniformly gained and held their loyalty and devotion. Catholicism is indeed the religion of the poets, the mystics and the saints, but it is even more the religion of the wage-earners, the day-laborers, the domestic servants and the small traders, and this fact constitutes one of its chief titles to respect and the guarantee of its permanence, for the vast majority of Christians in all ages have been poor and humble folk.
To sum up and conclude: It would seem that Christianity as historically understood must continue to base its claims to acceptance upon supernatural sanctions, otherwise it will perish or become something else, which would be not a religion but a welfare association, a philosophy or a code of ethics. Hence it follows that that system which represents the oldest traditions and remains true to the original type has the best chance of ultimate survival. Certainly those who are predisposed to regard the Christian religion as being primarily a divine revelation given