More and more people have disassociated themselves from a specific church and many have no religious affiliaiton at all. When I attend mass or listen to people in other parishes, they all seem to say that mass attendance in general is down. There are some who attend on a somewhat regular basis and some who are seen only once in great while. Many have stopped attending altogether. I can’t speak for why people have dropped out of organized religion. Maybe the fact that it is considered organized is the issue. We tend to like things our way and on our time.
I actually like the idea of an organized belief system. One of the chief reasons I am Catholic is that it is based on a true foundation. Christ came and founded one faith. He prayed that all may be one. He established one church on earth and he placed people in charge of the church. They weren’t set apart to create a faith but were given the responsibility to protect and preserve it.
The first Apostles and early disciples went out and preached the good news of Christ. They did not establish thier own churches according to their own interpretations and beliefs. They preserved the teachings of Christ from those who were chosen to follow him and learn from him. The same apostles who were in the upper room with Mary and at Pentecost were empowered with the Holy Spirit to fill them with knowledge and wisdom and give them the grace to preach the gospel and persevere even when persecuted.
After many years, a few of them began to write down some of the teachings, stories, letters and events from before the birth of Christ, His life, death and resurrection and on to the birth of the early Church and the journeys of first disciples. But before that, and for several hundred years before the first Bible was established, the early Church was maintained through traditon. There were no written set of laws established.
The Bible itself was compiled by the Catholic Church in the 4th century using the books that would become the Old Testament and reviewing and evaluating the new manuscripts that became the New Testament. The Church reviewed many writings and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit to know which books should be included and which were rejected. It wasn’t an individual or group of people deciding if they agreed or disagreed with a teaching. Everything was evaluated in the light of Christ’s teachings.
The Church itself is filled with imperfect human beings. There have been and always will be wrongdoing and mistakes due to mans’ sinful nature. But the Church itself in its teaching will never be lead into error because Christ Himself promised that the gates of hell will not prevail.
I am not perfect or holy in the way I should be. I strive to be those things but fail repeatedly and may be judged as a hypocrite because of that. But that is my failure as an individual on my journey on earth trying to grow spiritually while fighting to escape the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil.
But one thing I do know is that Christ established a Church based on His teachings, set up individuals to protect and preserve it. I base my salvation on the original teachings of Christ. I do not reject or create new teachings based on modern thought, desires or individuals.