Adolescence is a critical time in religious development and, as the poll shows, what happens in the teen years has a long-lasting affect. We have to help young people and their parents appreciate the importance of going to weekly Mass so teenagers know Jesus is there for them now and always.That quote and this graphic really struck me.
My initial thoughts were that the three factors above made no difference, statistically speaking, in whether one stayed Catholic or not. So, I asked a friend who has a Ph.D. in statistics, who I run all stat questions by, to look at my conclusion. He wrote me back and said:
Here’s my stat answer: not exactly.The best conclusion from this study might then be that raising your kids "Catholic" means more than dropping them off at RE and sending them to a Catholic school. We have to truly "hand on" the faith in the family. We have to live it, breathe it, pray it, talk about it, reflect it, and enflesh it.
I tried to extract the raw numbers, and it would have been nice to be able to disentangle the overlaps (i.e. if someone had two or more of the formation categories), consequently I can’t examine all three factors simultaneously. Apart from that, here’s what I see from the data:
I didn’t look into the source material. I don’t suspect there are school quality measures or anything else to reflect differences among Catholic schools.
- There are no significant pair wise differences in retention rates for Catholics who attended either RE or youth groups.
- There is a significant pair wise difference in retention rates for those who attended Catholic high school. Approximately 1 out of 3 students remained Catholic if they attended Catholic high school, compared to slightly over 1 in 4 of those who did not. To put another way, a person who was Catholic and attended a Catholic high school is 33% more likely to remain Catholic.
God does the rest. But, we probably already knew that.