Dog collarAfter I read the anecdote on Baroness Doherty’s Madonna House, I happened upon another article on the same Catholic site, this time concerning exit interviews for departing Catholics.

I thought that the article from 2011 by the Revd William J Byron S.J. — a Jesuit — would be riveting reading. However, Catholics severing their ties with Holy Mother Church would find little to surprise them in the comments.

It’s interesting that Fr Byron’s spur for the survey came via a captain of industry (page 1 of the essay):

Ever since Larry Bossidy, a former C.E.O. of Allied Signal and the Honeywell Corporation, raised the question of conducting interviews with lapsed Catholics, I have been giving it a lot of thought. Mr. Bossidy is a devout Catholic and the co-author (with Ram Charan) of a bestselling book, Execution, which Bossidy likes to explain is about effective management in business, not about capital punishment. He addressed a meeting of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management a couple of years ago and pointed out that if businesses were losing customers at the rate the Catholic Church in the United States is losing members, someone would surely be conducting exit interviews. His observation was prompted by data on declining church attendance released by the Pew Research Center.

Byron puzzled over this and featured the topic in a column he writes. Catholics and ex-Catholics did not hold back. Many wondered why the Vatican hasn’t seen any problem with the Church and liturgy post-Vatican II.

It amazes me — an ex-Catholic — that a priest wouldn’t wonder why people are leaving. The answers are many and, sadly, painfully obvious. At least to laymen.

One retired military man was blunt with Byron:

I only go to Mass to punch my ‘stay-out-of-hell-for-another-week’ card. I don’t celebrate the Mass; I endure it.

I know what he means only too well. Vatican II and its aftermath carry the Devil’s signature.

Sadly, Byron — a member of the most legendary and powerful religious order of all time — feigns helplessness at feeding back to the Vatican the negative information he has informally collected:

I just wish I could improve the organizational acoustics in the church so that leaders could hear what the people of God want to say.

Really? Hmm. I wonder.

I wonder because a book of his came out around the same time as his survey article. What do you think it is about? A book on the Gospel? A book on understanding the Mass? An introduction to the Catholic Church?


It is called Next-Generation Leadership: A Toolkit for Teens, Twenties & Thirties, Who Want to be Successful Leaders (University of Scranton Press).

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:21)