Our Sunday Visitor Weekly published on August 27, 2016, an article titled, “Young people are leaving the faith. Here's why: Many youths and young adults who have left the Church point to their belief that there is a disconnect between science and religion.” The article was based on two national studies done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The article said:
The interviews with youth and young adults who had left the Catholic Faith revealed that the typical age for this decision to leave was made at 13. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed, 63 percent said they stopped being Catholic between the ages of 10 and 17. Another 23 percent say they left the Faith before the age of 10. Those who leave are just as likely to be male as they are female, and their demographics generally mirror those of all young Catholics their age. So why are they leaving?
According to the article they are leaving because of “science.” The “disconnect between science and religion” means that the materialist explanation of origins resulting from cosmic and biological evolution taught in school destroys belief in the Bible and the supernaturalism upon which Catholicism depends. G. K. Chesterton wrote that “When men cease to believe in God, they do not then believe in nothing, they believe in anything.” What do Catholic youth believe in? The preeminent social researcher on the religious knowledge and attitudes of American youths is Christian Smith, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame.
Smith has been tracking and personally interviewing various huge cohorts of U.S. youth for over two decades, thanks to a grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation. Smith himself is a convert and in his first book, Soul Searching, he devoted a chapter to the fact that of all Christian youth he interviewed it was the Catholics who were least likely to articulate what their Faith was. Smith has asserted that the dominant faith American youngsters hold is what he calls Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). MTD is "colonizing" Catholicism itself, as this new “pop culture” religion seduces converts who never have to leave their Christian identification as they embrace this new faith and all of its undemanding dimensions. People can even remain affiliated with
their parents’ religion while believing nothing of it.