The faithful turn away, but prodigals are always welcome in the Catholic Church

under the Synod 2023 -which is an assembly or a consultative religious meeting, where the bishops, meeting with the Pope, exchanged information and experiences, with the common objective of seeking pastoral solutions that will have to be applied in the Church as a whole- the Holy Father called to address Questions of participation and openness to the mission under the motto: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, participation and mission”.

With a “Church on the way out that reaches the existential peripheries” as requested by His Holiness, a profound digital synodal process was carried out through “The Church listens to you” of the RIIAL project (Informatics Network of the Church in Latin America), Calling on influencers to develop research that helped to clearly detail the unmet needs of the faithful and the reasons why many have turned away from the Catholic Church.

This listening work carried out in 7 languages ​​in 115 countries, with a level of reach over the synod of 20 million people (measured by the followers of the 244 influential people summoned), yield forceful conclusions, among which are:

40% of distanced Catholics are faithful who participated at some point, but moved away or their faith cooled down, either because of Church decisions or lack of interest. Most of these agree in asserting that they would like to be closer to the Church, but feel that they are excluded. This group, if nothing is done to welcome it, will grow further and further away, even if it does not break with faith.

The work was developed in 7 languages ​​in 115 countries, with a level of reach over the synod of 20 million people (measured by the followers of the 244 influencers summoned).

Regarding the level of satisfaction, digital listening has reflected a lukewarm relationship of many Catholics with the Church at this time with 59% somewhat, little or not at all satisfied. Among the reasons that are expressed about why people move away, the main one corresponds to scandals in the Church due to pedophilia and corruption.

Secondly, because the Church does not respond to their concerns and priorities; others because they feel judged by it.

Also due to the lack of understanding with the people who make it up and the weight of other religions and their calls.

In addition, 81% think that the Church has to undertake a relevant update, and 32% think that, if it does not undertake it with a certain speed, it will be difficult for it to disappear.

The Catholic Church and the prodigal sons

The simple and courageous fact of starting the listening process through one of the marketing tools, such as research, shows a desire for change from the Catholic Church. The forceful results obtained will make it possible to generate the necessary changes so that the value proposition that the faithful need to approach and feel fully satisfied is generated.

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As a marketing expert, she accompanies this process with vocation and professionalism. As a faithful I feel proud to be part of this mission.

So, beyond the terminology: marketing or mission, and beyond the different roles: professional or faithful, I find a common point that is people, their needs and the search for favoring fullness In their lifes.

“Marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market” defines the so-called father of marketing, Philip Kotler. The challenge for marketers is to get to know those needs.often deep and unconscious, based on research in order to take that information for the development of the value proposition that generates the total satisfaction of its customers.

I understand that the contribution of the digital pastoral will be key on this new path of communion, participation and mission in the digital environment, building bridges of communication without prejudice and reaching out to new groups, with priests and bishops closer to us, with more participation of women and seeking to attract young people to a Church close, simple and humble.

So be it.

*Professor of Marketing in the Bachelor of Communication Sciences at USAL

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