Is Notre Dame Killing Catholicism?
Welcome to Fat Curry's mini-post series where I touch on a team and topic in 500 or less words. #ESKETIT
In June 2022, Gallup released a new poll indicating that Americans belief in God dipped to a new low of 81%. Gallup first asked this question in 1944 and repeated it throughout the 1950s and 1960s. 98% said they believed in God in those latter surveys. Fast-forward five decades to 2011 and 92% of Americans said they believed in God. Fast-forward an additional eleven years and it's dropped an additional 11%. And it doesn't stop there. According to recent Gallup polls, Catholic church attendance is dissipating quicker than a baker's dozen at Dunkin Donuts and fewer young Americans believe religion is a big part of their life (screenshots below):
So what's the reason behind the decline in Catholicism? Some argue it's the increase in government dependence while others argue it's the increasing proximity between daycares and local dioceses. Both arguments have merit but a clear answer comes to Daddy's mind and that is Notre Dame's relevancy in football. Notre Dame has won 11 claimed National Championships (1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1988). Pulling out my protractor and analyzing the above photos once more, there is a stronger correlation that Notre Dame's inability to compete at the highest level (contradictory to what their fair weather fans will tell you) has caused the precipitous decline in Catholicism in the U.S than there is James Franklin taking Penn State to the Outback Bowl every year he coaches them. It also doesn't help the prospect of future recruits dreaming about playing for your school when a former coach is Satan himself and another makes Fat Curry look like he just received bariatric surgery:
So what is Daddy's prediction about Notre Dame going forward? I think Notre Dame continues to decline in relevancy as generations phase out in America. The youth of today likely do not care about the Notre Dame of old, and I'd argue that a lot of that is due to the youth of today not being as Catholic. Notre Dame's main fan base is 1) 60-year olds who never went there but go to more weekly masses than ND wins playoff games, 2) girls who also didn't get into ND so they go to Saint Mary's across the street and 3) children in catholic grade schools who think they are getting into ND and won't. As a result of their existing fan base and lack of Catholicism among today's youth, I think Notre Dame struggles to recruit over the next 30 years (my lifespan) and never wins another championship. Long gone are the days where children named Rudy dream of slapping a poster before having The Ohio State sandbag you on national t.v. and drop 35 on your porous defense in the first half.