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are Latino, but just over half (55 percent) of Latino adults here are Catholics.Among Hispanics ages eighteen to twenty-nine, just 45 percent are Catholic, and that number could keep dropping as they age: Almost four in ten of these young adults say they “could imagine leaving the Catholic Church someday.” These are among the more striking numbers from the latest report of the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.
S., Christian Smith and his colleagues write in that “in most instances, within the Hispanic Catholic population, we saw a move from more practices and traditional beliefs to fewer practices and traditional beliefs as the emerging adults are generationally removed from immigration.” That is, young Hispanics whose families have lived in the United States a longer time are less likely to practice and affirm the Catholic faith than those who have recently immigrated.However power struggles within churches remained, though their basis shifted from ethnicity to race with whites dominating positions of power.This is the necessary context for understanding how the contemporary Catholic Church responds to Latinos who remain a minority both in congregations and in Church leadership positions.The American Catholic Church is in crisis with the highest rate of believers leaving the faith of any denomination (for every one convert, six others leave the Church).The steady growth of the Latino population is the only thing that has kept the Church from near collapse: Latinos are responsible for 76% of Catholic growth in this country since 1975 and now constitute 40% of the American Catholic population. Close to one in four Latinos were raised Catholic but have since become (for the most part) Protestant or unaffiliated.
Catholics are Latino, Catholics account for a declining share of the country’s Latinos. As recently as 2010, that figure stood at two-thirds.
erhaps given Catholicism’s relatively deep roots in Spanish-speaking countries and its close links to many cultural practices, some Hispanic Americans experience the faith less as a relationship with God and more as an element of their ethnicity, to be expressed or set aside as they choose.
If this is the case, it’s not surprising that many Hispanics abandon Christianity entirely or leave Catholicism in search of thicker gruel.
(Four in ten Hispanic Catholics, but six in ten Protestants, attend church weekly, for instance.) Despite taking very different paths, ex-Catholic Protestants and ex-Catholic Nones seem to have left the Church for similar reasons.
“Gradually drift[ing] away” and ceasing to believe Catholic teachings are among the top factors for both groups on a list provided by Pew, and several less common factors influence the two at similar rates (moving to a new community, marrying someone of a different religion).
However Latinos are also leaving Catholicism in high numbers - one in four Latinos are former Catholics.