American Catholics in Transition
Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone from the Church
Changing Face of Catholic Parishes Surveys
Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership & CARA
In 2009, the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership project, a Lilly Endowment Inc. funded collaboration of five Catholic national ministerial organizations, commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct a series of three surveys in parishes nationwide to study the changing face of face of U.S. Catholic parishes. The results are found in the following two reports:
Hispanic Ministry in Catholic Parishes: Findings from the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry
Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D. (Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in collaboration with CARA, 2014)
This is the first time that a comprehensive national study focuses solely on Catholic parishes with Hispanic ministry. Hispanics in these parishes are largely Spanish-speaking. However, most of these communities also serve a growing body of English-speaking Hispanics and are typically shared with groups of non-Hispanic Catholics. Hispanic Catholics are about 40 percent of the approximately 78 million Catholics in the country, 25 percent of all Catholic parishes intentionally serve Hispanics. Catholic parishes with Hispanic ministry constitute a very important portion of the U.S. Catholic experience that needs to be better studied and understood. Considering current demographic trends and the steady growth and influence of Hispanic Catholicism, these communities also provide us with a glimpse of what U.S. Catholicism will likely be in vast regions of the country—at least during the first half of the twenty-first century. The study of these communities is an invitation for pastoral leaders, scholars, and organizations interested in supporting the U.S. Catholic experience to imagine a future together, investing and planning today with Hispanic Catholics.
Nones on the Rise: One in Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation (2012)
Pew Research Center, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. This large and growing group of Americans is less religious than the public at large on many conventional measures, including frequency of attendance at religious services and the degree of importance they attach to religion in their lives. However, many of the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way. Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%). More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58%), while more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37%), and one-in-five (21%) say they pray every day. In addition, most religiously unaffiliated Americans think that churches and other religious institutions benefit society by strengthening community bonds and aiding the poor. With few exceptions, though, the unaffiliated say they are not looking for a religion that would be right for them. Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.
Strong’ Catholic Identity at a Four-Decade Low in U.S.
Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life (2013)
The percentage of U.S. Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members of the Roman Catholic Church has never been lower than it was in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the General Social Survey (GSS). About a quarter (27%) of American Catholics called themselves “strong” Catholics last year, down more than 15 points since the mid-1980s and among the lowest levels seen in the 38 years since strength of religious identity was first measured in the GSS, a long-running national survey carried out by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago.
Research Articles & Podcasts
Catholics: Some of our Members Are Wandering Away!
R. Thomas Richard (Homiletics & Pastoral Review, February 3, 2014)
Hispanic Catholics: History, Challenges, & Recommendations
Antonio Medina-Rivera (Catechetical Leader, Volume 25, #3, May 2014)
Losing Our Religion: The Growth Of The 'Nones'
Heidi Glenn, National Public Radio (January 13, 2013)
Morning Edition explored the "nones" - Americans who say they don't identify with any religion - in January 2013. Demographers have given them this name because when asked to identify their religion, that's their answer: "none." In October, the Pew Research Center released a study, 'Nones' on the Rise, that takes a closer look at the 46 million people who answered none to the religion question in 2012. According to Pew, one-fifth of American adults have no religious affiliation, a trend that has for years been on the rise.
Podcast: More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?
National Public Radio (January 15, 2013)
One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don't belong to any religion. NPR's David Greene wanted to understand why, so he gathered a roundtable of young people at a synagogue in Washington, D.C. The 6th & I Historic Synagogue seemed like the right venue: It's both a holy and secular place that has everything from religious services to rock concerts. Greene speaks with six people — three young women and three young men — all struggling with the role of faith and religion in their lives.
William Clark, OMI (Homiletics & Pastoral Review, December 23, 2013)