From The Boston Globe:
The future of Catholicism in America rests heavily on the church’s ability to attract and retain young Hispanics whose connection to secular life is stronger than to the faith that sustained their parents, according to a new national study led by Boston College researchers.
The three-year study, which will be released Monday, said that failing to bring more young Hispanics into the church has broad consequences at a time when Latinos constitute 40 percent of all Catholics in the United States.
“The secularization of Hispanics is the biggest threat to the future of the Catholic Church in America,” said Hosffman Ospino, an assistant professor of theology and ministry at Boston College and lead author of the report. “We run the risk of losing a whole generation of Catholics.”
Just 3 percent of Hispanic Catholic children attend church schools and a declining number of Hispanics under age 30 attend Mass.
The report, titled “The National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry,” is the first national study to focus exclusively on Catholic parishes with Hispanic ministries, Ospino said. Through broad surveys and personal interviews, the researchers sought to document the scope of the Hispanic influx, which is responsible for 70 percent of the church’s growth since the 1960s.
“If it weren’t for the Hispanic influx, the Catholic Church in the US would be in major decline,” Ospino said.