Surprise: most Irish-Americans are not Catholic

Details, from Religion News Service:  In the American imagination, to be Irish is to be Catholic. The data, however, is clear: most Irish-Americans are not Catholic, and Irish-Americans make up a minority of Catholics in America. Nearly half of Irish-Americans are Protestant; a third are Catholic. The proportions are more equal (roughly 40 percent each) between [Read More...]

Poll: one in five Americans says religion “not that important”

From NBC:  One in five Americans say religion does not play an important role in their lives, a new NBC/WSJ journal poll shows – the highest percentage since the poll began asking participants about their focus on faith in 1997. Twenty one percent of respondents said that religion is “not that important” to their lives, [Read More...]

RIP, Ned O’Gorman

This news broke while I was away this weekend. Ned O’Gorman represents part of a dying breed of social justice Catholics from the generation that counted among its heroes and contemporaries visionaries like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. I learned this morning that his funeral will be held tonight at St. Paul the Apostle, the [Read More...]

Boom: this Easter, Archdiocese of Washington to bring in largest group of new Catholics ever

Great news: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, addressed those gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion today that they came together to bear witness to “the desire of so many here to complete their journey that brings them into [Read More...]

Millennials: unattached to everything, including religion

From a new Pew study: The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future. They are also America’s [Read More...]

What does it mean to be “Catholic”?

Author Peter Manseau looks at that question in The New York Times:  Even as the pope appears to be opening a big tent, others in the church hierarchy ensure that it will not expand too far. Last July, in response to a question about gay priests, Francis famously uttered one of the lines that set [Read More...]

Boom: young Texas diocese has grown nearly 70% in a decade

Details:  Whether it’s the charitable acts of Pope Francis, the church’s emphasis on family or the promotion of worldwide unity, Bishop Plácido Rodriguez of the Lubbock Diocese believes there’s a lot to love about the Roman Catholic faith. A recent study released by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University revealed [Read More...]

Japanese bishops respond to Vatican survey, saying Church “often falls short”

From NCR:  Japan’s bishops have publicly responded to a Vatican survey of global Catholics’ views on family issues, stating bluntly that church teachings are not known in their country and the Vatican’s Europe-centric view hampers efforts at evangelization in places where Catholics represent a small minority of the population. In a sometimes pointed 15-page report [Read More...]

New York bishops release pastoral letter on mental illness

From Zenit: The bishops of New York State have published a pastoral letter regarding people who suffer mental illness. The letter, titled, ‘For I am Lonely and Afflicted’: Toward a Just Response to the Needs of Mentally Ill Persons,” recalls the example of Jesus, saying, “we must reject the twin temptations of stereotype and fear, [Read More...]

Why are Americans more religious than Europeans?

Good question. One answer, from writer E. Brooks Holifield:  Many Western Europeans think of Americans as hopelessly, bafflingly, and dangerously, religious. Many Americans think of Western Europeans as distressingly, inexplicably, and unrelentingly, secular. In 2009, the German sociologist Hans Joas observed that “it is widely accepted that the United States is far more religious than [Read More...]