The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Poll: more young Hispanics not Catholic

Some interesting findings — and troubling ones, too — in this report:

A name like Maria or Jose isn’t a solid clue anymore that the person who answers to it will worship in a Catholic church on Sundays.

An Associated Press-Univision poll finds that younger Latinos, as well as those who speak more English than Spanish, are much less likely to identify as Catholics than older Hispanics who mostly speak Spanish.

The poll of 1,500 Latino adults also found significant divisions on social issues such as same-sex unions and abortion, along lines of age, language and whether one is Catholic or Protestant.


It’s been more than a year since Melissa Solis went to Mass. An executive assistant at a New York financial firm, she was raised by a pious Catholic mother but calls herself “nonpracticing.”

“There is peace in the house of God for me, but there is also inner peace,” said Solis, 35. “I do believe there is a God, and that has helped me through tough times. But you can practice your religion in your home, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a building labeled the ‘house of God.'”

Overall, 62 percent of Hispanics identify as Catholic, but that includes only 55 percent of young adults 18 to 29, compared with 80 percent of elders 65 and over.

Catholicism is the primary religion in the ancestral countries of U.S. Latinos. Spanish missionaries brought the faith to what is now Florida and the American Southwest more than 400 years ago. But in the United States these days, religious sentiment seems to be keener among Latino Protestants than their Catholic counterparts.

Read more at the link.

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posted August 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm

For the last several years – one need only refer to several hundred comments made on this and other beliefnet blogs – the following three statements have been made continuously:
One can not be a Christian and vote for any party other than the Republican.
Hispanics (actually, we are talking about ethnic Mexican-Americans) always are socially conservative and always Catholic.
The Catholic church does and can only support the Republican party.
Well, this concantation of disparate elements was made without considering one teeny, tiny detail: Vice Jan Brewer, John Boehner and the Republican party in general, Hispanics (especially ethnic Mexican-Americans) would be totally nuts to vote Republican. They entwining of the Catholic church and the Republican party, however, is inextricably linked, now, for everyone.
For every Deacon Kandra, there are thousands of people who have other views on what Christ called us, as Christians to do – one need only look at a few of the current threads on beliefnet to see that.
What did Goethe say? „Die ich rief, die Geister, / Werd’ ich nun nicht los.“ That sums it up quite nicely and also quite appallingly.
It is time to rethink the culture wars.

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posted August 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

“The Catholic church does and can only support the Republican party.”
An accusation without foundation. Panthera, your links of the Republican Party to the Catholic Church are getting quite annoying!
P.S. We don’t put our salvation in partisan politics.

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Mike L

posted August 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm

I don’t know about the Church as a whole, given it is much larger than just the American branch, but it seems pretty obvious to me that the US bishops are pretty solidly attached to the Republican Party. At the same times the Democrats seem to be linked by the more conservative with sin by the same bishops.

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posted August 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm

It seems that the younger Hispanics are doing what many other young RC’s are doing, questioning what they have been taught regarding the faith. (I expect other denominations have those among the young that question their religious training also, at a certain age). The young woman in the article has found that going to Mass isn’t a requirement for her to continue to believe in God. Though not mentioned in the article, I wonder if indeed the abuse scandal has had anything to do with their decision to disassociate with the RCC. The article mentions that there are disagreements among the young on social issues too. Very interesting. Apparently to many young Hispanics the RCC isn’t the one true church.

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david shelton

posted August 10, 2010 at 8:54 pm

how can you be a non praticing catholic and still be cathloic? a belief in god is not necessarily christian. solis was raised by both her mother and the educational system. capitalism is mostly a protestant ideal. most of the wealthy free world was protestant where as most of the third world lived under some form of orthdoxy. this difference in world views keeps us apart. what is important: is our constitution. we all have freedom of religion but we have only one constitution.

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posted August 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm

romancrusader, honestly, do you really want me to publish the recommendations of the American Roman Catholic bishops over the last years on voting?
By now, you should know better than to assume I am making such things up out of whole cloth.
The attached link is not offered as proof, merely an interesting statement.
What is relevant here is not the Republican party, per se, rather the indisputable turning away, in droves, of Hispanic voters from that party because of their politics. It would be very strange indeed – especially in light of the outpouring of contempt for undocumented Hispanics from a non-zero number of conservative Christians, as we have seen here on beliefnet these last weeks, if there were to be no association in the minds of Hispanics between the Roman Catholic church and the Republican party.
Try to stay focused on the topic at hand, romancrusader, please. By now, I doubt there is anyone here who is not well aware of your special affection for me.

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posted August 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Why would I waist my time believing your rediculous conspirist theories?! Seriously, you need to get a life!
“By now, you should know better than to assume I am making such things up out of whole cloth.”
That’s just stupid! You don’t even know what an assumption is. The Catholic Church urges voters to vote according their conscience only. And just because we say that abortion is a greater evil than the death penalty does not mean we endorse the Republican Party.
“Try to stay focused on the topic at hand, romancrusader, please. By now, I doubt there is anyone here who is not well aware of your special affection for me.”
You started it by stating and I qoute:
“The Catholic church does and can only support the Republican party.”

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posted August 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Let’s stop for a minute and consider. Obviously, we are annoying the Deacon and everybody else with our disagreements.
Klaire and I have disagreed and agreed on various topics for years (we agree that torture is bad, for instance, and that put us at odds with a non-zero number of conservative Christians here a while back.) Frankly, we are both quite adamant in stating our views – and yet, I’d trust her with my dogs.
The same goes for Gerard. We disagree on pretty much the same topics as do you and I – and, yet, he has managed to not once cause Deacon Kandra to shut a thread down.
Please, let’s see if we can find a way to disagree here without driving everyone to wish a pox on both our houses.

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posted August 11, 2010 at 12:14 am

I detect a sort of “wannabe american” trend in these young people. Typically, they’re in their 20’s (sometimes they’re younger,though), they’re VERY, EXTREMELY ashamed of their latin culture (which is a real pity), they ONLY speak english (even when they’re at home with their spanish-speaking family and their parents speak to them in spanish). After a very poor catechesis, they got introduced to protestantism when they were teens. If that’s not the case, then they became atheists after the “abuse scandals” and the lack of catholic christian formation. That’s the real deal with these people. They don’t know their faith,hence, they leave. FYI, I’m not putting everyone in the same bag, but this fact is undenyable. And it’s ironic: hispanics who don’t really know their faith are becoming protestant and americans who know their faith perfectly well are becoming catholic.

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posted August 11, 2010 at 8:30 am

We the in Church have failed to evangelize, not just young Hispanics but all Hispanics. Our Church in Mexico for example is marginal now. Mexico is not the deeply religious, catholic, colorful country you see portrayed in Hollywood movies, with the old dusty towns and the ladies dressed in “rebozos” shawls. Mexico today is a secularized country, where the Catholic faith does not play an important part of most people’s lives. Santa Muerte, the bandit “saint” Valverde and other superstitions have taken hold of the popular devotion. Violence, murder, assault, kidnap and many other heinous forms of crime are routine. Education is completely secular except for the religious schools and these (having experienced it) are hardly any more pious than a regular secular school.
We in the Church have failed to be “salt” for the earth and our light has not been shining on a hill. Hispanics, like every one else need evangelization and we Catholics bear the responsibility, along with our bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people, for not having permeated the culture and witnessed the name of Christ.
OF course there are many good evangelizers; bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people. But overall, the Church in Mexico in particular has failed to maintain a Christian culture. Of the 80% of Mexicans who call themselves Catholics, probably only 20 % are practicing their faith regularly.

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posted August 11, 2010 at 11:43 am

Evangelicals have made great inroads among the Hispanic community both here and abroad. I think the more on-fire-for-the-Lord style of Evangelical churches appeals to the Latino cultural personality, if you will. HUGE generalization, I know, but having grown up in a heavily Latino neighborhood, I sort of understand why younger Hispanic Catholics wouldn’t really relate to the mind-numbingly bland post-VII Catholicism.
I also have to say that most of my friends were Hispanic, and, from my personal experience, I can attest to the fact that their Catholic parents were also openly practicing Santeria at the same time, so I don’t know about that deeply Catholic thing — Hispanics tend to mix their Catholicism with a hefty dose of local tradition and superstition. That, too, could be a reson why younger Hispanics end up rolling their eyes at it all.
Yes, I know — HUGE, huge, gigantic generalizations, and not at all meant in a mean spirited way — just my personal perspective after having grown up in Jackson Hts. — you kinda had to be there, is all.

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posted August 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm

We don’t evangelize well because practically all of our energy is directed toward maintaining the elite caste of the clergy

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posted August 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I pray for our clergy, I pray that they may be given a spirit of holiness and understanding, for strength in their work, for courage to live a dedicated life for Christ. I pray for those in the clergy who have hurt the Catholic community, that they may find repentance and peace. I pray for our Bishops, Priests, Deacons and religious and specially for our Holy Father the Pope.
I also pray that we as Catholic find the humility to accept our bishops and priests as our pastors and guides and to accept the Church judgement in matters of faith and morals. Humility to accept and to love.
Although cinxvily

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posted August 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

My parish has a choir from the Spanish Mass made up almost entirely of teenagers. They were invited to join forces with the Adult Choir for our principal Mass on our patronal feast a couple weeks back, so they led the people in some catchy Spanish songs with an electric guitars and pre-recorded drum beats. I later discovered these songs are also used in Pentecostal churches, but with Catholic verses added, e.g. “viva Maria, viva iglesia, etc.”
These kids had no accents and spoke perfect English, yet they found their niche as musicians in the Spanish Mass. A cultural attachment to that of their immigrant parents remains (like the ethnic parishes established in the past)–but they are using music from their counterparts who’ve already jumped the ship into Pentecostal waters. Maybe this is one of the ways to bring people back into the faith?

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