The Deacon's Bench

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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