Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Monday, February 8, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Novena of Grace 2016

Home : News : Nation and World
Studies point to possible pitfalls as church becomes more Hispanic
Catholic News Service photo
Latino children take part in a cultural celebration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage, Alaska, May 1 last year. An estimated 30,000 Hispanics live in the Anchorage metropolitan area and on Kodiak Island.
Catholic News Service photo
Latino children take part in a cultural celebration at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage, Alaska, May 1 last year. An estimated 30,000 Hispanics live in the Anchorage metropolitan area and on Kodiak Island.
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Two reports on Latinos and religion released the first week of May paint a picture of the U.S. Catholic Church at a potentially precarious point with its fastest-growing demographic.

One risk: Hispanics will soon constitute a majority of the U.S. church, but the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry suggests outreach to that population has not kept up with the growth.

Another risk highlighted by a Pew Research Center report on Latinos and religious practice is a 12 percent drop in just four years in the number of Latinos who describe themselves as Catholic. In 2010, 67 percent of U.S. Hispanics told Pew they were Catholic, while in 2013, 55 percent said they were Catholic.

"We need to get our act together as a church," said the parish studies' principal author, Hosffman Ospino, Boston College assistant professor of theology and ministry, in a May 6 interview with Catholic News Service. While he repeatedly described the shifting demographics as an exciting time, he said the church must stop thinking of different groups as "them."

"We need to come to terms with our diversity," he said. "The Catholic Church needs to start thinking of whatever happens to Latinos not as a 'Latino issue' but as something that happens to all of us."

The study of 5,100 Latinos for Pew, interviewed in summer of 2013, found about 24 percent consider themselves "former" Catholics. The largest declines came among foreign-born Latinos who are Catholic -- down by 15 percent in four years -- and people under 50, with declines of 14 and 15 percent for the age brackets 30-49 and 18-29, respectively.

By comparison, Pew found net gains in the number of Latinos who describe  themselves as Protestant, up by 8 percent, or "unaffiliated," up by 10 percent. The reason cited most frequently for leaving the Catholic Church, especially among those who are not affiliated with a church, was that they "just drifted away."

The Catholic parishes study, conducted by Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, found that Hispanic ministry offerings aren't keeping up with the rate at which Latinos are becoming the majority in the U.S. church.

Hispanics account for 40 percent of all U.S. Catholics, and 55 percent of Catholics under the age of 30. The Boston College report counted just under a quarter of U.S. parishes as providing some sort of ministry to Hispanics, whether an organized program or Masses in Spanish.

In an interview about the implications of the data, Ospino said that with Hispanics accounting for 55 percent of all U.S. Catholics under age 30, the time is past for treating Hispanics as a subgroup.

"We need to shift the language," he said. "In many parts of the country to speak about Hispanic Catholics is to speak about the majority of the church." Given that, he called it shocking that only a quarter of parishes have some kind of ministry directed at the population.

He referenced one archdiocese with 300,000 Latinos and just 40 parishes offering any kind of ministry to Hispanics. That raises the questions: "Is that enough? Are we ghettoizing people?" he asked.

Ospino said he gets the sense that the assumption among parts of the largely white Catholic population is that Latinos will mimic previous generations of immigrants from Europe, who assimilated into the existing Catholic culture.

But the majority of the U.S. Hispanic population is already several generations beyond "immigrant," Ospino noted, and many come from families whose roots in what is now the United States predate the border with Mexico that was established in the 19th century.

Instead of expecting assimilation, Catholics ought to be thinking of the shift to a majority Hispanic church as "an opportunity to be Catholic in new ways," Ospino said, with no culture necessarily dominant over others. "It's naive to think either part is going to assimilate into the other."

The alternatives available to people who don't readily find a home in a Catholic parish worries some, as was noted at an event hosted by Boston College to launch its study May 5. Conversation for a while centered around the observation that today there are many options for people who start out as Catholics but who might feel unwelcome in a Catholic parish and, as the Pew study suggests, go to another denomination or leave religion altogether.

Data released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops shows about 15 percent of the 477 men being ordained priests in the U.S. this year are Hispanic, representing less than half the percentage of Hispanics in the church, although it shows a gradual increase in recent decades.

Ospino said he was optimistic about the U.S. church remaining strong with its new majority of Hispanics. He said part of the gap in what ministry is available lies simply in the youth of the Hispanic population.

"We're not going to see a huge upsurge in the number of people in leadership for 20 years," simply for reasons of age, he said, adding that now is the time to invest in resources to train the next generation of leaders.

That means a sense of solidarity is necessary, said Ospino, particularly in terms of financial support for the developing population by the more-established parts of the church.

"From the middle to the end of the 20th century, the U.S. Catholic Church thrived as a middle-class church," he said. From a largely immigrant church in the previous century, its members came to have financial and political clout as strong as the predominant Protestant culture of previous centuries, Ospino said.

Now, the Hispanic population is still developing the widespread level of education that leads to financial and political power. It's coming, he said, but in the meantime there are two choices: "Either the more established community extends a hand in solidarity and lifts up the Hispanic church ... or this gap keeps growing, with the wealthy, mostly white Catholic Church shrinking, in fact it might disappear."

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved