Catholics in Congress

Despite a huge turnover of Catholic Democrats voted out or retiring after the last election cycle, the decrease in the number of Catholics in the House of Representatives will not be as great as expected because of the election of 33 new Catholic Republicans to the 112th Congress. With one House race still contested, the number of Catholics in Congress will be 149 or 150, compared with 162 in the 111th Congress. Catholics will now make up about 28 percent of the members of Congress, down from 30 percent. Both figures are still higher than the percentage of Catholics in the U.S. population, which is 24 percent. For the first time in recent memory, the number of Catholic Republicans in the House, 61, nearly equals the number of Catholic Democrats, at 64 or 65. That marks a dramatic shift since the last Congress convened two years ago with a Catholic House contingent of 98 Democrats and 38 Republicans. Catholic membership in the Senate, at 15, has remained relatively stable.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

In this photo taken May 19, 2017, a GPO worker stacks copies of "Analytical Perspectives Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2018" onto a pallet at the U.S. Government Publishing Office's (GPO) plant in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The budget’s moral measure will be assessed by “how well it promotes the common good of all,” the bishops write.
Kevin ClarkeMay 22, 2017
A veteran activist provides a blueprint for creating a movement in the moment of Trump.
Nathan SchneiderMay 22, 2017
Given the number of those in the California legal system today who are Latino, “you can guess a large percentage of them are Catholic.”
Jim McDermottMay 22, 2017
Pope Francis waves during a visit to give an Easter blessing to homes in a public housing complex in Ostia, a Rome suburb on the Mediterranean Sea, May 19 (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano).
Vatican leaders seem quietly confident that the meeting will go well.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 22, 2017