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.

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