Latino Catholics Challenge, Energize Church

The rapid growth and cultural diversity of Latino Catholics makes tremendous demands on the Catholic Church at the same time it enriches and revitalizes the church community, according to speakers at a forum on "Becoming Latino: The Transformation of U.S. Catholicism." Latinos, like Catholics throughout the church, vary greatly and require a variety of pastoral responses. The U.S. bishops support integration as a way to receive people of different cultures into the church, rather than assimilation, which is dehumanizing and racist, the speakers said. The forum on Dec. 9 was sponsored by the Center on Religion and Culture at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York. "Latinos are two decades away from constituting (as much as) 50 percent of the Catholic population," said Peter Steinfels, the center's co-director. "Latino Catholics will not just have a place at the table, they are likely to be the hosts at the table." Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church said the coming of immigrants, particularly Hispanics, to the U.S. Catholic Church at this time offers unprecedented opportunities for the church to influence U.S. culture. The growth of the Latino population, through both immigration and births, is the primary reason the percentage of Catholics in the United States has remained consistent, at 23 percent to 24 percent, according to Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. "The U.S. is not becoming less Catholic because the Roman Catholic Church is becoming more Hispanic," he said.

* Photo courtsey Leo Sorel and Fordham University.

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

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

25,000 children and pilgrim sang the pope “Happy Birthday" today in St. Peter’s Square.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 17, 2017
A reflection for the third Sunday of Advent
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 16, 2017
Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017
Why not tax individuals for what they take out of society instead of what they contribute?
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.December 15, 2017