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

The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, primate of the Episcopal Church, speaks during the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, near London, England, Saturday, May 19, 2018. (Owen Humphreys/pool photo via AP)
Fabricated and impersonal, too many Catholic preachers hide themselves, forgetting that personality matters in preaching,
In this image made from video, Archbishop Philip Wilson, center, heads to Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, Australia Tuesday, May 22, 2018. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)
Philip Wilson was found guilty of failing to inform police about allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by a priest in the 1970s.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 22, 2018
The Holy Spirit might be the forgotten person of the Holy Trinity.
James Martin, S.J.May 21, 2018
Pope Francis walks past cardinals as he leaves a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 28, 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis is trying to ensure that those who elect his successor are humble men committed to “a church of the poor and for the poor.”
Gerard O’ConnellMay 21, 2018