Daily Archives: November 17, 2014

(RNS) NFL agent says domestic violence crisis due to ungodly men

Another day, another football player arrested for domestic violence.

Frank Clark, a senior defensive end for the University of Michigan, was arrested Sunday for allegedly attacking his girlfriend in a Perkins, Ohio hotel room. Sports analysts predict Clark will be a third-round NFL draft pick next year. It’s the latest in a string of scandals involving football players this year”“including Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice and Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson”“that has prompted the NFL to implement a revamped domestic violence policy.

But Drew Pittman, a Christian NFL sports agent whose firm has negotiated almost $1 billion in player contracts, claims we’re missing the real problem. He says America”“not just sports”“is experiencing an epidemic of men who are not equipped to be husbands and fathers. He’s compiled stories and principles from his career in a new book, First Team Dad: Your Playbook for a Winning Family (foreword by Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy), and argues that our real problem is ungodly men. Here we discuss his book, sports scandals, and what he believes every parent can learn about parenting and marriage from professional sports.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Sports, Theology, Violence, Women

Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address to the CofE General Synod

During the last eighteen months or so I have had the opportunity to visit thirty-six other Primates of the Anglican Communion at various points. This has involved a total of 14 trips lasting 96 days in all. I incidentally calculated that it involves more than eleven days actually sitting in aeroplanes. This seemed to be a good moment therefore to speak a little about the state of the Communion and to look honestly at some of the issues that are faced and the possible ways forward.

A Flourishing Communion

First of all, and this needs to be heard very clearly, the Anglican Communion exists and is flourishing in roughly 165 countries. There has been comment over the last year that issues around the Communion should not trouble us in the Church of England because the Communion has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. Not only does it exist, but almost everywhere (there are some exceptions) the links to the See of Canterbury, notwithstanding its Archbishop, are profoundly valued. The question as to its existence is therefore about what it will look like in the future. That may be very different, and I will come back to the question.

Secondly, Anglicanism is incredibly diverse. To sit, in the space of a few months, in meetings with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Primate of Australia, the Primate of South Africa, the Moderator of the Church of South India, the Primate of Nigeria and many others is to come away utterly daunted by the differences that exist. They are huge, beyond capacity to deal with adequately in the time for this presentation…
In an age of near instant communication, because the Communion exists, and is full of life, vigour and growth, of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and love for him, everything that one Province does echoes around the world. Every sermon or speech here is heard within minutes and analysed half to death. Every careless phrase in an interview is seen as a considered policy statement. And what is true of all Provinces is ten times more so for us, and especially us in this Synod. We never speak only to each other, and the weight of that responsibility, if we love each other and the world as we should, must affect our actions and our words.
At the same time there is a profound unity in many ways. Not in all ways, but having said what I have about diversity, which includes diversity on all sorts of matters including sexuality, marriage and its nature, the use of money, the relations between men and women, the environment, war and peace, distribution of wealth and food, and a million other things, underpinning us is a unity imposed by the Spirit of God on those who name Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This diversity is both gift and challenge, to be accepted and embraced, as we seek to witness in truth and love to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, the potential of the Communion under God is beyond anything we can imagine or think about. We need to hold on to that, there is a prize, the quest for which it is worth almost anything to achieve. The prize is visible unity in Christ despite functional diversity. It is a prize that is not only of infinite value, but also requires enormous sacrifice and struggle to achieve. Yet if we even get near it we can speak with authority to a world where over the last year we have seen more than ever an incapacity to deal with difference, and a desire to oversimplify the complex and diverse nature of human existence for no better reason than we cannot manage difference and dealing with The Other.
the future of the Communion requires sacrifice. The biggest sacrifice is that we cannot only work with those we like, and hang out with those whose views are also ours. Groups of like-minded individuals meeting to support and encourage each other may be necessary, indeed often are very necessary, but they are never sufficient. Sufficiency is in loving those with whom we disagree. What may be necessary in the way of party politics, is not sufficient in what might be called the polity of the Church.

In this Church of England we must learn to hold in the right order our calling to be one and our calling to advance our own particular position and seek our own particular views to prevail in the Church generally, whether in England or around the world. We must speak the truth in love.

In practice that has to mean the discipline of meeting with those with whom we disagree and listening to each other carefully and lovingly
I have not called a Primates’ Meeting on my own authority (although I could) because I feel that it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to develop a collegial model of leadership, as much as it is necessary in the Church of England, and I have therefore waited for the end of the visits to Provinces.

If the majority view of the Primates is that such a meeting would be a good thing, one will be called in response. The agenda for that meeting will not be set centrally, but from around the Primates of the Communion. One issue that needs to be decided on, ideally by the Primates’ meeting, is whether and if so when there is another Lambeth Conference. It is certainly achievable, but the decision is better made together carefully, than in haste to meet an artificial deadline of a year ending in 8. A Lambeth Conference is so expensive and so complex that we have to be sure that it is worthwhile. It will not be imposed, but part of a collective decision.

The key general point to be established is how the Anglican Communion is led, and what its vision is in the 21st century, in a post-colonial world? How do we reflect the fact that the majority of its members are in the Global South, what is the role of the Instruments of Communion, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, and what does that look like in lived out practice?

Read it all from CofE General Synod 17th to 18th November 2014 Links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(AP) New report: Child homelessness on the rise in US

The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation’s high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence.

Titled “America’s Youngest Outcasts,” the report being issued Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness calculates that nearly 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013. The number is based on the Department of Education’s latest count of 1.3 million homeless children in public schools, supplemented by estimates of homeless pre-school children not counted by the DOE.

The problem is particularly severe in California, which has one-eighth of the U.S. population but accounts for more than one-fifth of the homeless children with a tally of nearly 527,000.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Poverty

CofE General Synod 17th to 18th November 2014 Links

The November Synod has now ended – reports and audio recordings for each session are below
Tuesday November 18th
Tuesday Afternoon
Report on Tuesday Afternoon Business and Spare Room Subsidy Removal and Audio
– Anglican-Methodist Covenant – Report and Resolution from the Council for Christian Unity (GS 1971), to which is appended the Final Report from the Joint Implementation Commission – Passed
– Diocesan Synod Motion Spare Room Subsidy (GS 1965A and GS 1965B) – Passed
– Possible Contingency Business
– Farewells and Prorogation
[more to follow]

Tuesday Morning
Report on Tuesday Morning Business and Audio
– Violence against Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria – Presentation under Standing Order 97 [Background Paper GS 1068] [Audio]
– Legislation
– – 507 Draft Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure (GS 1969 and GS 1969x) – Draft Measure for First Consideration – Passed
– – 505 Draft Naming of Dioceses Measure (GS 1935A and GS 1935Y) – Draft Measure for Revision – Passed

Monday November 17th
Monday Afternoon:
Report on Monday Afternoon Business, the Women Bishops Canon Enactment and Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy.
Audio Part 1 and Audio Part 2 [Draft amending Canon No 35 to Questions]
– Introductions, Report on progress of Measures and Statutory Instruments, Business Committee Report
– Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926D) enactment of Women Bishops provision – this was enacted [CofE Media Report]
– Presidential Address by Archbishop of Canterbury – Read and watch here
– Legislative Business:
– – 501-2 Draft Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure (GS 1919B and GS 1919Z) – Draft Measure for Final Drafting and Final Approval – Passed
– – 503-4 Draft Church of England (Ecclesiastical Property) Measure (GS 1921B and GS1921Z) – Draft Measure for Final Drafting and Final Approval – Passed
– – 506 Draft Amending Canon No. 35 (GS 1964A) – Draft Amending Canon for Revision and Final Drafting
– – 508 Draft Scheme amending the Diocese in Europe Constitution 1995 (GS 1968 and GS 1968x) – Passed
– Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy (GS 1970) – A member of the House of Clergy to move: ”˜That the Synod do take note of this Report.’ which duly happened [Report]
– Worship
Questions and Answers

â–  Press release about Agenda
â–  Press Reports
â–  Daily Agenda and Timetable and Brief Agenda and Papers
â–  Live Video Feed when in session or listen here for prior recordings
â–  Twitter: #synod and it may be worth following: CofE Official Synod tweets; and @C_of_E if interested.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Anglican bishop of Wakefield pray for Pakistani couple killed by mob

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, the Anglican Bishop of Wakefield, lit candles and prayed yesterday in St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds for the couple and their unborn daughter who were burned to death in Pakistan last week.

Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, who had three children, were attacked by a mob of 1,200 that had gathered after rumours they had desecrated the Koran. It is thought the mob burned them to death at the brick kiln where they worked.

Cardinal Nichols, president of the bishops’ conference of England and Wales, said: “This is a horrific and tragic event which sullies the reputation of a great nation. Surely all people of true religious spirit will, in response, turn to God in prayer, seeking forgiveness for the violence and destruction of life, pleading for peace in our troubled world.

“For my part I pray for the repose of the souls of the couple and their unborn child.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

Local Paper article on Anglican Bishop James Tengatenga

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Washington Post) Drug agents launch surprise NFL inspections

Federal drug agents conducted surprise inspections of National Football League team medical staffs on Sunday as part of an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse in the league. The inspections, which entailed bag searches and questioning of team doctors by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, were based on the suspicion that NFL teams dispense drugs illegally to keep players on the field in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, according to a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.

The medical staffs were part of travel parties whose teams were playing at stadiums across the country. The law enforcement official said DEA agents, working in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, inspected multiple teams but would not specify which ones were inspected or where.

The San Francisco 49ers confirmed they were inspected by federal agents following their game against the New York Giants in New Jersey but did not provide any details. “The San Francisco 49ers organization was asked to participate in a random inspection with representatives from the DEA Sunday night at MetLife Stadium,” team spokesman Bob Lange said in an e-mailed statement. “The 49ers medical staff complied and the team departed the stadium as scheduled.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Sports, The U.S. Government, Theology

Pope Francis’s opening address to Humanum conference–today marriage and the family are in crisis

We know that today marriage and the family are in crisis. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.

Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.

The crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.

It is necessary first to promote the fundamental pillars that govern a nation: its non-material goods. The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

([London] Times) Melanie Phillips–The murder of Christians is our guilty secret

Canon Andrew White is one of the bravest people I know. For nine years this former Middle East envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has played a key role in freeing hostages in the region, has been the vicar of St George’s church in Baghdad.

As such, he has been the emblem and body-armoured defender of Iraq’s Christian community, which has been under murderous assault in the wars that have engulfed Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

A few days ago, at a conference I chaired in Jerusalem, Canon White told me that the Archbishop of Canterbury has now forbidden him to return to his church in its heavily barricaded compound. Given the advance towards Baghdad of Islamic State (Isis) ”” which has now murdered a fifth hostage, the American Peter Kassig ”” it is simply too dangerous even for him.

More than 1,200 members of his congregation and several of his staff have been murdered in the past few years. His flock has dwindled from 6,500 to 1,000 today, including the six remaining Jews in Iraq, who have lived under his personal protection.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Economist) Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's president, has left herself a really big Mess

As she hobnobs with the other G20 heads of state in Brisbane this weekend, Dilma Rousseff, re-elected last month to a second four-year term as Brazil’s president, will have precious little besides her (narrow) victory to boast about. Every day seems to bring more evidence of just how big a mess she has left herself. Official data released in the past three weeks have shown a bulging budget deficit, falling industrial production and rising poverty. Even the job market, until recently a rare bright spot, with unemployment near historic lows of around 5%, is beginning to falter. This week payroll numbers showed a net loss of 30,000 jobs in October, the worst result for the month since 1999 and well below the average market expectations of a gain of 56,000.

Days before a kerfuffle broke out over a bill sent to Congress that would let Ms Rousseff in effect turn a primary fiscal surplus (before interest payments) of 1.9% of GDP promised in the 2014 budget into a deficit. Since the primary balance showed a hole equal to 0.5% of GDP in the nine months to September (because of a pre-election spending splurge), the government was merely facing up to reality. The opposition leapt on the opportunity to bash Ms Rousseff for fiscal incontinence and obfuscation. Some threatened to contest this budgetary meddling before the Supreme Court.

If that weren’t enough, on November 14th the federal police rounded up dozens of suspects in an ongoing corruption probe into Petrobras, the state-controlled oil giant, in which Ms Rousseff’s left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) and some coalition parties have been implicated. They include a former Petrobras director, as well as executives at several big construction firms with contracts worth 56 billion reais ($21.5 billion) with the company; 720m reais-worth of their assets were frozen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Economy, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, South America

(Archbp Cranmer) C of E General Synod to be addressed by Muslim extremist ”¦NOT

Setting aside the fact that Jesus had “connections” with prostitutes, tax collectors, religious zealots and one or two occupying Romans; and that British prime ministers and foreign secretaries have routinely made “connections” with a few murderous autocrats and “extremist groups” in their time; and that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England herself has shaken hands with Martin McGuinness, dined with dictators and bestowed honours upon nihilist thugs like Nicolae Ceausescu and Robert Mugabe inter alia, it is clear that if we are to coexist with Muslims at home and understand the religious inspiration of extremism at home and abroad, we must apprehend and challenge extremist ideology from within. It is not for the Church of England to define the tenets of ”˜moderate’ Islam: it is for Muslim scholars to formulate their own 95 Theses and pin them to the principal gateway to Mecca.

Fuad Nahdi is an academic ally in this process of reformation: his mould-breaking Radical Middle Way (RMW) does indeed have “a long history of working with activists and groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood” (which is, as Westrop observes, “at heart, a terrorist organization”) because “working with” includes notions of historical correction, religious enlightenment and diplomatic struggle. Was Senator George Mitchell “working with” the IRA in the late 1990s? Was the IRA not “at heart, a terrorist organization”? Was this “working with” not morally justifiable in pursuit of the Good Friday Agreement that led to lasting peace?

The problem with a phrase like “working with” in the context of terrorism is that it denotes complicity and conveys a sense of collaboration. That was plainly Westrop’s intention here: to tarnish Fuad Nahdi by association, trawling the internet to bolster a prejudice. Of course, you can list organisations like the Federation of Student Islamic Societies and the Young Muslim Organization ”“ groups “heavily influenced by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group”¦ which is committed to establishing Islamic rule under sharia law”. But Fuad Nahdi has also been working with Toby Howarth, recently appointed Bishop of Bradford.

How troubling is that?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hugh of Lincoln and Robert Grosseteste

Holy God, our greatest treasure, who didst bless Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of thy Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in thy Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of thee and drawing all to thee through Jesus Christ our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Temple

Almighty and everlasting God, who resisteth the proud and givest grace to the humble: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may not exalt ourselves and provoke thy indignation, but bow down to receive the gifts of thy mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as thou art, O LORD, with thy faithfulness round about thee?

–Psalm 89:9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Mass. Live) St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Western Massachusetts to Close

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, on Main Street in the Thorndike section, is set to close Dec. 7., with the 125-seat church building possibly being put up for sale.

The decision, based on dwindling resources, was made by the Rte. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, in conjunction with the diocesan council.

According to diocesan spokesman, Steve Abdow, canon for mission resources, attendance at Sunday service was averaging about 18 individuals.

“We are hoping to connect them with other churches, Abdow said. “There are Episcopal churches in every direction, though not right within town.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(BBC) Nigeria army 'retakes Chibok' from Boko Haram

The Nigerian army says it has recaptured the north-eastern town of Chibok, which was seized by Boko Haram militants on Thursday.

Boko Haram fighters kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the village in April, sparking global outrage.

The group, which says it is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, has repeatedly targeted villages in Borno state in recent months.

There are reports of many Boko Haram members being killed in Sunday’s raid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Patheos) Frederick Schmidt–What is a seminary faculty?

In bold relief, my own answer to the question is this:

Unlike other faculties, a seminary faculty is committed to both learning and spiritual formation.

They give themselves to the same level of academic rigor, but seminary faculty embrace a commitment abandoned a long time ago. The larger academy is neutral, if not negative about the existence of the divine. Seminaries are not, nor can they be. The study of religion without a commitment to the existence of the divine, never mind a specific construal of what God is all about, is the focus of university’s department of religious studies. In those settings the tools of understanding are philosophy, history, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. In a seminary, theology remains “the queen of the sciences.” The other disciplines amplify the seminary’s understanding of God, but they cannot replace it. For that reason, seminary faculties hold that it is not just possible to learn about God. It is actually possible to encounter God.

As such seminary faculty are “professors” not just of a subject area, but of a deep spiritual commitment.

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Posted in Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CNS) Vatican public restrooms to include showers for the homeless

The archbishop who distributes charity on behalf of Pope Francis has announced that the public restrooms in St. Peter’s Square will include showers where the homeless can wash.

The service will require volunteers and donations of soap, towels and clean underwear, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, told Catholic News Service Nov. 13. “We have to be evangelical, but intelligent, too.”

Several people living on the streets of Rome or in tents say it is not difficult to find a parish or charity that will give them something to eat, but finding a place to wash is much more difficult.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Italy, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CSM) The air ball in the NBA's call for sports gambling

A few sports may not exist if gambling were not legal for them. Horse racing could be one of them. The college men’s basketball tournament, or “March Madness,” would likely not be so popular if the NCAA did not encourage fans to predict winners with a brackets contest, resulting in the common practice of office-pool betting on even the worst teams.

If sports gambling spreads as a result of being legalized, it will send the wrong message to the most dedicated yet vulnerable fans of sport ”“ children (and the child in adult fans). “I think there needs some attention to be paid to what sport is going to represent to young people,” Bettman said.

Let’s keep the innocence of sport, one based on merit rather than promoting with a belief in luck. In that contest, the arguments of the NBA commissioner lose.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Sports, Theology

(AIP) Joe Carter–Why Do Pastors Receive a Tax Exemption for Housing?

A federal court of appeals has rejected an atheist group’s lawsuit seeking to strike down a 60-year-old tax provision protecting ministers, notes the Becket Fund. The ruling allows ministers of all faiths to continue receiving housing allowances. “This is a great victory for separation of church and state,” said Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel of the Becket Fund of Religious Liberty. “When a group of atheists tries to cajole the IRS into raising taxes on churches, it’s bound to raise some eyebrows. The court was right to send them packing.”

Aside from the question of constitutionality, the clergy exemption raises a question that many people ”” whether religious or not ”” are likely to be wondering: Why exactly do ministers receive a tax exemption for their housing allowance?

To answer the question we must first consider how taxation of church property, including clergy housing, has historically been considered.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Pew Research) Religion in Latin America–Widespread Change in a Historically Catholic Region

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics ”“ nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population ”“ and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic (See History of Religious Change). Today, the Pew Research survey shows, 69% of adults across the region identify as Catholic. In nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, as many Latin Americans have joined evangelical Protestant churches or rejected organized religion altogether. For example, roughly one-in-four Nicaraguans, one-in-five Brazilians and one-in-seven Venezuelans are former Catholics.

Overall, 84% of Latin American adults report that they were raised Catholic, 15 percentage points more than currently identify as Catholic. The pattern is reversed among Protestants and people who do not identify with any religion: While the Catholic Church has lost adherents through religious switching, both Protestant churches and the religiously unaffiliated population in the region have gained members. Just one-in-ten Latin Americans (9%) were raised in Protestant churches, but nearly one-in-five (19%) now describe themselves as Protestants. And while only 4% of Latin Americans were raised without a religious affiliation, twice as many (8%) are unaffiliated today.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Latin America & Caribbean, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, South America