(NC Register) Protestant South Becoming a New Roman Catholic Stronghold

New data shows that some of the fastest growing dioceses in the country are deep in the U.S. South.

The third fastest developing diocese is Atlanta, which saw the number of registered parishioners explode from nearly 322,000 in 2002 to one million in 2012 ”” an increase of more than twofold, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. Atlanta also has the largest Eucharistic Congress in the country, with an annual attendance of about 30,000, according to an archdiocesan official.

Atlanta is not alone. Charleston has seen a 50% increase in parishioners over the last decade. Charlotte grew by a third, as did Little Rock. The Diocese of Knoxville, established just 25 years ago, is now the 25th fastest growing in the nation ”” and would rank near the top if those official figures counted as many as 60,000 unregistered Hispanic congregants, according to a diocesan official.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

2 comments on “(NC Register) Protestant South Becoming a New Roman Catholic Stronghold

  1. jhp says:

    Hard to see whether a clear lesson can be drawn from this …

    As the article states, the south is benefiting from two important demographic trends : north to south migration and Hispanic immigration. Obviously, statistics, especially percentage increases, can be deceptive: a change from one to two is a 100% increase, but in absolute numbers it’s still only two.

    Hard to say if this loss to America’s Protestant heartland is a positive development. But if these are folks who used to be snake-handling end-of-days Elmer Gantrys (objectionable regional stereotype though it is) … well, at least now as RCs they’re further in the way of truth, all things considered …

  2. Charles52 says:

    The important statistic is always percentage of the population. In Texas, most of the diocese have grown in that area, dramatically in the cases of Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth. Old Catholic strongholds like San Antonio have gone the other way.


    Converts are a mixed lot. A fair few are Catholics coming home as the kids get older, or one spouse coming into the Church to unify the family. You have folks coming from Protestant backgrounds, liberal or evangelical. Lots were Baptists (a two way street to be sure), and the Anglican Use/Ordinariate are centered here (a small number, of course). So it’s a complex picture not amenable to generalizations.