GJELTEN: Like other Catholic leaders, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki aims for a balance – serving his flock while also defending the faith. His emphasis is on what he calls the truth of church teachings over the years.
JEROME LISTECKI: To be consistent to that is important. Why – because when you start to push yourself away from that, that’s when you lose the uniqueness. If we’re supposed to be like everybody else in the secular world, then we’re not going to be the Catholic church.
GJELTEN: In fact, U.S. Catholics may already be less Catholic than they used to be. Fifty years ago, about half of all Catholic children in the U.S. were educated in Catholic schools. Now it’s less than 20 percent.
GAUTIER: It suggests a gradual social change occurring.
GJELTEN: Mary Gautier of Georgetown University.
GAUTIER: The American Catholic church I think is assimilating ever further into American popular culture.