Second- and third-generation U.S. Hispanics are continuing to leave the Roman Catholic Church for evangelical and Pentecostal Protestant denominations. Photo: Rob Byron
Continuing a trend that emerged in the early 2000s, second- and third-generation U.S. Hispanics are continuing to leave the Roman Catholic Church for evangelical and Pentecostal Protestant denominations.
A 2009 survey by the Barna Research Group, a California-based religious polling firm, reported a 25 per cent decrease in the number of Hispanic Catholics and an increase of 17 per cent in the number of Hispanics claiming to be born-again Christians.
A recent poll by the Washington-based think tank Pew Research Center found that fewer than 60 per cent of U.S. second-generation Hispanics are Catholic. However, first-generation Hispanics, for whom ties to their native church remain strong, are keeping the number of Latino Catholics stable, and about a third of U.S. Catholics are Latino.
The Pew research concluded that most Catholics leave the church for a more direct connection with God and a less formal and regimented form of worship. According to a 2007 report by the Pew Hispanic Center, 82 per cent of Hispanics cited the desire for a more personal experience with God as the main reason for adopting a new faith. Among those who became evangelicals, 90 per cent said this spiritual quest drove their conversion.