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Posted November 16, 2007

Catholics Becoming Mainstream America

From the CARA Report

According to the results of a study by The Barna Group, Catholics are becoming indistinguishable from other faith groups in the U.S. population — except in the area of faith.

Barna specializes in studies of born-again Christians, “defined as people who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior” and compare them to other faith groups in this survey.

The national random sample telephone survey on which the report was based was conducted between August 206 and January 2007 and involved 4,014 adults, including 876 self-identified Catholics who comprised 22 percent of the total. Some of the things that distinguish Catholics from other faith groups include:

– The Catholic population has a disproportionately low proportion of blacks and a disproportionately high proportion of Hispanics, relative to the overall population. One out of every seven Americans is black, but only one out of every 25 Catholics. On the other hand, Hispanics are currently 15 percent of the national adult population but twice that proportion [30%] within the Catholic community.

– Two in three Catholics [68%] said their religious faith is very important in their life, but Catholics wre only half as likely as others to mention their faith as their highest priority [a majority of Catholics identified family as their highest priority] and their commitment to the Christian faith [44% of Catholics claimed to be “absolutely committed” compared to 54% of the entire adult population]. On average, Catholics were less likely to look forward to discussing their religious views with other people, to attending church services, and to reading the Bible. In fact, Catholics were only half as likely as other Americans to say they look forward “a lot” to reading the Bible.

– The typical Catholic donated about 17% less money to churches, was 38% less likely than the average American to read the Bible, 67% less likely to attend a Sunday school class, 20% less likely to share their faith in Christ with someone who had different beliefs, and 245 less likely to say their religious faith has greatly transformed their life. However, Catholics were 16% more likely than the norm to attend a church service and 8% more likely to have prayed to God during the prior week.