Hispanic Influence on Church Called a 'Two-Way Street'

QUOTE: "You cannot help but notice the changing relationship between Hispanics and the Catholic Church. While many Hispanic immigrants come to the United States with ties to Catholicism, the research shows that many of them eventually connect with a Protestant church. Even more significant is the departure of many second and third generation Hispanics from their Catholic tradition.” —researcher George Barna, whose latest study shows a dramatic shift among Hispanic believers in the United States in the past 15 years. While the Catholic Church's Hispanic membership has dropped by a whopping 25 percent since 1994, the number of born-again Hispanics has increased by 17 percent during the same period. Overall church attendance among Hispanics is up 10 percent. "Hispanics are becoming a more mainstream population in various ways—politically, economically, relationally, culturally—and this data reveals that they are assimilating in their faith perspectives and practices, as well," Barna said. "The influence of a dominant culture and its traditions has a powerful affect on people’s lives. While Hispanics have indisputably influenced American culture, these figures remind us that such transformation is a two-way street." [barna.org, 7/6/09]

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