This weekend, I was interviewed by NPR’s Jacki Lyden about American Catholics’ perspectives on the next pope. In the segment, titled “Catholic Church At Crossroads: Demographics, Social Issues Pose Challenges,” I observed that generally, when it comes to the new Roman Catholic pontiff, American Catholics want more modernity. Changing demographics may also affect Catholics’ views of the new pope, both in the US and abroad:
Back in 1910, nearly two-thirds of all Catholics resided in Europe, now today, that number has dropped to only 24 percent. The largest single block of Catholics is in Latin America and the Caribbean, so we have a very different center of gravity just geographically speaking and ethnically speaking than we’ve ever had.
Meanwhile, there is significant volatility among the American Catholic population as well. Many American-born Catholics are leaving the faith (notably, 12% of Americans today are former Catholics), but the number of American Catholics overall has remained steady, thanks to an influx of Catholic immigrants from Latin America.
To listen to the full segment, head to NPR.