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Pew Study Suggests a Field Ripe for Catholic Reclamation



There may be a measure of angst for some Catholics over the new Pew Forum Study in anticipation of the papal visit. Despite its title — “U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families” – only half of the findings were related to hot-button issues, but the spin is on. Still, there are some intriguing statistics for evangelizers.

For the purpose of analysis, we can break this study into five sections but first, it is worth mentioning that the Catholic sample in this study is much smaller than the recent 2014 Religious Landscape Survey. That study interviewed 7,200 Catholics and claimed a 1.5% margin of error. This latest report contains margins of error up to plus or minus 10.3% percent (!) where millennials are discussed, because only 120 millennial Catholics were interviewed.

The Cultural Catholics

Pew’s look at former Catholics in considerable detail is very useful. In fact, the study describes a new kind of “former Catholic”: people who no longer considers themselves to be a Catholic in terms of “religion” (and may now be properly called “Protestant” or “None”) but who nevertheless identify as Catholic or “partially Catholic”, either culturally, ethnically, or because of their family background. Pew calls this group “cultural Catholics”.

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Additional reading: Key Findings about American Catholics –

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