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Latino Daily News

Friday October 21, 2011

Second-, Third-Generation U.S. Hispanics Leaving the Catholic Church

Second-, Third-Generation U.S. Hispanics Leaving the Catholic Church

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According to polls from the Pew Research Center, less than 60 percent of second-generation Latinos are Catholic. However, they are not necessarily turning away from religion all together.

As the number of the Latinos and Hispanics in the U.S. grows, so too are those stepping away from the strict ways of the Catholic church.

Many Latinos have said they left the Catholic church in search of a closer relationship with God and less structure, often turning to Evangelical churches.

Isaac Vega of Chicago told NPR, “I felt like my personal relationship with God — I was seeking more, and I needed more. And there was kind of like a glass ceiling. I was hitting something that wasn’t allowing me to grow, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was.”

The Pew Research Center also found that second- and third-generation Mexican Americans were turning away from Catholicism because they finally could, since for many, they are no longer stifled by the pressure from their families back in Mexico, who do not allow them to leave the church.

For others, going to Catholic churches when they were younger was not even remotely interesting. With hundreds of years of the same traditions, same songs, and same messages, they are looking for something different. And as the number of Latinos/Hispanics continues to grow, so too will the number of those looking for God in non-Catholic institutions.

“We got a postcard from the future,” Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life told NPR. “And it told us that in the not-too-distant future, this country is going to be minority white. So, the future of many religious traditions in this country will depend upon the second-generation Latinos.”