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Changing the faith

Survey shows growing religious trends in Hispanics
Saturday, May 12, 2007 | 12:28 a.m. CDT; updated 5:38 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Alejandra Ruiz prays during Mass at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Los Angeles.

Catholicism is the most common religious affiliation among Hispanics, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Approximately 68 percent of those who were surveyed described themselves as Roman Catholic.

The major study revealed that Hispanics believe God is an active force in their lives and that “miracles still occur today as in ancient times.” While most Hispanic Catholics base their faith upon traditional Catholic teachings, they are increasingly influenced by renewalist Christianity — a rapidly growing movement amongst Christians worldwide that subscribe to the belief that the Holy Spirit is manifested in daily life through supernatural phenomena.

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The study says Hispanics tend not to convert to other religions, but push-and-pull factors, such as boring Masses and seeking a closer relationship with God, are eroding the Catholic base in the Hispanic population. Disagreement with the church’s position on issues such as divorce has also led Hispanics to convert to a new religion.

The study predicts that even if the rate of conversions were to increase in the next 25 years, a majority of Hispanics would still be Catholics.

The analysis, “Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion,” can be found on the Pew Hispanic Center Web site at pewhispanic.org.


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