A new Pew survey found that Latin American Catholics are increasingly leaving the Catholic Church, either to join evangelical Protestant churches or are abandoning religion altogether. The survey participants cited a search for a personal connection with God as the biggest reason for their shift.
The wide-ranging survey, released on Thursday, reported that although 69 percent of adults across the region identify as Catholic, in almost every country surveyed there was a reported net loss of Catholics in terms of people raised Catholic and currently Catholic. Overall for Latin America as a whole, 84 percent of the population was raised Catholic, but only 69 percent identify as part of the Catholic Church now. By contrast, only nine percept of Latin America's population was raised in the Protestant tradition, but today 19 percent identify as Protestant. The number of religiously unaffiliated people is also rising, going from four percent raised without religion to currently eight percent identifying as no religion today.
As for various reasons why Latin Americans are leaving the Catholic Church, 81 percent of those who responded said that they are seeking a personal connection with God; 69 percent saidthey enjoy the style of worship at a new church, while 60 percent said that they wanted a greater emphasis on morality. more >>
While plans for the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church name and brand to completely dissolve by the end of the year are moving forward, transformation of its 13 locations are well underway.
"Everything is closing down at the end of the year, including our central offices," Mars Hill communications director Justin Dean told The Christian Post. "Mars Hill will cease to exist after Dec. 31, 2014."
Dean said that after selling or transferring all property and assets that belong to the church, it will use the money to satisfy its remaining debt and will take care of the remaining staff that will be laid off at the end of the year. more >>
The Vatican announced Tuesday that Pope Francis will set up a panel to help process the "backlog" of appeals from priests who've been accused of committing sexual abuse against minors. The new judicial body, or college, will be overseen by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"Hearing the appeals is a very important job, especially those on abuse of minors, and the backlog of cases is at risk of absorbing all the time of the congregation," Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told The Tablet, a Catholic news weekly.
"[The accused] shall have his case examined by the whole body of members of the congregation, the ordinary session, which may also examine other specific cases upon papal request, and/or examine cases referred to it by the newly created college," he added. more >>
Canadian-born pop star Justin Bieber was spotted at Hillsong Church in New York City Sunday with models Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin.
"No doubt, the rumor mill will see Bieber's spiritually-inclined meet with Jenner and Baldwin as a romantic date," wrote Page Mackinley of the Inquisitr. "But, in fact, the 'vonfident' singer has been on a religious retreat of sorts following his split with [Selena Gomez]."
Being at Hillsong for an evening church service is the latest in a series of spiritual outings for Bieber, who's been reeling from controversies surrounding a DUI charge while in Miami and his breakup with Gomez. more >>
The infamous Westboro Baptist Church made its way to Joel Osteen's home base in Houston, Texas, Sunday to blast the city's lesbian Mayor Annise Parker and protest against the famous pastor.
Members of the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which isn't affiliated with any Baptist denomination, gathered outside the church as people entered for Sunday worship services.
The group held signs aimed at Parker's support for the city's Equal Rights Ordinance, which opponents believe will have several unintended consequences, such as allowing men who identify as female to use women's bathrooms. more >>
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference/Conela and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem have formed a partnership to advance and deepen Hispanic Christian engagement with the state and people of Israel, the organizations announced Monday.
This cooperative effort will focus on the ICEJ's annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, which serves as the official and exclusive gathering for Hispanic Evangelicals to make pilgrimage to Israel each year and to express in person their support for the Jewish nation and people.
"Our objective is to exponentially increase Hispanic participation and attendance at the annual Feast of Tabernacles, held each fall in Jerusalem under the sponsorship of the Christian Embassy," said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC/Conela. "We will encourage all followers of Christ in the Latino world to come to Jerusalem at this divinely appointed time, to see the biblical sites, stand in solidarity with Israel, and take part in this dynamic worship experience with believers from all over the world." more >>