1. Religion and Congregations in a Time of Social and Political Upheaval, By Public Religion Research Institute, May 16, 2023, Study The religious landscape of the United States has changed dramatically in the past few decades as the country has become more demographically diverse, more Americans than ever have disaffiliated with organized religion, and religious leaders have faced a cultural milieu increasingly polarized along racial and political lines. Churches are also transitioning back to in-person services following the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with ongoing ripple effects from other major events, including national protests for racial justice, a divisive 2020 presidential election that resulted in a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and renewed state legislative battles over reproductive and LGBTQ rights. This new survey examines the religious behaviors of Americans amid this uncertain cultural and political landscape. In addition to highlighting religious affiliation trends, we consider the importance of religion to Americans and look at how often they attend church and engage in religious activities such as prayer. We also look at trends in religious “switching”—leaving one religion for another—and consider the reasons Americans do so. We also analyze the political context that congregations face today. We ask regular churchgoers how often they discuss political and cultural issues in their churches, how well their churches address those issues, and the extent to which partisan divides are apparent in their congregations.  In 2022, about one in four Americans (24%) say they were previously a follower or practitioner of a different religious tradition or denomination than the one they belong to now, up from 16% in 2021. People who are currently members of other non-Christian religions (38%) or religiously unaffiliated (37%) are the most likely to say that they were previously a follower or practitioner of a different religious tradition, followed by about one in four other Protestants of color (28%), white evangelical Protestants (25%), and Hispanic Protestants (24%). In addition, 22% each of other Christians, white mainline/non-evangelical Protestants, and Latter-day Saints also say they were previously a practitioner or follower of a different religious tradition or denomination. Jewish Americans (15%), Black Protestants (15%), Hispanic Catholics (11%) and white Catholics (10%) are the least likely to say they were previously a follower or practitioner of a different religious tradition. Among Americans who left a religious tradition, 37% say they were formerly Catholic, 24% were non-evangelical Christian or Protestant, 17% belonged to another Christian tradition, 13% were evangelical Christians, and 5% were members of non-Christian religions.  Reasons for switching religious tradition or denomination vary, but a majority of those who changed (56%) say they stopped believing in the religion’s teachings. Another 30% indicate they were turned off by the religion’s negative teachings about or treatment of LGBTQ people, 29% say their family was never that religious growing up, 27% say they were disillusioned by scandals involving leaders in their former religion, 18% point to a traumatic event in their lives, and 17% say their church became too focused on politics. These reasons for leaving are largely consistent with the last time PRRI asked this question, in 2016.  https://www.prri.org/research/religion-and-congregations-in-a-time-of-social-and-political-upheaval/__________________________________________________________ 2. Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis gets new leadership team after papal firings, By Associated Press, Associated Press, May 15, 2023, 1:47 PMA former Jesuit novice with a background in non-profit organizations was elected secretary-general of the Vatican’s preeminent charity Monday, opening a new phase for Caritas Internationalis following Pope Francis’ ouster of the past leadership over bullying complaints. Alistair Dutton, currently chief executive of the Scottish chapter of Caritas, previously served as humanitarian director for the confederation of 162 national chapters that is one of the most visible aid groups around the world.  The election was closely watched following Francis’ extraordinary decision in November to fire the Caritas Internationalis president, secretary general, vice presidents, treasurer and ecclesiastic assistant after an outside investigation found “real deficiencies” in management that had affected staff morale at the Caritas secretariat in Rome.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/15/vatican-caritas-charity/989085b2-f348-11ed-918d-012572d64930_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. What Vatican City’s new law could mean for laypeople, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, May 15, 2023, 3:38 PM Pope Francis on Saturday issued a revised Fundamental Law for the Vatican City State, a kind of constitutional law for the tiny territory surrounding St. Peter’s Basilica.  The new constitution made a number of interesting reforms. But a key change in the text’s language raises deep questions about the legal thinking around Pope Francis —  and it could point to an important undercurrent in the pope’s wide-ranging project of institutional reform for Church structures. Most interesting, the new law allows for lay members to serve on the city state’s governing commission but removes all reference to the commission exercising the “power” of governance. The significance of that change extends beyond a mere tonal emphasis of the pope’s immediate governing power over Vatican City, and suggests an important development in the debate over exercise of the power of governance by lay people. But while the significance of the change is clear, its meaning has some canonists vexed. Changes in the Vatican City State’s legal language could represent either a rollback on attempts to broaden lay governing power, or they could mean the opposite — a new legal formulation to allow lay people to assume a new range of governing offices.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/what-vatican-citys-new-law-could__________________________________________________________ 4. Vatican to ask Stika for resignation, By The Pillar, May 13, 2023, 2:37 PM The embattled Bishop Rick Stika will be asked by Vatican officials to resign as Bishop of Knoxville, after more than two years of scandal over the bishop’s leadership of his eastern Tennessee diocese. According to sources close to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, Pope Francis decided last month to request Stika’s resignation, after reviewing the results of a Vatican-ordered investigation into the bishop’s management. Stika is accused of protecting Wojciech Sobczuk, a seminarian accused multiple times of sexual assault. Stika last year admitted to The Pillar that he interfered with a diocesan review board investigation into the allegation that Sobczuk raped a parish organist, telling The Pillar that the seminarian was the victim of the alleged sexual assault, not the aggressor.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/vatican-to-ask-stika-for-resignation__________________________________________________________

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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