US Church one of most diverse bodies

A major study has found the Catholic Church in the US to be one of the most culturally diverse institutions in that country.

The three-year study, commissioned by the US bishops’ conference and undertaken by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, was presented to the prelates during their plenary meeting in Baltimore last week. The report is seen as of crucial importance to the bishops as its mapping of cultural and ethnic diversity allows for them to plan for the future Church in the United States.

Of the US Catholic population: 42,512,591, are white (non-Hispanic); 29,731,302 are Hispanic or Latino; 2,905,935 are Asian, Native Hawaiian; 2,091,925 are black, African-American, African, Afro-Caribbean; and 536,601 are American Indian or Alaskan Native.

The confirmation of the massive Hispanic/Latino numbers came as the US bishops elected Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles – who was born in Mexico – as conference vice-president, the first time a Latino Churchman has held that post.

“This was about the importance of Latino ministry and the Hispanic presence in the United States, both in the Church and the society,” he said after his election.