By Morgan Lee (Christianity Today)
Enthusiasm for the first pope picked from Latin America has prompted predictions of a “Francis effect” revival among the region’s Roman Catholics. Time will tell, but a new report shows exactly what the former Archbishop Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is up against in his own backyard: Protestants are remarkably ascendent across 18 nations and one US territory.
For most of the last century, more than 90 percent of Latin Americans identified as Catholics. But now that number has hit a new low: 69 percent, according to a thorough report on this “widespread change” released today by the Pew Research Center. Regionally, 84 percent of Latin American adults were raised as Catholics. But nearly 1 in 5 adults (19 percent) now identify as Protestants, while only 1 in 10 (9 percent) were raised as Protestants. (Similarly, the religiously unaffiliated have doubled from 4 percent as children to 8 percent as adults.) Continue reading