Archive for the ‘Catholic’ Category

The Amazon effect: Worshippers flocking to larger churches

Just as one-stop shopping behemoths such as Walmart and Amazon are fulfilling the retail needs of America’s consumers, larger churches are increasingly meeting the spiritual needs of America’s faithful. New research indicates a decline in attendance at the great majority of the nation’s churches, while churches attracting 400 people or more on Sundays are dramatically increasing their market share.

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A Nation Divided By Fear: Studies reveal widespread lack of social trust

America may be nearing a critical tipping point where our fears, particularly of vulnerable groups such as Muslims and immigrants, are breaking down the sense of social trust that enables nations and communities to work together for the common good, research indicates. A new set of studies surveying fears in 2014 and 2015 offer insights into how much we are afraid of one another.

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Walking through the darkest valleys: How religion can be a healing balm for veterans

Religion can be a critical source of spiritual and social support for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, new research indicates. What also matters is that it be the right type of spiritual support. Veterans who are able to find a resource in faith in a loving God who cares for them appear to be better able to work through the stresses of combat. Those who continue to struggle with images of a judgmental God who is responsible for senseless suffering may be more likely to take their own lives.

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Fewer cheerful givers: The financial crisis facing U.S. churches

Even as the economy improves from the depths of the recession, several U.S. religious groups are not keeping up financially, according to two new studies. Giving as a percentage of income continues to fall for many Protestant groups, while the Catholic Church faces several financial challenges from changing demographics to church embezzlement and the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

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An environmental tipping point? Evangelicals going to the dogs . . . and cats . . . with major statement on animal welfare

Evangelicals are turning their attention to all creatures great and small. Scores of prominent evangelical pastors, scholars, theologians and other leaders took their place in a growing national dialogue over animal welfare with a declaration resolving to confront “any and all cruelty against animals.” Some analysts see the evangelical declaration as moving toward a tipping point in raising religious awareness of animal welfare issues, building on the momentum of Pope Francis’s encyclical in June.

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Pope Francis and 6 things you need to know about the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The sky is not falling on the Catholic Church in the United States, but it faces plenty of challenges as it welcomes Pope Francis for a six-day visit. Here are six key areas you may want to keep in mind when considering the evolving state of the nation’s largest religious group.

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Older worshippers find it’s never too late to switch

Religious switching is not limited to the young. Nearly three in 10 older adults made a major change in spiritual homes within just an 11-year period, according to a study. The findings and related research indicate both why it is important for older adults to be in a supportive congregation and why leaving a long-established spiritual community late in life could jeopardize the individual’s well-being.

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‘Nones’ are ‘someones’ in vibrant U.S. religious landscape

The end is not near for religion in America – or elsewhere in the world. What analysts are trying to divine, however, is the mystery of whether the evidence fewer people are identifying with specific faith groups heralds a long-term loss of religious beliefs. While jeremiads of the decline of religion get a good deal of press, scholars said at a recent symposium, there is also evidence Americans are “living in one of the most religious countries on the face of the Earth.”

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Latin American perspective on Papa Francisco reveals genuine leader dedicated to change

BUENOS AIRES — The election of Pope Francis is raising spirits and hopes throughout the Catholic Church. But what has been the impact on the ground, and what are the prospects of a makeover for a church that often measures changes in terms of centuries rather than days and months? Many of the people who know Pope Francis best, leading Latin American journalists, scholars and religious leaders, say the genuine faith of the Argentinian pope is making a difference with people in the streets and in the pews. Convincing Catholics in high places, however, may be his greatest challenge.

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Why faith matters in battling global smoking epidemic

In addition to legal and social activism, there is another potential powerful tool in addressing a global smoking epidemic: Faith. New studies are adding to a growing body of evidence that religion may help deter smoking, particularly among marginalized groups that have the greatest health risks.

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