31 May 2013

“Nones” on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation (Pew)

“Nones” on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 9 October 2012)

The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%

18 May 2013

The Religious Affiliation of U.S. Immigrants (Pew Forum)

Over the past 20 years, the United States has granted permanent residency status to an average of about 1 million immigrants each year. ... U.S. government statistics show that a smaller percentage come from Europe and the Americas than did so 20 years ago, and a growing share now come from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East-North Africa region. With this geographic shift, it is likely that the religious makeup of legal immigrants also has been changing. ... While Christians continue to make up a majority of legal immigrants to the U.S., the estimated share of new legal permanent residents who are Christian declined from 68% in 1992 to 61% in 2012. Over the same period, the estimated share of green card recipients who belong to religious minorities rose from approximately one-in-five (19%) to one-in-four (25%). This includes growing shares of Muslims (5% in 1992, 10% in 2012) and Hindus (3% in 1992, 7% in 2012). The share of Buddhists, however, is slightly smaller (7% in 1992, 6% in 2012), while the portion of legal immigrants who are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular) has remained relatively stable, at about 14% per year.

14 May 2013

The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross (History Channel)

Part 1: First Crusade

Part2: First Crusade (continued)

Part 3: Second & Third Crusades

Part 4: Fourth Crusade

The Crusades (BBC)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Secret Files of the Inquisition (PBS Documentary)

Based on previously unreleased secret documents from European Archives including the Vatican, the 4-part series, Secret Files of the Inquisition unveils the incredible true story of the Catholic Church's 500-year struggle to remain the world's only true Christian religion.

Links to the official websites of the documentary:
The last person to be officially executed by the Roman Catholic Church under the Roman Inquisition (discussed in Part 3 of this documentary series) on charges of apostasy from the Catholic faith is the Italian priest, scientist and philosopher, Giordano Bruno. He was accused of Copernicanism, infinite universe and the possibility of other habitable worlds besides earth. He refused a full and unconditional recantation at his trial, and the Inquisitor, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, S.J., pronounced the guilty verdict and handed him over to civil authorities for execution in 1600. The last person to be executed by the Spanish Inquisition on charges of heresy and apostasy is Cayetano Ripoll, who was accused of renouncing Catholicism for Deism, and executed on 26 July 1826. Infamous for its ferocious persecutions of Jews (discussed in Part 2 of this documentary series) and Moors (Muslims), the Spanish Inquisition was only abolished in 1834. The Roman Inquisition went into decline in the aftermath of the scandal involving the young Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara who was secretly baptised and forcibly removed from his Jewish parents and placed under the protection of Pope Pius IX (discussed in Part 4 of this documentary series).

More on the Inquisition:

PART 1: The Land of Terror - France

France 1308 - High in the Pyrenees in the southwest of what is now France, in a time when the Church of Rome proclaims itself the one true religion, heresy has taken hold. Inquisitors are sent to exterminate the heresies by hunting down the condemning believers to burn at the stake. In 1308 the entire village of Montaillou is taken prisoner of the Inquisition. No one is safe - not even the village priest and the chatelaine of its castle. From the secret files - the extraordinary revelations of village life under the Inquisition.

PART 2: The Tears of Spain

Spain 1468 - A land where Christians, Muslims and Jews have lived in tolerance for centuries. That time is ending. A young King and Queen proclaim themselves Catholic Monarchs and start an Inquisition. Jews who had converted to Christianity are accused of secretly sabotaging the Christian faith. They become the pawns in a game of chess with dire consequences. Thousands perish in a ritual called the act of faith. In Zaragossa, the inquisitor is assassinated - setting off a wave of reprisals. Mothers will die to protect their children - and the highest in the land will pay the ultimate price. It is the beginning of the Spanish empire and a long dark night that will last for centuries.

PART 3: The War on Ideas - Italy

Italy 1522 - The decadence of a Medici Pope in Rome outrages the devout priest in Germany named Martin Luther. In the face of the Protestant Reformation, a fanatical monk sets out to exterminate the heresy. On his path to power he will create the Roman Inquisition. And he will become the most hated Pope in history. Powerful leaders of the Catholic Church are arrested and imprisoned, accused of reading books banned by the Church. Free-thinking students are silenced. Darkness descends on the centers of learning and Renaissance. The Roman Inquisition leaves a legacy that lasts into the twentieth century.

PART 4: The End of the Inquisition

The secret files of the Inquisition are locked away for centuries. A Spanish priest devotes his life to exposing the brutal records of the Inquisition. Napoleon spreads the ideas of the Enlightenment. He conquers Italy, abolishes the Inquisition and orders its files sent to Paris. Spain's greatest painter, Goya, will depict the Inquisition for the first time - and then run for his life. The kidnapping of a young Jewish boy secretly baptized will be one of the desperate last attempts at exerting the power of the Inquisition. A devoted father fights to get back his son. The boy becomes a symbol for a Pope who is about to lose his dominion on earth.

13 May 2013

Vatican presents the Pontifical Yearbook 2013

Presentation of Pontifical Yearbook 2013 (Vatican Information Service, 13 May 2013)


The statistical information, which refers to the year 2011, reveals details about the Catholic Church in the 2,979 ecclesiastical circumscriptions around the planet. The number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.196 million in 2010 to 1.214 million in 2011, an increase of eighteen million faithful, corresponding to a growth of 1.5%. Over the last three years the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has remained stable at around 17.5%.The number of Catholics with respect to the total population varies considerably between the continents. Their numbers have increased in Africa (by 4.3%), which has reported a 2.3% increase of its population between 2010 and 2011. In Asia, an increase in Catholics greater to an increase in the population was also recorded (of 2% compared to 1.2%). In the Americas and in Europe the increase in numbers of Catholics is equal to the population increase (.3%). In 2011, the total of baptised Catholics had a distribution of, by continent: the Americas (48.8%); Europe (23.5%); Africa (16%); Asia (10.9%); and Oceania (.8%).
 Link:  Presentation of Pontifical Yearbook 2013

01 May 2013

The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society (Pew)

The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 30 April 2013)

A new Pew Research Center survey of Muslims around the globe finds that most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but also their societies and politics. In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say that Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person. Many also think that their religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for sharia – traditional Islamic law – to be recognized as the official law of their country.

Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project

The Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project is a beta website furnishing demographic data and survey results on global religions across the countries of the world.
Link: Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project