29 September 2013

2013 Hispanic Values Survey on Shifting Religious Identities and Experiences influencing Hispanic Approaches to Politics

Excerpt: The Changing Religious Profile of Hispanics
A majority of Hispanics identify as Catholic (53%), one-quarter (25%) identify as Protestant — nearly evenly divided between evangelical Protestant (13%) and mainline Protestant (12%)—and 12% of Hispanics are religiously unaffiliated. Few Hispanics (6%) identify with a non-Christian religion. When comparing today’s Hispanic adults to their childhood religious affiliations, Catholic affiliation drops by 16 percentage points (from 69% to 53%). Evangelical Protestant affiliation has increased by 6percentage points (from 7% to 13%), while the percentage of those claiming no religious affiliation has increased by 7 percentage points (from 5% to 12%).


19 September 2013

A Big Heart Open to God: The Exclusive Interview with Pope Francis

A Big Heart Open to God: The Exclusive Interview with Pope Francis: America Magazine  /  Thinking Faith / ChoisirStimmen der Zeit / Razón y fe / La Civiltà Cattolica 

This interview with Pope Francis took place over the course of three meetings during August 2013 in Rome. The interview was conducted in person by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal. Father Spadaro conducted the interview on behalf of La Civiltà Cattolica, America and several other major Jesuit journals around the world. The editorial teams at each of the journals prepared questions and sent them to Father Spadaro, who then consolidated and organized them.
Links to the Fulltext of the Papal Interview:

12 September 2013

Convent in Japan invites outsiders to try a prayerful life

When Akiko and Fumiko, aged 28 and 23 respectively, arrived at the Trappistine convent of Our Lady of Imari, they were not initiates to the order, but they weren’t casual visitors either. They had set aside the following three months for a program in which they would labor and live with the sisters as temporary members of the community. The convent started this program as a way to give young people a chance to make prayer the center of their lives, not only during their stay but in their lives afterward. Prayer is like the pulse of this convent, which sits on a mountain overlooking Imari Bay in Saga Prefecture, some 940km west of Tokyo. The first prayers begin promptly at 3:50 am, and the day ends with a Marian hymn at 7:40 in the evening. The traditional form of Christian devotion at Our Lady of Imari focuses on the Mass and the daily “office”, or schedule of seven prayer sessions. Akiko and Fumiko joined in this experience and devoted more than four hours to prayer each day, in addition to three and a half hours set aside for study and about three hours for manual labor.

Pope Francisco writes to La Repubblica: "An open dialogue with non-believers"

Pope Francisco writes to La Repubblica: "An open dialogue with non-believers" (La Republica, 11 September 2013): Italian / English / Spanish

Writing in one of Italy's major secular newspapers, Pope Francis called for a "sincere and rigorous dialogue" between the church and nonbelievers as an "intimate and indispensable expression" of Christian love. The pope's words appeared in a 2,600-word letter published in the Sept. 11 edition of the Rome daily La Repubblica, in reply to recent articles by Eugenio Scalfari, a co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the newspaper. According to the National Catholic Reporter columnist, John L. Allen, Jr., Pope Francis makes three main points in this letter: 
  1. God has never abandoned the covenant with the Jewish people, and the church "can never be grateful enough" to the Jews for preserving their faith despite the horrors of history, especially the Shoah, the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.
  2. God's mercy "does not have limits" and therefore it reaches nonbelievers, too, for whom sin would not be the lack of faith in God, but rather, failure to obey one's conscience.
  3. Truth is not "variable or subjective," but Francis says he avoids calling it "absolute" -- truth possesses us, he said, not the other way around, and it's always expressed according to someone's "history and culture, the situation in which they live, etc."