Americas

Sorry, Pope Francis: Protestants Are Converting Catholics Across Latin America

'Francis effect' may yet materialize. But for now, Catholics have hit record low across 19 nations and territories.
Sorry, Pope Francis: Protestants Are Converting Catholics Across Latin America
Image: Pew Research Center

[Editor's note: CT also took a deeper look at differences between what Protestants believe and practice in each country.]

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.

"Evangelization efforts by Protestant churches seem to be having an impact," notes Pew. Regionally, 84 percent of Latin American adults were raised as Catholics. But nearly 1 in 5 adults (19 percent) now identify as Protestants, ...

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