Report Commissioned by Bishops Finds Diversity Abounds in U.S. Church

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Altar servers stand outside St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore before Mass Nov. 14. The U.S. bishops' traditional Mass for their annual fall general assembly was celebrated at the historic African-American church. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

BALTIMORE (CNS) — The Catholic Church is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the United States and Catholic institutions and ministries need to adapt and prepare for growing diversity, said a report presented to the country’s bishops Nov. 15. The report, by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church in 2013 to help identify the size and distribution of ethnic communities in the country. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, chairman of the committee, called the study “groundbreaking” because he said it combined, for the first time, all available data from Catholic and non-Catholic sources and mapped the multicultural and ethnic diversity of the church nationwide. Of the world’s estimated 1.3 billion Catholics, the study found, less than 6 percent live in the United States. Of the U.S. Catholic population: 42,512,591, are white (non-Hispanic); 29,731,302 are Hispanic or Latino; 2,905,935 are Asian, Native Hawaiian; 2,091,925 are black, African-American, African, Afro-Caribbean; and 536,601 are American Indian or Alaskan Native.