Is the Catholic Church in the U.S. Growing or Shrinking? Some surprising conclusions from CARA data.

There are different ways of assessing the relative health or distress of the Catholic Church here in America. In yesterday’s blog we discussed some signs of vitality, in terms of both clergy and laity becoming more focused on the urgency of evangelization, and of personal conversion. There are many other ways of noting our strengths and struggles.

One of the most obvious metrics is to look at the raw numbers and ask, “Is the Catholic Church in America growing or shrinking?” A recent article at the blog of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) addresses this question, and I would like to present a quick summary of some of the findings. But at the end of the day I am also left with a fundamental question.

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