A survey released today (November 13, 2014) shows that Latin Americans born into Roman Catholic families have increasingly left the faith for Protestant churches, while many others have dropped organized religion altogether in a major shift in the region's religious identity, according to the Newsmax World website.
While 84 percent of Latin American adults report they were raised Catholic, only 69 percent now identify as such, said the Pew Research Center in Washington. At the same time, Protestants have gained a multitude of converts, due mainly to Protestantism being less rigid than Catholicism (for example, Protestantism allows a person the right to remarry after a divorce, but Catholicism does not).
About one in 10 Latin Americans were raised Protestant, but nearly one in five now call themselves Protestant. About 4 percent of Latin Americans report they were raised with no religion, but 8 percent say they have no tie to any faith.
The survey -- conducted between October 2013 and February 2014 -- outlines the challenge for Catholic leaders in a region that was once a stronghold for the faith. Latin America still has about 425 million Catholics -- or 40 percent of Catholic adherents worldwide -- according to the poll. But the exodus from the Catholic Church continues to occur.