US adult Catholic population slipping, study shows (CARA) The US adult Catholic population has dropped by 0.9% since 2010: a loss of more than 500,000, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). While America’s overall adult population was growing by 6.3%, the number of adult Catholics fell. In 2010, 25.2% of adult Americans identified themselves as Catholics; in 2016 the figure was down to 23.5%. The CARA report also found declines in the number of births to Catholic women, the number of new entries into the Church, and the proportion of Catholics marrying in the Church.
Cardinal Zen: deal with China would strip Catholics of freedom (AsiaNews) Continuing his outspoken campaign against a proposed Vatican accord with China, Cardinal Joseph Zen has said that the agreement would not enhance, but detract from, the religious freedom of the country’s Catholics. “There is still a certain degree of freedom for the ‘birds outside the cage,’” the cardinal said. “The Vatican is coming to help the government to push everybody into the cage.”
Cardinal Zen has indicated that he hopes Pope Francis will not be convinced to approve the proposed deal. “Until I see an evil deal signed,” he said, “I refuse to believe that it can be real.”
Government encroachment creates 'state of emergency' in Bolivian Catholic schools (Fides) The Catholic bishops of Bolivia are warning of a “state of emergency” in religious education, because the country’s government is asserting control over the appointment of teachers. Under that policy, the bishops say, they “cannot guarantee teaching, Christian education, and integral quality education.” More than 1,500 Catholic schools in Bolivia could be shut down to protest the change.
Catholic leaders mobilize against divorce initiative in Philippines (AsiaNews) The Catholic bishops of the Philippines are staking out their opposition to a government plan to allow for easy legal divorce. The bishops warn that the plan, “while it may indeed provide quick legal remedies for some seemingly ‘failed’ marriages, might end up destroying even those marriages that could be saved.”
Papal preacher devotes 4th Lenten sermon to obedience (Cantalamessa.org) Capuchin Franciscan Father Raniero Cantalamessa has served as Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980. His March 16 sermon was entitled “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1). The sermon had five parts: “the center thread that comes down,” “the obedience of Christ,” “obedience as grace: baptism,” “obedience as a duty: the imitation of Christ,” and “an obedience always open to all.”
US bishops urge support for First Amendment Defense Act (USCCB) FADA, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), is “a modest and important measure that protects the rights of faith-based organizations and people of all faiths and of no faith who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” said the chairmen of two US bishops’ committees.
Poland's bishops discuss Amoris Laetitia, abortion, anti-Semitism (Zenit) The Polish bishops undertook “a deep reflection on the forms of caring for marriage and family in the light of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia,” according to the report. “While preserving the teaching of the Church, the bishops drew attention to the necessity of accompanying marriages, both on the path of their sacramental fidelity and in the discernment of their irregular situations.”