Talk:Catholic Church in the United States

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Catholics by state[edit]

It would be nice if this article included a table listing the population of Catholics by state (both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population). —Psychonaut 01:43, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

This is, of course, a shifting set of numbers every year. I think you can get most of it from the citations now in the Statistics section. GRBerry 02:24, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Pennsylvania is wrong. If one reads the PA page closely, one will see that 53% the percentage of religious Pennsylvanians, not all. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 01:51, 27 February 2011 (UTC).


Could someone please replace that picture? Let's not use the cathedral with the ugliest, most modernistic architecture in the country, please! That building does not say "Catholicism" but instead proudly proclaims something like "United Nations Meditation Center". Chadrack 21:48, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, put The St. Patrick cathedral instead!

Wow, that's a terrible-looking cathedral. Looks more like a Protestant Baptist "megachurch" crossed with a Mexican mudhut than a bastion of Catholicism.Childe Roland of Gilead 21:09, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I changed it. I thought Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral would be better. It is far more traditional and more attractive than the one in L.A. DBQer 21:03, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Re: Percentage of Catholics per State Table[edit]

Why is it that in the article, it's stated that only 27% of Pennsylvanians are Catholic, but on Pennsylvania's page, it states that nearly 54% are Catholic? ( ) That's a pretty significant discrepancy. AMStecker (talk) 02:13, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Because this article is wrong. 53% of religious Pennsylvanians are Catholic, which works out to 27% of all Pennsylvanians. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 01:49, 27 February 2011 (UTC).

Tens of thousands of new converts to the Catholic Church are preparing to be welcomed at Easter Vigil in 2009 per which might help improve the statistics section too. NancyHeise talk 00:39, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

I just received this article [1] that gives official statistics for US Catholics - it states "A press release from the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference affirmed Wednesday that the total number of Catholics in the country equals 68,115,001, or 22% of the population. The directory, compiled from information collected from the dioceses, notes 41,489 priests in the country, both diocesan and religious. The 189 seminaries nationwide are training 4,973 students. There are 60,715 religious sisters on record, and 4,905 religious brothers. The past year witnessed the launching of 91 new parishes, putting the total number at 18,674. Some 85,293,351 patients were served by 562 Catholic hospitals. Infant baptisms equaled 887,145, and adult baptisms numbered 42,629. Those people who were already baptized Christians but came into full communion with the Catholic Church numbered 81,775. Catholic organizations in the nation provided an estimated $28.2 billion in service through the Catholic Health Association, and the National Catholic Educational Association Catholic Charities." NancyHeise talk 03:29, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Roman Catholicism by state[edit]

In the map, the state of New Mexico is colored in dark blue which indicates that there are more than 50% Catholics. But the table says there are only 26%. So I guess, one of these two has to be updated. By the way, the German article lists New Mexico with a percentage of 75%, the Spanish and Portugese ones have New Mexico with 41%. Regards -- (talk) 15:54, 28 September 2009 (UTC) lists four estimates from 24% to 37% next to each other. They also have a map shading NM as 30%-50%. 26% sounds low to me as it is little more than half the Hispanic population. --JWB (talk) 18:19, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Pennsylvania is only 29% Catholic according to the state article. Gtbob12 (talk) 17:54, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Brian Williams might not be a Catholic[edit]

An editor changed the footnote to: "According to Catholic University, D.C." I just added that "This needs a definitive source. According to other sources, he is not a Catholic." This article concerns a living person. It needs a definitive, verifiable source, to support the assertion that Mr. Williams is a Catholic, especially since other sources say he is not a Catholic, even though he attended a Catholic high school. Many non-Catholics attend Catholic schools and colleges. Eagle4000 (talk) 21:21, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

It should not be difficult to find out if Brian Williams is Catholis---Has he done something that would definitively put him out of the church?? Has he joined another church? Some people must be his neighbors--Does he belong to a parish Or just ask him! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:43, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
The first two questions seem to assume that Brian Williams was in fact a Catholic at some point in his life ("Has he done something that would definitively put him out of the church?? Has he joined another church?"). The question suggested by me (above) is whether he ever was a Catholic in the first place (not whether he later left the Catholic Church). According to some sources, he never was a Catholic. The fact that he attended a Catholic high school does not mean he was a Catholic at the time. Many non-Catholics attend Catholic schools and colleges. I do not plan to ask Mr. Williams. Perhaps the editor who changed the footnote to: "According to Catholic University, D.C." would like to ask him. Eagle4000 (talk) 02:51, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
I've placed a "better-than-nothing" ref against his name. It refers to his "Irish-Catholic" upbringing. Maybe someone can find a better ref. Student7 (talk) 12:07, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Composition by nationality[edit]

There is a Barna quote, currently to a dead link, that white, non-Hispanic Catholics were mostly Irish, Italian or Polish. That might have been true two generations ago, but Catholics have intermarried and generally don't meet that stereotype nowdays. I am Catholic and "none of the above". My ancestors were English, Scot, French. Most of the Catholics I know will often claim one of the above as ancestry, but then, when given the third degree, admit to other nationalities as well. My "Irish" wife, proud of that ancestry, is only 1/4 Irish! The rest English, German, etc. Americans aren't purebred anything. Anyway, Barna is an evangelical and has his own axe to grind. Not really WP:RELY when he comes out with stuff like that! Student7 (talk) 12:20, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Supreme Court section[edit]

The Supreme Court section was properly identified as having a pov problem. I eliminated some of it which appeared to be top of the head stuff and took out superlatives, which rarely belong in articles, particularly serious ones. The final citation for the paragraph is an NPR correspondent, hardly a neutral source, written by a "liberal" Republican who votes Democrat. I'm not too sure what a "progressive" Democrat who votes Republican is called, but it is probably not printable!

The paragraph seems more journalism than factual reporting. The presence of the paragraph itself may be pov in itself. It is a one-issue blurb, implying placement by a one-issue person. Not very thoughtful IMO. Student7 (talk) 13:40, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Ancient figures[edit]

Just ran across a blurb in a Samuel Eliot Morison history. IN 1785, 24 priests and 25,000 adherents in the colonies, mostly in Maryland and Philadelphia. Doesn't seem to fit anyplace. Putting it here in case someone has a need for it. Student7 (talk) 02:24, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Notable Catholics[edit]

One of the problems about this type of a section is that people must be notable beyond the framework of the article itself. For example, in a state article, a governor or senator cannot be notable if that is all s/he is "noted" for. You can't manufacture your own notables, as it were! So archbishops can't be notable, for example, (but cardinals are because they are beyond the article's scope). Student7 (talk) 22:15, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I just noticed this talk page section and I was going to add it today. IMHO we should remove the Notable Catholic section or at least summarize it. There is an entire page devoted to the same thing. This section becomes fodder for vandalism and/or arguments over whether someone is "truely" Catholic. Marauder40 (talk) 19:43, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

"Belonging" to Roman Rite[edit]

A statement reads "By far most Catholics in the United States belong to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church." First, the rite is called "Latin Rite", not Roman.

Second, the reason for employing the term here at all is because of the meticulousness of the church in referring to itself as a "particular" church, whatever the heck it wants to mean by that. I suppose provinces are "particular churches" rendering the term devoid of all meaning for the public at large.

What Protestants mean by "different churches" is that if you are a "Reformed Estonian National Church" member you would not attend a "Unreformed Estonian International Church." Because they would be two different churches with two sets of beliefs, probably contradicting one another, and if they had a hierarchy, having a different hierarchy. There is no such distinction between the beliefs of a person who normally attends a Latin Rite church from one who attends, say, a Byzantine one. Catholics frequently attend either service at leisure and meet with no opposition from anyone. This needs to be made clear. Employing fussy church terms is not meaningful in this case. Student7 (talk) 23:20, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

The coverage of Eastern Catholicism in this article is poor. First of all, in the Eastern churches, they are not called dioceses, they are called eparchies. Secondly, The second largest of these communities in the U.S. is the Byzantine Catholic Church. There is no such thing as "the Byzantine Catholic Church" - Byzantine is a rite; about a dozen Eastern churches share it; which one is the second largest? The Ruthenian? I don't know. Got a source? Help us out. Elizium23 (talk) 20:42, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the Latin Rite is the largest. The Byzantine Rite of the American Catholic Church is second largest. The latter, as you point out, is shared by several Eastern Catholic Churches (in the US). (It happens to be shared by Orthodox, as well, but that is not relevant to this article). (The end.  :) Student7 (talk) 00:46, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I have corrected it to read Ruthenian Catholic Church since that section is talking about church communities and not rites. Furthermore I changed references to EC "dioceses" to "eparchies." Elizium23 (talk) 04:03, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
They were talking about rites here, not belonging to a particular;y named church. In the West, we don't have a named church! "Roman Catholic" isn't it! The Byzantines follow Rome as well and are Catholic. The rite here is Latin. The second rite is Byzantine. Ruthenian is the name of a church group and doesn't follow the structure. Besides, no one, except Ruthenians would recognize it. Most Latin Catholics won't. And nobody else. Student7 (talk) 13:31, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I beg to disagree. The paragraph I was working on explicitly differentiates between Church and Rite before mentioning the Byzantines. A rite is not a "community." There is no unit of Church organization called a "rite." In order to count members of an Eastern rite, you would have to first count members of each Church belonging to that rite and then add those numbers. No, this paragraph was referring to members of a Church community and incorrectly applied the general term "Byzantine Catholic Church." A bigger problem is that there are no reliable sources for these claims, so what we're doing here amounts to original research. Elizium23 (talk) 14:18, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I have attempted to reorder that paragraph for some clarity. In addition to needing reliable sources, we also need to trim down the huge lead section in this article. Much of the information there needs to go into new sections and be summarized or cut entirely from the lead. Elizium23 (talk) 14:31, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Found a good source for numbers broken down by patriarchate/metropolia and drawn directly from Annuario Pontifico: here (PDF). It clearly shows that the Chaldean Church is the largest in the USA. Sorry to the Byzantines. By the way, to clarify the confusion about regarding "Byzantine Catholic Church" - this is evidently what the Ruthenian Church calls itself in the USA. They dropped the "Ruthenian" moniker after Vatican II, but only in the states, apparently in an effort to go beyond their ethnic roots. Elizium23 (talk) 20:39, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with what you have said - I "belong" to a church which in turn "belongs" to the Latin Church.
I may not have actually registered though and attend whatever church I feel like. A Byzantine may be closer. This is acceptable to both churches. So it seems to me that my congregation/parish "belongs." Individual membership by individual Catholics is a bit loose IMO. Student7 14:11, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
So... this opens up a can of worms. Catholic Churches belonging to different rites have overlapping geographical territories. That is to say, a Catholic diocese belonging to the Latin Rite may overlap geographically with an Eastern Catholic eparchy. So how do you count the actual number of Catholics? Is it the sum total of Catholics registered in the parishes of each diocese and eparchy? Or is it based on some sort of statistical analysis based on attendance or other metrics? --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 17:31, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
No answer. Speculate that the figures are kind of educated guesses anyway, regardless of who makes them. "They" assume that the numbers for the eparchies and other rites are small compared to Latin so "they" are not concerned. I admit it would be a real problem if the Byzantine Rite was larger by comparison. Student7 (talk) 21:37, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth the Vatican's own numbers for the Annuario are determined by reports from the dioceses, according to this, among other places. Checking a copy of the text itself will probably reveal how the dioceses (and eparchies, if you prefer) arrive at their figures. If I had to guess I'd imagine the number is taken from the number of people registered in parishes of the different dioceses.
While I'm on eparchies, I also think the "eparchy" vs. "diocese" distinction is learned; the local Syrian Catholic Church in my area refers to itself as part of a "diocese" under a "bishop" in its publications.--Cúchullain t/c 15:11, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

First Amendment[edit]

The introduction claims that the First Amendment removed all anti-Catholic laws on the books in the United States, but that is not true. At that time, the amendment was not considered applicable to state laws, only acts of Congress. Several states had official churches even after the Bill of Rights was ratified. Miraculouschaos (talk) 18:04, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for catching this. I reworded but it no longer makes the impressive statement that the original editor intended. Probably needs rewriting or resequencing. Student7 (talk) 22:35, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Lead Changes[edit]

Due to the lead size tag I stripped much of the stuff that was in the lead and moved it to appropriate sections. Almost all of the stuff I moved was only addressed in the lead and not in the body of the article. I don't have the time to re-write the lead right now so I changed to the tag from a too-long type tag to a lead-rewrite tag since now the lead doesn't really summarize the article. If nobody else makes the attempt I will probably try sometime next week.Marauder40 (talk) 15:57, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Top six shrines[edit]

I have been an American Catholic for a long time. The only ones on this "top six" list I know were the Shrine in DC and Mother Seton, since I drive by it.

Limiting to six seems suspicious. Why six and not five?

I think they should mostly be deleted. Seems mostly like WP:SPAM for the churches, which, after all, need tourists to pay their costs of upkeep. But we aren't in business to help them do that! Student7 (talk) 18:55, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

The list is based on the reference that is supplied in the article. It is from the publishers of "The Official Catholic Directory" which is a pretty well respected source. It is not a spam list. I wasn't the one that put the list in the article but I was the person that reverted the list when people started trying to add their own personal shrines to the list. A newer version of the list is available here. link. It looks like they added the EWTN chapel and one other location to the official list. If you want to update the list and put the new reference in, feel free. Marauder40 (talk) 12:48, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, the list wouldn't stand alone as an article. This is self-promoting, and not done by a npov source. I think it is inaccurate, basically. There are probably more non-Catholics who visit St. Patrick's in NY in a week than there are Catholics visiting El Santuario de Chimayo in a month. This is clearly pov and we've gone along with it. I would like to see an npov source. Student7 (talk) 15:08, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
Did you bother to open the source that I provided? The Official Catholic Directory is a well respected resource. The USCCB even quotes its facts and figures link It is not self-promoting. You claim POV but have not provided how it is POV. Also you seem to misunderstand the difference between visited by tourists and visited as a pilgramage location. Feel free to find a different source, but if you look at this source it provides the primary Pilgramage destinations for many countries, not just the US. Just because a site gets a lot or even more visits doesn't make it a pilgramage location it makes it a tourist spot, there is a big difference. Like I said before I wasn't the person that put the list in, but it is source, it is a reliable source. Nowhere in the article does it say they are the top sites based on amount of visits, etc. There is one change that probably should happen to the article. The source does not order the destinations in numerical order it just lists them. The 1-6 in the article should be changed to bullets or some other thing that doesn't imply numbering of the locations. Marauder40 (talk) 15:44, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that this is "official." I understand that much. I do not understand the criteria for inserting the shrine on the list. It seems more what the local Patriarch (or in the US's case, the NCCB) wants on the list. Nothing to do with anything but "spiritual good" or somesuch. Fine for believers. I think out of place for an encyclopedia. I'm certain that "someone" wants it here, but the criteria appear way too vague. Maybe even nonexistent. Student7 (talk) 21:27, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
You keep saying "it seems to me" and lots of other things that imply original research to me. Everything seems to be about your feelings. This is from a source that is produced by an independant organization that is quoted by several different people besides the USCCB. I was just using them as an example of people that quote directly from the Official Catholic Directory. It almost sounds like you can't accept the list because it doesn't have your favorite Shrine in it or something. The list, lists sites within numerous countries that are the primary PILGRAMAGE locations, not tourist locations within those countries. There is a major difference between a tourist location and a pilgramage location. A pilgramage is the primary purpose of the visit, not the secondary. As an example are you going to NY to sitesee and you happen to go to St. Patrick's Cathedral, then it is a site-seeing location. If you specifically go to a place like the EWTN chapel in the middle of Alabama to see EWTN, then you are making a pilgramage. The criteria to determine which it is, is something that can be kept as records, but the records can't just include number of visits. As someone who has worked at one of the sites on the list I can tell you that pilgramage vs. tourist numbers is a quantifiable number. It is easy to tell the difference between a tourist and a pilgram. Like I said before your reason for removal sounds like YOUR personal feelings are that it isn't right yet you haven't given any reason to discount it as a reliable source other then your personal feelings.Marauder40 (talk) 21:12, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Look, why don't we just describe where the list comes from in the section?Cúchullain t/c 23:12, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
We could, but isn't the the purpose of having the reference there in the first place. But I have no problem adding something like "The following are the top six Catholic pilgrimage sites in the U.S, according to the Official Catholic Directory" or "According to the Official Catholic Directory, the following are the top six Catholic pilgrimage sites in the U.S.." Marauder40 (talk) 13:28, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Attributing it to the Directory in the text should remove most of the concerns brought up by Student7.Cúchullain t/c 15:16, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that this is "independent" (i.e. "neutral, npov). It is a deliberate attempt by bishops/patriarchs to promote (WP:SPAM) certain sites, some of which are relatively obscure. I don't understand why we would want to "promote" sites in an encyclopedia. At best, WikiTravel, but more clearly spam. The source merely provides a mechanism for selling their publication. There are people (libraries?) who will purchase this based on the "official"ness of the source. But it is still spam, nonetheless. It is bereft of data. Just a list that a committee of bishops sat down and constructed.
Nor do I see how this particularly helps the article. Inserting a group of sites, rather blatantly missing any supporting data, that people are "supposed" to visit. Student7 (talk) 22:33, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
From what I can tell this is a reliable publisher, and their list appears to have some noteworthiness. They are certainly reliable for their own interpretation of what are the top shrines in whatever country, so as long as it's properly attributed (preferably in the text) there's no reason to remove it for that reason. You could argue that this list isn't important enough to the subject, which covers the largest religious denomination in one of the largest countries in the world, but spam it is not.Cúchullain t/c 23:37, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I honestly don't see where the claim of POV comes in. Just looking through the About section for the publishers of the Official Catholic Directory they are just a division of a group called National Register Publishing which produces registries like this for Museums, Art institutions, and Finance industries. They are just a group that does things like Who's Who in x industry type publishers. Other then the fact the division is specifically set up to handle the Catholic directory itself there does not appear to be any influence by "bishops/patriarchs", etc. As I said before it seems that all the complaints here seem to be about one person's personal view.Marauder40 (talk) 13:11, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, the POV claim doesn't wash. Either the source is reliable, or it's not. Either we're reflecting what it says accurately, or we're not. My opinion is that it is and we are. We could still discuss whether the list is important enough to be in this article, but that's a separate matter.Cúchullain t/c 14:42, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, we've all seen material that came from (say) Reuters, that wasn't reliable for some sentence, but was for the rest of it, or something from Tass that, by itself, wasn't reliable. I do not agree that this particular publication from this particular publisher meets WP:RELY for this particular topic. The specifics (criteria for selection) are missing.
It is like quoting an otherwise reliable source as saying that Cleveland is the (I'm making this up. If you happen to live in Cleveland...:) grungiest city in the East. Fine. But what standards were used to make that selection? If those aren't given, how can this be used in good faith?
And why, when none of us would tolerate this in a place article, are we allowing it in a religious article? Student7 (talk) 20:24, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Richardson cite???[edit]

Notes 37-42 refer to a mystery book by Richardson--anyone know its title? Rjensen (talk) 03:53, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

Marquette is not vacant[edit]

The USCCB site asserts that Marquette is a vacant diocese. I beg to differ. According to Marquette, Bishop Sample still retains his post there, and shall continue as such until he is installed in Portland on April 2. For an exhaustive treatment of this issue, including reliable secondary sources, please see Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Catholicism/Archive_2012#Episcopal_appointments_and_WP:CRYSTAL. Elizium23 (talk) 23:29, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Poorly trained nuns[edit]

Granted, I haven't proved my point that parochial schools were one year ahead of public schools at the elementary level after World War II. But neither has the "other" editor proved his point that a poorly trained nun cannot present fifth grade material to a fourth grade class and require their mastery of that material. They were routinely doing this back then in the area where I lived. It was "common knowledge."

Also, it has been a matter of irritation to the public generally that mastery of "education" in college, per se, gives any status to a teacher. Interning might, but that is another topic. Student7 (talk) 23:02, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

The Catholics elementary schools for most of the 20c (down to the 1950s) were taught by nuns the majority of whom had not graduated from high school, and as late as 1920s a majority had never reached grade 9 (says Dolan). school. They were NOT selected for teaching ability but for religiosity. The measure of their success was NOT the academic performance of their students but how religious and well behaved they were, and how seldom they married a Protestant. There were no mechanisms for parents to change the system or even to complain about it. Parents who did not like it could and did send the kids to public schools (in the major cities I think a large fraction of the public school teachers were Catholic). The system changed radically after about 1970 and is very different today. Rjensen (talk) 08:00, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
What does this line of conversation have to do with improving the article? What edits are being contested or suggested? Do tell, please. I can't find anything likely in the history. Elizium23 (talk) 17:48, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
The article needs to cover schools because a very high priority of the RC church was (and is) to promote parochial schools as a substitute for public schools. The quality of the schools & staff is part of the high priority. My point is the prime reason for the parochial schools is to inculcate religiosity and reduce the risk of intermarriage. Rjensen (talk) 20:32, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
What reliable secondary sources are available which document your assertions? Elizium23 (talk) 21:54, 29 November 2014 (UTC)
I used Jay P. Dolan (2011). The American Catholic Experience. pp. 286–91.  --you can read the key page here; and Oates, Mary J. "The Professional Preparation of Parochial School Teachers, 1870-1940." Historical Journal of Massachusetts 12 (1984): 60-72. I also used Thomas A. O'Donoghue. Come follow me and forsake temptation: Catholic schooling and the recruitment and retention of teachers for religious teaching orders, 1922-1965 (2004) which argues that recruiting new sisters was a main goal of orders setting up schools.Rjensen (talk) 00:58, 30 November 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Politics section[edit]

The opening statement of the "Politics" section of this article states "There has never been a Catholic religious party in the United States, either local, state or national, similar to Christian Democratic parties in Europe and Latin America. Such a party would be unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause." This statement makes an uncited claim that religiously based parties in the United States would violate the U.S. Constitution, but that document makes no mention whatsoever of political parties, as is mentioned in this wikipedia article: I think this should be changed, but I am not well versed in wiki editing and do not want to take a chance on messing up this article, or in stepping on the authors' toes.3eguoxn02 (talk) 14:44, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

I have removed that statement as I could not find support for it anywhere else. I also removed a few other "references" which only cited Wikipedia articles. The whole section is poorly written and referenced and needs some attention. Elizium23 (talk) 20:26, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

Link to website[edit]

Why is there no link to their website? --TobiasVetter (talk) 11:27, 15 January 2017 (UTC)