My 85-year-old Hispanic grandmother sits on the edge of her bed every night, eyes closed, as she holds the delicate crystal and black beads of her rosary and prays. She is among the 24 percent of Americans who practice Catholicism.
The rest of the 315 million Americans put their faith elsewhere.
So when Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope to resign in 600 years, and while many anxiously wait for Vatican officials to choose his successor – including my grandmother – the rest of America was more excited about the Harlem Shake epidemic.
Let’s face it, the pope is not relevant to American Society. The United States may be the land of the free, and the home to a colorful spectrum of races, cultures, values and religions, but it’s a country known for Hollywood, The Big Apple and obesity, not for its deep religious affiliations.
We breed celebrities and social media, not the next Pope.
The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey reveals that one-in-four Americans aged 18 – 29 are not currently affiliated with any particular religion, and Catholics only make up 77.7 million of the 315 million in the American population according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. Census.
“While those Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular religion have seen the greatest growth in numbers as a result of changes in affiliation, Catholicism has experienced the greatest net losses as a result of affiliation changes. While nearly one-in-three Americans (31 percent) were raised in the Catholic faith, today fewer than one-in-four (24 percent) describe themselves as Catholic,” according to the Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.
Protestants make up 51 percent of the U.S. population followed by Evangelical churches with 26.3 percent. In a population dominated by the two faiths, and younger generations seeking general self-improvement rather than religion, the pope doesn’t rank high.
What’s added on to the pope’s irrelevancy is the outdated traditional belief system it has upheld. Suppressing women, forbidding contraception, condemnation of the gay community, and opposition to abortion are the traditions the Pope still preaches. However 58 percent of Catholics in the U.S. say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Thirty-two percent say abortion should be legal in some cases and 16 percent say it should be legal in all cases according to the Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.
The pope’s views and ideologies don’t merge with the vast majority of American society today. He’s associated with a religion that weighs too light in this country and is competing with generations whose interests lie elsewhere.
It would take a lot more than a Twitter account to capture full American interest.