When Pope Francis—the first Latin American pontiff—arrives in the U.S., he will find a Catholic public that increasingly has roots in Latin America, as Latinos now make up 34 percent of all American Catholic adults.
But what may be less commonly known is the divide between Latino and white American Catholics on some church teachings. On a variety of issues—such as recognizing gay marriages and determining eligibility for Holy Communion—Latino Catholics tend to be more aligned with the church than are white Catholics, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. And Latino Catholics are more likely than white Catholics to view a variety of behaviors as sins.
For example, while majorities of white Catholics believe the Catholic Church should allow those who are living with a romantic partner without being married (69 percent) or who have divorced and remarried without an annulment (74 percent) to receive Communion, roughly half of Latino Catholics say the same (49 percent and 44 percent, respectively).
About half of Latino Catholics say it is a sin to get remarried after a divorce without first getting an annulment, compared with only a quarter of white Catholics who say this. And about four-in-10 Latino Catholics say it is a sin to live with a romantic partner without being married, compared with three-in-10 white Catholics.