Black Catholics More Engaged

According to a survey commissioned by the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC), African American Catholics experience their religion more deeply than either their white Catholic or black Protestant counterparts.  Some of the findings include the following:

* 48% of African American Catholics said they attend Mass at least weekly, compared to 30% of white Catholics in the survey.  Weekly attendance by black Catholics varied from 58% in predominantly black parishes to 34% in predominantly white parishes.
* Nearly 80% of black Catholics, compared to 60% of white Catholics, said they would seek a priest’s  or pastor’s help for a death in the family.
Regarding racial considerations,
* Less than 25% of all U.S. black Catholics agree that their Church is racist regarding African American Catholics.  At the same time, less than half were satisfied with how the Church promoted black vocations, promoted racial integration, or supported issues like affirmative action or attention to problems in Africa.
* As to the perceived racism within their own parish, nearly a third of black Catholics feel uncomfortable at least sometimes when they were the only blacks there.  About 25% felt they were avoided because of their race, or that others were reluctant to shake their hands, or their pastor was insensitive to issues important to their racial group.
–“African Catholics Today,” by Darren W. Davis and Donald B. Pope-Davis, released by the NBCC on November 11, 2011; website (


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