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Catholicism will be region's largest religion by 2020

READ MORE: Catholicism will be region's largest religion by 2020
Religion in our region can be traced back to the area's first settlers. In the 1770's the steeple for St. James Episcopal church on 3rd street was already part of our skyline. As the region grew, so did religions here. The number of institutions increased from forty to more than three hundred in the past 60 years, making Wilmington one of the most diverse areas in the buckle of the Bible Belt. We're still changing. Throughout the south many spend their Sundays in a Baptist or Methodist church. In Wilmington, Catholicism has become one of the area's largest religions. "The Roman Catholic church will continue to grow as it has for the last decade or so due to both Hispanic immigrants and retirees from other regions of the nation," said Walter Conser, UNCW Professor of History and Religious Studies. In the last 15 years the number of Catholics statewide has increased from from 85,000 to 207,000. Ninety-five percent come from out of state. "At St. Mary we have people from every continent of the world, except for Antarctica," said Priest Father Bob Kus of St. Mary Parish. St. Mary is the oldest of the three parishes in Wilmington. Most congregants in St. Mary parish come from Latin America. Like Juan Tovar and his wife Macarena who came here from Mexico five years ago. "We are Catholic and were raised Catholic. But here it's a very important activity for us," Juan Tovar said. "It's like getting in touch with the people with the same traditions, language and you identify with them." When the Tovars came to Wilmington, the church was all they knew. Same for many Hispanic immigrants, who've made the church the center of their community. "Chruch has a different role than in Mexico," said Tovar. "Over there it's like the spirit part. Here, it's like spirit plus networking." The surge has Father Bob Kus working overtime to adjust. He says he's doing his best to learn Spanish and keep up with the new rituals. "When I first became a priest, people would ask me to celebrate a particular ritual that we had maybe in mexico and I would say 'I'm happy to do that, how do you do it? and they'd say, well I don't know. And as I'm doing it, they'd say, Padre?! Where's the candle? and I'd say, oh you want a candle," said Father Bob. "I had to learn as I went along." It's an important job. Particularly when the church is one of the only ways this new community is keeping old traditions alive. "We don't really speak English much in church," said Andrea Tovar, Juan and Macarena's nine year old daughter. "There's a lot of Mexican people and they wouldn't understand us if we talked in English," said Andrea's younger brother Jose, who is seven. "We don't want one side of our life to disappear and be around for a long, long time," Andrea added. St. Mary recently added two more weekend masses. One in English and one in Spanish. By 2020 Clergy say there will more of both. Tune in next week for part two of our look at Cape Fear religion as we take a look at how the Baptist church plans to grow with the region.

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As for the difference

As for the difference between Catholics and, say, Baptists, it is my understanding that Catholics believe you receive eternal life through Jesus Christ as well as good works. Other Christians believe, as the Bible says, you receive eternal life through Jesus Christ alone (so no man can boast about his good works). I would love clarification of this if this is not correct. In regards to a struggle between evolution and Adam & Eve, that should be no struggle for a Christian. There have been reports that scientists are way off in their determination of how old Earth actually is. Darwin himself had only a very primitive microscope. When a well-known Darwinian scientist was asked why everyone jumped at Darwin's The Origin, he replied that it was because a belief in God interfered with their sexual morays. In other words, if one believes in evolution and not that God created man as the Bible says, then they have no guilt feelings about what they do that is not in keeping with the Word of God. The Bible, which I believe to be the inspired Word of God, states that God created man, and the Bible gives a very detailed genealogy of man. Evolution is a fairy tale.

Your post was just as silly.... the first time you posted it. Actually, sillier. You cannot refute the Potassium Argon ratio as an accurate tool to measure the age of the Earth. Has it ever occured to you that God may have used evolution as his creation mechanism? Why does it have to be pure science devoid of God or pure Genesis devoid of science? Do you actually believe that blowing a trumpet caused the walls of Jericho to collapse? Or did God send an Earthquake? Is it possible that Natural Law is one of God's most useful tools? The Bible may be the inspired word of God, but it was written by men who likely didn't know very much about Earth Science. BTW, it's sexual MORES. I don't think you'd want to have sex around a moray. They have huge teeth and bite aggressively.

Catholicism Taking Over??

I don't understand how an anachronous, superstition-filled religion (Catholicism) can continue to grow. The RC church has a pope who thinks he is smarter than science, discourages education in that field (heaven forbid it may prove stupid dogma like Transubstantiation FALSE), and hasn't developed since the Dark Ages. Virgin Mary appearing all over the damn planet, and the more time goes by, the more the RC church "knows" about Christ -- I figure in a few more years they'll know his shoe size. Good grief, how can some people be so STUPID??

Re: Idamilli

Since you appear to be the "local/regional expert" on the catholic faith you would be interested in to know that according to Pope John Paul II, there is room for science and religion to "co-exist" (but I guess you already knew that.) Another thing the Catholic Church is big on education and constantly strives to improve education among all of God’s creatures. It educates us about world events, living conditions of the impoverished and forgotten of society and yes, even science (just to name a few). There is a big difference between superstition and faith. It is a shame that obviously do not know the difference between the two; I welcome you to attend our mass at St. Mary. We welcome everyone, as we are all part of the Kingdom of Christ.

Why the hatred of Catholics?

Are your comments toward all Christians? Are you aware that Catholics are Christians? I believe the Catholicism is oldest Christian denomination (I could be wrong). You speak of Catholics discouraging Science education but don’t all Christians struggle with that; Adam & Eve versus evolution? My thoughts of the Pope are that he is in a leadership role. Any large group must have a leader. You mention Transubstantiation being false but many Christian religions partake in Communion. Why the hatred of Catholics alone?

You underestimate the lingering resentment toward Rome

Rest assured that for many people, hatred of the Catholic Church has been festering for five-hundred years, being passed down generation to generation. When I first came to North Carolina, the KKK had a sign welcoming people to Smithfield. The image of a midnight rider was surrounded by words assuring everyone that they were fighting "Communism, Integration, and Papism." (Catholicism) Lest you think that such strong beliefs are reserved for the lunatic fringe element, remember that British law currently prohibits a Catholic from ascending to the throne, or marrying a Catholic while seated upon the throne. Still, there's nothing sillier than Catholics fighting with Protestants or Sunnis battling Shia'ites over who is holier.

Catholicism Taking Over??

No, I DON'T hate Catholics per se -- I just hate superstitious nonsense that has no basis in fact. There are some Christian religions that are far more sensible and believable. Also, many other Christian religions view Communion as SYMBOLIC...go argue with them.

Why the hatred of Catholics?

If you’re looking for a "believable" religion so that you are able to comprehend what Faith really means, I do feel very sorry for you. You say you “hate superstitious nonsense” but in the next breath commend other Christians for their “symbolic” use of communion. I apologize for the Catholic that must have done you wrong, because it is quite clear that you are a person filled with rage. Your response to the last comment even ended with " go argue with them": "they" are not posting rambling comments on a website sir, YOU are. I don't see the last comment as argumentative; I see it as an opinion. Faith* is just like an opinion; it is what each of us believes. I truly hope you have a blessed day. *faith [ fayth ] (plural faiths) noun: 1. belief or trust: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof

It's my understanding that

It's my understanding that the way in which Catholics differ from, say, Baptists is that Catholics believe you enter heaven by believing in Jesus as your personal Savior as well as good works. Other Christian religions believe, as the Bible says, the only way to eternal life is by accepting Jesus as your personal Savior. I would love for someone to clarify this for me if you know differently. Also, as for Christians struggling with Adam & Eve vs evolution, that should not be a struggle for a Christian. There are many books, lectures, etc., regarding that scientific theory is way off when it comes to the age of Earth. Darwin himself only had a very primitive microscope when he was doing his studies, and major evolutionists have said the reason Darwin's theory was so embraced by scientists and others is because belief in God interfered with their sexual morays. In other words, if they believed in evolution and not God, then they didn't have to feel guilty about doing whatever they wanted. The Bible which I believe to be the inspired Word of God says God created Adam & Eve, and the Bible also gives a very clear genealogy of man. As for me, that's the end of discussion as far as evolution is concerned.


Haven't you ever heard of Theistic Evolution? Do you seriously think the earth is only like 6,000 years old, despite overwhelming hard evidence that this is far from true? These are the things that I find both amusing and astounding about fundamentalists...if you take the bible literally, you run into all kinds of contradictions. Think about it: You believe in the literal story of Noah and the ark? If so, he was one very smart man, as after the land dried up, he returned all the marsupials to Australia, the polar bears to the north and south poles (this is particularly amazing in that there were only TWO of each set of animals - if one polar bear went to the north pole (male), and the female to the south pole, how did they procreate?); if you insist on believing this way, your house of cards will tumble every time.

6000 years of Civilized human. What I think

I think 6000 years mean that the world start to filled in by civilized human (Adam and Eve) and start growing.
That 0 of 6000 years ago means the first civilized human is created/born.
I do not know what happen before more than 6000 years ago. Could be a dinosaur times or bigbang etc you call it.

But that is what I believe about 6000 years of mankind walk on this earth. =)



Pope's Knowledge

So the pope may know Jesus' shoe size? That is AMAZING...glory hallelujah, I just became a believer! Forgive me, I'd forgotten that the pope knows ALL THE SECRETS of heaven and earth!! I'd better be careful or I'll never get to kiss his ring.

Catholicism is not a RELIGION

I appreciate the article, however, I must set you straight on one major point: Catholicism is not a "religion" unto itself. Christianity is the religion, Catholicism is a branch of such. We call these branches "denominations" (i.e. Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc.). The world's major religions include Christianity, Judaism, Buddhaism, etc.