Catholicism Migrates Southward
Many of these Catholic congregations are taking on characteristics of the evangelical Protestant "Bible belt" churches that dominate the region. These parishes tend to be more conservative and more readily accept papal authority -- including teachings about birth control and abortion -- than their Northern brethren.
Meanwhile, established dioceses in the Northeast are seeing declining populations, and are being forced to close churches and parochial schools. If this demographic trend continues -- combined with possibility of a new pope in the near future -- the face of American Catholicism will change, attracting new believers while driving away others.
Sources: TIME, Queens Chronicle