San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

More Catholics Leaving Church

BISHOP José Francisco Ulloa, head ofthe Episcopal Conference, says the country’sCatholic Church is worried about thedeclining numbers of faithful Costa Ricans.“God is passing into a second plane,”he said, referring to God’s fall from importanceon Costa Ricans’ lists of priorities.“What most worries us is those who areleaving the Church are not going to otherreligions, rather they are becoming indifferentto spiritual concerns,” Ulloa told thedaily La Nación.According to a poll released last monthby the School of Mathematics at theUniversity of Costa Rica, 71.3% of CostaRicans call themselves Catholics, comparedto 77% one year ago (TT, Aug. 13).Ulloa said the decrease means 658 peopleleave the Catholic Church every day.A poll by the private company Unimerpublished by La Nación revealed that 52%of those interviewed said they no longerbelieve in the Catholic Church, comparedto 44% who said they do believe.Analysts say this exodus from theCatholic Church is in part because of thehigh number of cases of alleged sexualabuse by priests.In August, Ulloa said the cases of sixpriests involved in sex crimes againstminors would be submitted before Vaticanauthorities to determine whether those menwould be relieved of their religious duties.Ulloa did not reveal their names, butsaid eight other priests are being investigatedfor complaints filed against them andcould face similar consequences.–AFP

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