Religion: Fewer Catholics

The Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. had a net loss of members during 1969−the first since records were begun in 1889. Membership, The Official Catholic Directory reported last week, fell by 1,149 to a new total of 47,872,-089. This is hardly a dramatic plunge, particularly coming amid a generalized crisis in organized religion that has shrunk the ranks of other U.S. churches. Yet it reflects, chiefly, a falling off of conversions and a decline in infant baptisms. And these are trends that may give Catholic leaders pause−even though the church is still more than four times larger than any other...

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