Charleston, S.C., Aug 9, 2018 / 23:27 pm
In the thick of the Bible Belt, the famously evangelical Protestant region in the southeastern United States, some Catholic Masses are filling to standing-room only.
Meanwhile, many Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran churches are struggling to keep enough people in the pews to justify opening their doors.
It has widely been reported that the U.S. as a whole is losing its religion, with Protestant mainline churches seeing the most decline over the past 15 years. But two key factors are contributing to Catholic growth throughout the south: a boom in the Hispanic population, and the southern migration of Catholic retirees and families from the Northeast.
St. Gregory's Catholic Church in Bluffton, along the southern coast of South Carolina, particularly illustrates this shift along the Bible Belt - the congregation grew by a massive 70 percent in just 10 years, and now claims 10,000 registered members. Even though South Carolina is gaining in population, the growth of this parish outpaces even that of the state, according to local newspapers.