Young Hispanics Leaving the Catholic Church?

Posted: 7:00 PM EST Mar 01, 2013   Updated: 10:40 PM EST Mar 01, 2013

A recent Gallup poll suggests Hispanic Catholics are now less religious than their Protestant counterparts and the younger generation is converting out of Catholicism.

Traditionally, Hispanics have been, for the most part, Catholic however a new poll by Gallup shows many younger Hispanics are trading in the Catholic faith of their parents and grandparents and looking towards Protestant alternatives.

Senior pastor of El Shaddai Bethlehem Ministries, Marilyn Hartman says she believes the music as well as the opportunity to be interactive is what makes Protestant churches so attractive to young people.

"Our moms and dads and grandmothers and grandfathers, they know the ritual so they feel comfortable. Young people are exploring, they want something new," said Hartman.

The poll also found that younger protestants between the ages of 18 and 29 are more religious than their Catholic counterparts by 19%.

But the so called exodus from the Catholic church isn't necessarily reflected locally, according to a spokesperson with the Diocese of Allentown which covers 5 counties, their largest parish is in Reading.

St. Peter's church has over 12,000 parishioners and according to the Diocese, they're mostly Hispanic.

Still, the Dioceses is looking to bolster its efforts.

"We are trying to expand and improve our youth ministry to Hispanic youth," said the spokesperson.

Regardless of where they go, Reverend Hartman says she's just happy to see younger people in places of worship.

"I'm glad that the young people are going to congregations and going to churches and looking for a relationship with God. That for me is awesome,” she said.