Yonat Shimron at the News & Observer in Raleigh reports today: “In a rare joint appearance on the steps of the General Assembly, North Carolina’s two Roman Catholic bishops announced an initiative to create a unified voice on public policy issues affecting the state.
“The move represents an effort to flex a political muscle that has strengthened in recent years. For generations, Catholics represented less than 1 percent of the state’s population and North Carolina was considered by church leaders as “mission territory” ripe for evangelism. But with an influx of newcomers from Northern states as well as Mexico and Latin America, Catholics — numbering about 800,000 across the state — now want to be heard.”
Interesting fact: 30 years ago, the state’s Catholic population was about one-tenth what it is today. The vast increase is the result of Northeastern and Midwestern residents moving South (count me in that group), and of course, the state’s growing Hispanic population.
Shimron also writes: “As part of that initiative, (Raleigh diocese Bishop Michael) Burbidge (right) said the dioceses will send a questionnaire to gubernatorial candidates as well as to North Carolina’s U.S. House and Senate delegation asking their views on a host of issues. The results of that questionnaire will be posted on the Web site in October.”