Catholic converts on the rise: East Tennessee among nation's top 10 growth areas

There was the man inspired by the written words of Pope Francis. There was the agnostic professor. And there was the widow of a Baptist preacher.

All of them Tennesseans, and all of them recent converts to one of the world’s oldest Christian faiths.

In the South, Catholicism is growing. The Diocese of Knoxville was recently ranked among the top 10 in the nation for its rate of adult conversions.

Diocese of Charlotte here, and I have said it before, I believe that God is doing something special here in the South! How it’s going to work I don’t know, but I believe that something wonderful is happening.

I don’t mean to be cynical, certainly evangelization (or full evangelization, so to speak) of new areas is a wonderful thing and a work of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time I think this sort of thing is a part of the modern world. In the West at least we are becoming more and more individualistic. This means that communal ideologies are breaking down. That’s part of why we are seeing Catholicism decline in areas where it was traditionally strong and rapid growth in areas that were traditionally closed to the Catholic Church. I expect this to continue and for the ratio of converts to cradle Catholics to go up.

I think when people genuinely seek to follow Christ, they can not help but hear a call to His Church. For various reasons, they may not convert right away, or at all, but I believe many, many devout Southerners are called to the Church.

Thanks for posting this article.

Absolutely. Half of the men’s group I am in are converts. Most cite The Eucharist and the Truth as the reason.

Congratulations to them all, they have surly found the “Pearl of Great Price.” God Bless, Memaw

Praise God ! ! ! :highprayer:

Having lived in Middle Tennessee (and the Bible belt) for a short period of time where the Catholic population in our area was not only very small, but very Protestantized as well, this is as awesome as it is surprising.

Doesn’t surprise me at all. I think Flannery O’Connor was talking about the South when she said it was Christ-haunted? (I would argue we all are actually.) The South has always heard God loud and clear, not that they always listen. And I do think the intensity and fervor of Southern Protestantism has played an incredibly important role in keeping the Christian faith on the radar in modern America. (O’Connor acknowledged this too.) It’s a natural progression and a beautiful thing indeed for those folks to come home to the fullness of the true Church.

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