04/15/2008 - When Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Washington, D.C., today on his first U.S. papal visit, he'll see a Catholic Church of great vitality — facing great uncertainty.
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The USA's 67 million Catholics live in a vibrant world of faith and service, rooted in nearly 19,900 parishes. Lay people, particularly women, have risen to new heights of participation and leadership. Where priests are scarce and overburdened, they keep the lights on.
Yet this is a church under duress.
It's challenged by intense competition from secular culture and other religions. About 10% of people born Catholic say they're no longer Catholic, according to a February study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Read the complete article U.S. Catholics at a Crossroads on USA Today's Web site.