August 10, 2001

Catholic Church Losing Members in Tijuana

According to the Mexican statistical institute Inegi (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática) the percentage of Tijuana residents that identified themselves as Catholic fell from 90.3% in 1980 to 82.19% in the year 2000.

The Catholic Bishop of Tijuana, Rafael Romo Muñoz, said that the change is due to people's ignorance and a lack of knowledge about their own religion. This makes people easy targets for proselytizing religions and sects, he stated. Romo also said, "These people who don't know their faith have been in part abandoned by us, this is clear, and we are not going to throw all the blame on them and their ignorance. The size of the Catholic population makes it difficult for us to attend to everyone."

The bishop also explained that immigrants with different faiths are arriving to the area because it is a border city.

Juan Rosario Martínez Lugo, pastor at the Iglesia de Dios de la Profecía (Church of God of the Prophecy), said that people are hungry to listen to the word of God and that the Catholic Church has been careless in not giving people a better understanding of the Bible and God's laws and commandments.

82.19% of the population says that it is Catholic, 7.41% defines itself as Protestant, 3.07% of the population describes itself as belonging to non-evangelical Bible religions and 0.03% of the population says it is Jewish. 0.31% of Tijuana's population practice other religions and 5.3% said they do not have a religion. 1.69% did not specify if they have a religion or not.

Protestant churches are defined as evangelical churches and other religions such as the Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist faiths. Examples of non-evangelical Bible religions (religión bíblica no evangélica) are the Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witness and Mormon churches. No explanation for the distinction was given.

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