Recent studies on marriage show that while their rates of divorce are significant, US Catholics are less likely to divorce than people of other religious affiliations, reports the Catholic News Agency.
'Although the Catholic divorce rate is lower than the US average it is still a daunting figure,' said the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
In a September 26 blog post, the research group explained that divorce among Catholics 'represents more than 11 million individuals,' many of whom 'are likely in need of more outreach and ongoing ministry from the Church.' In its article, the organisation explained that different ways of tallying divorce and marriage rates create a range of different divorce figures, including the oft-quoted statistic that 'half of all marriages fail.'
Looking at national surveys, 'Catholics stand out with only 28 percent of the ever-married having divorced at some point,' the blog post stated, compared to more than 40 percent of those with no religious affiliation, 39 percent of Protestants and 35 percent of those of another religious faith.
Furthermore, Catholics who marry other Catholics are also less likely to divorce than Catholics married to people of other faiths.
A 2007 survey from the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate estimated that only 27 percent of Catholics married to other Catholics have ever experienced divorce, compared to nearly half of Catholics married to Protestants or to spouses with no religious belief.
The organization also pointed to data showing that the number of annulments requested has continued to decline in the past two decades. In 1990, there was one annulment introduced for every 4.5 marriages, while in 2011, there was one annulment for every 6.5 marriages.