National Catholic Reporter

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Is she or isn't she Catholic?

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When word of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor began to flash through news rooms across the nation yesterday morning her Catholic affiliation quickly became an issue. She is Puerto Rican and most Puerto Ricans are Catholic. She attended a Catholic high school. So could it be assumed she was Catholic? Or was it safer to say she was "raised Catholic?" But does going to a Catholic school mean she was "raised Catholic?" What does it mean to be "raised Catholic?"

For several hours the press was in a quandry, NCR included.

One day after the appointment, the media - news stories, blogs, etc. - are still somewhat uncertain, but filled with stories about the growing "Catholic Court." If we can assume Sotomajor is a Catholic, then that would mean six members of the U.S. Supreme Court will be Catholic, assuming she gets Senate approval.

Two issues emerge: One, what constitutes Catholic affiliation today (self-affiliation?); the other, the diversity of Catholicism itself.

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Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. are all considered Catholic. They are also generally considered conservative Catholics. Sotomayor might not fit their mold.

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