By Dan Merica, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new survey paints a picture of a less-strict American Catholic community, with 86% of respondents stating they believe a Catholic "can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church."
Among the most devout, older Catholics, Mass attendance has fallen from 64% in 1999 to just over 50% in 2011, according to a new survey of American Catholics.
And as those older Catholics die, they are replaced by a millennial generation that questions some of the church's social beliefs and attend church less often than older worshipers.
Editor’s note: Ross Murray is director of religion, faith and values at GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
By Ross Murray, Special to CNN
America is embracing its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Don’t believe me? Just look at the progress being made in faith communities.
The Christian church was once considered the final holdout for those who oppose equality for LGBT people. Staunch believers could gather in worship with people who thought just like them to hear sermons affirming the anti-LGBT beliefs they held in common.
For those of us who identify as LGBT, church was a place of fear and secrets. We had to figure out how to hide ourselves or how to find a more welcoming community.
But that is changing.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.