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Darin LaHood

In time for the pope, Catholic plurality of Congress achieves partisan balance

WASHINGTON It will be the most Catholic Congress ever that hears from Pope Francis and, as of this month, the first with as many Republican as Democratic members of the church.

Two decades ago, the year before Speaker John A. Boehner initially became part of the GOP leadership and started working to arrange a papal visit, 27 percent of lawmakers were Roman Catholic but only a third of them were Republicans like him. One generation and a pair of papacies later, the Ohioan's vision is about to become a reality in a Capitol with very different faith demographics.

While the nation and its federal legislators have become more religiously diverse overall, the...