(USATODAY) — The religious journey of Marco Rubio has more twists than a pretzel. By his account, he was baptized a Roman Catholic, then baptized a Mormon, then got his parents to return to the Catholic Church and to enroll him in parochial school, from which he quickly withdrew — all before he turned 13.
Rubio now attends Catholic churches as well as an evangelical Protestant megachurch that his wife (whom he married in a Catholic ceremony) joined during a period when Rubio himself had drifted away from church.
Pope Francis’ first U.S. visit next month will focus attention on the 2016 presidential candidates’ religious backgrounds, many of which contain almost as many shifts as Rubio’s.
In this, the candidates reflect a big part of the nation they hope to lead, one characterized by looser religious loyalties and what a report this year by the Pew Research Center called “a remarkable degree of churn in the U.S. religious landscape.”