Coming out as Catholic
Pat Reardon, a contributor to U.S. Catholic, poses an interesting question in today's Chicago Tribune: Is Catholicism trendy? 
The reason he asks is three recent books by Catholic figures: Anne Rice recently released Called Out of  Darkness: A Spiritual Confession  (Knopf); Joe Eszterhas of Showgirls and Basic Instinct fame wrote about his conversion in Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith  (St. Martin's Press), and Kerry Kennedy (daughter of RFK) interviewed 37 Catholics in Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning  (Crown).
Are Catholics making a reconquista of pop culture? Trying, perhaps, to learn from evangelical Christians by speaking about the faith in a public way?
To me, what is most interesting about the increased chatter on Catholics' faith lives is that these Catholics are willing to criticize and disagree with their church while still loving it. (See Bustedhalo's interviews with Rice  or this review of Kennedy's book .) Some may criticize them, but I think these prominent Catholics reflect how a lot of normal Catholics feel. Is that why Catholics are the popular kids on the block again--because they are normal?