Catholicism to be more traditional in France

Decline of Catholicism

Over recent decades, a significant decline of Catholicism in France suggests it could become a minority religion.

France is the homeland of St Joan of Arc and St Louis.

The significance of the decline has sociology of religion expert Guillaume Cuchet suggesting that in a few decades time it could be overtaken by Islam, evangelical Protestantism and, above all, by people with no religion at all.

Cuchet believes this trend may also lead to a more traditional and observant approach among minority Catholics.

The survey, released in April 2023 by the Insee Trajectories and Origins survey (Téo 2), shows that only 25% of French people aged 18-59 declared themselves as Catholic in 2020, compared to 43% in 2008.

Those with no religion reportedly increased from 45% to 53%, and those identifying as Islam increased by 37% over the same period.

Sociologist Yann Raison du Cleuziou argues that the decline of Catholicism is mathematically self-evident based on the crossover between the younger Catholic and Muslim generations.

The generational reproduction rate for Islam is much higher than for Catholics, indicating a stronger transmission of religious values within Muslim families.

The rate of children born to Muslim families in France is 24% higher than Catholics and 22% higher than evangelical Protestants.

Migration to France has also shaped the religious landscape, with Islam and evangelical movements on the rise.

However, experts agree that the decline in Catholic religious practice and its transmission within families dates back to the mid-1960s.

Observers attribute the decline of religious practice to the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent changes in pastoral care.

The impending release of a potentially devastating report about sexual abuse allegations at France’s Community of St John has directed renewed attention towards the country’s fragile state of the Church. There are fears the release of the report could further increase the decline of Catholicism in France.

Concluding its findings, the report suggested that “Jewish and Muslim families transmit their religion better than Catholic families,” implying that a potential solution to the diminishing Catholic faith lies in placing greater emphasis on religious education and formation.


National Catholic Register



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