Argentina: Catholicism in a Nosedive

August 18, 2022

On his blog Settimo Cielo of June 13, 2022, the Vaticanist Sandro Magister gives the figures on the alarming decline of Catholicism in Argentina, Pope Francis’s homeland.

A recent survey, relayed by the pope's biographer, Sergio Rubin, on the site on June 5, reveals that “in Argentina, those ‘without religion’ have come to be 22 percent of the population, when half a century ago they were practically absent. While over the same timespan Catholics have dropped from 90 to 52 percent.”

Sandro Magister provides these details: “Argentines who say they trust the Catholic Church are also in freefall: from 52 percent in 2017 to 31 percent today. The same goes for Pope Francis’s approval rating, which fell from 62 to 52 percent over the same period.”

“Conversely, among those who still call themselves Christian there are rising numbers of ‘evangelicals,’ charismatics, and Pentecostals, who in Argentina today make up 12 percent of the population.”

And to extend this worrying vision to the whole of South America: “In all this Argentina reflects a trend at work for years in the whole of Latin America, where already in 2018 there were at least seven states in which Catholics had fallen below half the population, led by Uruguay, historically the most irreligious, followed by other Central American states.”

“But today, even in a giant country like Brazil, Catholics have to less than half. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, they are 46 percent, with the lowest troughs, below one third, in the favelas.”

The Roman Vaticanist recalls: “Pope Francis dedicated an entire synod to the Amazon in 2019, and a few days ago he appointed as cardinal the bishop of the largest city in the region, Manaus [the progressive Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner]. But while the Church is fighting for the preservation of nature, the number of Catholics is in continual decline. Today they are only 46 percent of the 34 million inhabitants of the Amazon basin.”

“In Chile as well Catholics have recently dropped below the threshold of half the population. And Argentina, as has been seen, is very close to this, and in addition has been orphaned by [Francis] its countryman pope, who has never set foot there again since he was elected, nor intends to do so in the future.”