France: religious feastdays losing their significance

Source: FSSPX News


An opinion poll carried out for La Croix, August 8 and 9 2003, reveals that the French are becoming less and less attached to religious festivals. The same survey, which was carried out in 2001 with identical questions, reveals developments over the past two years. It shows an increasing disaffection towards religious festivals.

To the first question: “Among the following, which are those you attach the most importance to on a religous level?”, here are the replies for 2003 with those of 2001 in brackets:

Christmas: 74% (75), Easter: 37% (40), All Saints’ Day: 9% (14), the Assumption: 7% (8), Pentecost: 4% (4), Ascension: 2% (3).

All these Catholic feastdays are seeing their religious importance diminish, while only the Islamic fast of Ramadan has increased in importance, from 4 to 6%. We might ask ourselves if the greatest disaffection, that of All Saints’ Day, falling from 14 to 9%, is connected with the promotion which Halloween enjoys these days.

The second question allows to specify the nature of the importance the French people who were asked, attached to these festivals. It was formulated thus, “Are religious feastdays occasions for you to be with your family, to reflect on the meaning of life, to go in to a Church or a place of worship, or to pray alone?” Here are the responses from this year, with 2001 in comparison:

To be with ones family: 80% (83), To reflect on the meaning of life: 41% (48), To go to church: 35% (42), To pray alone: 31% (33).

We are thus witnessing a slow erosion in the strictly religious dimension of these festivals, which are no longer anything more than “weekends”, synonymous with leisure and family gatherings. The French have not lost their sense of feast, it is the feast which has lost its religious meaning. It is feasting for its own sake.