France : Religious practice on the decline among Catholics

Source: FSSPX News


An enquiry on the establishment of Christianity has been carried out by Ifop  between 2004 and 2007 amongst 111,000 French people. The study underlines the decline in the number of Catholics in France : 64.6% in 2007, compared with 68.7% in 2001. more worrying still is the drop in the number of regular churchgoers : 8.6%, compared with 9.9% who attended Mass at least once a month in 2001.

 The survey carried out on a very large sample of the population enables us to note the different evolutions according to regions. Thus we see the regions with a strong Catholic tradition, which continue to hold out : in Eastern France (Lorraine, Alsace, Franche-Comté and as far as Saone-et-Loire), the south of the Massif Central, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. And also to a lesser extent, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais and  Haute-Savoie. “The most solid bloc of Catholicism today is in the East rather than the West”, said Jérome Fourquet, the assistant director of the department of public opinion of Ifop.

  Conversely, regions once considered to be traditionally not very Catholic are today above the average. This is the case in the Corrèze and in the ultra radical-socialist Tarn-et-Garonne. “Zones where untimely de-Christianization has ceased earlier” explained Jérome Fourquet. These are also rural areas which have aging populations.

 The Ifop map/chart shows to what extent de-Christianization touches urban areas first : Nantes and Rennes, Strasbourg, but also the Rhone, Isère, the Gironde, Marseille and the Paris Basin all have below average numbers of Catholics. Throughout the survey, Ile-de-France distinguishes itself by a level of religious practice above the average, the highly practicing West Parisians compensating for the much lower figures in the East. (Sources : Apic/La Croix)