Ireland: Catholics in Constant Decline

Source: FSSPX News

St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh

The 2022 census figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Ireland reveal the inexorable fall of Catholics across the country, from 79% in 2016 to 69% in 2022, compared to 84.2% of Irish residents who called themselves Catholics in 2011. Currently, 14% of Irish residents indicated “no religion” on the census form.

While only half of Dublin’s inhabitants (53%) say they are Catholic, Catholic identity remains strong in rural Ireland, with County Mayo having the highest number of Catholics (80%), closely followed by other rural areas such as Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, and Galway counties (79% each).

Part of this decline can be attributed to changes in migration patterns. In the space of six years, the number of those who call themselves Orthodox Christians has risen from 60,000 to over 100,000. Those who call themselves Muslims, from 63,443 in 2016 to 81,930 in 2022.

The decline in the number of Catholics does not surprise the Church in Ireland. Because despite high rates of Sunday practice, the pews are empty and diocesan surveys show that the elderly are the most numerous demographic attending Mass.

“At the same time, our political leaders and NGOs will continue to see these figures as an opportunity to extend their call for the ouster of the Church, especially from the areas of education and health. The Church is about to collapse in all spheres of Irish life – political, cultural and social – if we do not put an end to its decline,” warns Ruadhan Jones on La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana of June 5, 2023.