I wonder if the Catholic Church is doing much better in the UK than the Church of England? According to statistics from 2011, there were about 5.7 million Catholics in the United Kingdom; 4,155,100 in England and Wales (7.4%), 841,053 in Scotland (15.9%), and 738,033 in Northern Ireland (40.76%).
The secularization of Britain has been written about by University of Dundee professor Callum Brown in his book, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800-2000 ( Routledge, 2001).
There is nothing unique with the COE rapid decline. It is typical of liberal hierarchal state ( or historically) churches. Look at Sweden, Denmark, what remains of it in Holland.
I think that all religions specifically and in general have gone down in “membership” over the last few years there. I’ll look for stats.
This decline is not only typical of “liberal hierarchical state churches”.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Catholic Church is also experiencing a rapid decline in the UK.
We’ve already seen how much the Catholic Church has declined in Ireland so that a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage passed there last month. The number of Catholics attending mass every Sunday in Ireland has also plummeted dramatically:
In Ireland, the church, not the state, runs almost the entire education system. Until recently, social life, too, revolved around the local church. In 1984, nearly 90 percent of Irish Catholics went to Mass every week. But by 2011, only 18 percent did. It’s a massive cultural shift.
Mass attendance began dropping rapidly during the 1990s, as Ireland began its “Celtic Tiger” economic boom. The country was modernizing, urbanizing, and taking on a more global perspective, and the local church was no longer the only nexus of community life. For the first time, the country had a vigorous debate about abortion and began teaching sex education in schools. At the same time, several long-hidden scandals began to emerge. In 1992, the Irish learned that a powerful and beloved bishop, Eamon Casey, had fathered a son, and that the Rev. Michael Cleary, the “Singing Priest” with best-selling records and his own radio show, had a secret family with his housekeeper. But the biggest seismic jolt came over the last decade, when the priestly sex-abuse scandal horrified the entire country.
Or according to a Pew Research Center survey:
The percentage of U.S. Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members of the Roman Catholic Church has never been lower than it was in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the General Social Survey (GSS). About a quarter (27%) of American Catholics called themselves “strong” Catholics last year, down more than 15 points since the mid-1980s and among the lowest levels seen in the 38 years since strength of religious identity was first measured in the GSS, a long-running national survey carried out by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago.
The decline among U.S. Catholics is even starker when they are compared with Protestants, whose strength of religious identification has been rising in recent years. About half (54%) of American Protestants – double the Catholic share (27%) – described their particular religious identity as strong last year, among the highest levels since the GSS began asking the question in 1974.
From the Daily Mail:
The only Christian denomination that has remained relatively stable between the 1980s and today is Catholicism – numbers have dipped slightly from ten per cent to eight per cent.
Mr Brierley said the Roman Catholic Church had benefited from the influx of immigrants in recent years, particularly those from Eastern Europe. He added: ‘It is not just Poles. Many others are joining the Church when they come here, from Filipinos to Portuguese. There are seven different Catholic churches just for Croatians in London.’
A category called ‘Other Christian’ has also remained steady, boosted by the rise of largely black congregations attending Pentecostal ‘mega-churches’.
Naomi Jones, of NatCen, said one explanation for the Anglican decline is that fewer people see Christianity as being an important part of their British identity.
Sadly, this is exactly what’s wrong with jolly old England. Even Prince Charles calls himself “Defender of faith” rather than “Defender of THE Faith.”
Let me speculate that the normalization of homosexual practice in society, along with the increase in coverage of violent religious radicalism, will spell the rapid decline of “membership” within many religious communities over the next few decades. People will increasingly look around and see the religious groups condemning people living in normalized and seemingly peaceful homosexual unions while others are out there cutting off people’s heads in the name of God… and putting these two realities together will start to make people think that religion condemns people for seemingly “arbitrary” reasons like sexual orientation while otherwise being poised against the peace and stability of the world. That’s at least what I see happening in people’s minds, particularly those of my generation. I don’t know how long this will last, or whether people will eventually be persuaded from this mindset, or what’s going to happen, but it’s troubling, and I don’t know what can be done about it.
Unfortunately this seems to be the case. We are slowly becoming unbelieving people. Thanks for pointing glaring statistic like this. Christians should be aware of the decline in church practice in the Western world. This should all the more stir the hearts of people about salvation of their souls. Ominously the Gospel tells us that when the word reaches all part of the earth, the end is nigh which makes it imperative for us to be all the more vigilant, as the time will come like a thief in the night.
There are consoling news that while Christianity is declining in the Western world, it is growing in the third worlds, like Africa and Asia. So perhaps, after all, the word of Jesus will still come to pass that the Gate of Hell will not prevail against His Church.
I don’t think so. I think that Islam has been growing.
It is very much typical of those churches and the COE is a shining example of that. Catholicism is mixed growing in places and declining in the secular west. Its is a testament though that even in places with long held British colonial rule it is very rare for Anglicanism to be the largest Christian faith in that nation. I wouldn’t say that catholicism has beaten off the tide of secular liberalism but as opposed to the COE types which are falling much quicker. Look at the Netherlands a former protestant stronghold now a tiny minority faith smaller than catholics, Germany once majortiy protestant went atheist in the eastern part (as opposed to places like poland) and is still declining faster in the west. Even in the czech republic Hussites collapsed faster than catholics despite anti clerical sentiment.