Europe

Religion and Europe's Young Adults

5 key findings from a report to Catholic Bishops into the faith of young adults in Europe:

  1. The proportion of young adults (16-29) with no religious affiliation (‘nones’) is as high as 91% in the Czech Republic, 80% in Estonia, and 75% in Sweden. These compare to only 1% in Israel, 17% in Poland, and 25% in Lithuania. In the UK and France, the proportions are 70% and 64% respectively.
     
  2. 70% of Czech young adults – and c. 60% of Spanish, Dutch, British, and Belgian ones – ‘never’ attend religious services. Meanwhile, 80% of Czech young adults and c. 70% of Swedish, Danish, Estonian, Dutch, French and Norwegian ones ‘never’ pray.
     
  3. Catholics make up 82% of Polish, 71% of Lithuanian, 55% of Slovenian, and 54% of Irish 16-29 year-olds. In France, it is 23%; in the UK, 10%.
     
  4. Only 2% of Catholic young adults in Belgium, 3% in Hungary and Austria, 5% in Lithuania, and 6% in Germany say they attend Mass weekly. This contrasts sharply with their peers in Poland (47%), Portugal (27%), the Czech Republic (24%), and Ireland (24%). Weekly Mass attendance is 7% among French, and 17% among British, Catholic young adults.
     
  5. Only 26% of French young adults, and 21% British ones, identify as Christians. Only 7% of young adults in the UK identify as Anglicans, compared to 6% as Muslims. In France, 2% identify as Protestants, and 10% as Muslims.

download the report

Christians in Europe — more dying than being born

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According to Pew Research Christians remained the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people. But the number of Christians in Europe, is in decline.

But among Christians in Europe deaths outnumbered births by nearly 6 million from 2010 to 2015. In Germany alone, there were an estimated 1.4 million more Christian deaths than births.

Demographics is destiny. Unless you start winning Europeans who are far from God.

Background on Belgium

 Some background on Belgium from the Economist

Its ancient cities are cradles of Christian art and learning, and Catholicism is in many ways the country’s raison d’etre. When it was created in 1830, the kingdom offered a political home to Catholic Dutch-speakers who preferred to unite with French-speaking co-religionists than with Protestants with whom they had a common tongue. Faith had trumped language.

But Belgium’s devout heritage has been traded for secularism and Islam has stepped into the void.

… as Christianity’s role has waned, so too has Belgium’s ability to hold together the two linguistic camps. And a new creed, Islam, is gaining importance all the while.

This is especially true in the capital Brussels

… some parts of which host large communities of Moroccan and Turkish immigrants, mostly from religiously conservative regions of those countries. Among respondents in the city, practising Catholics amounted to 12% and non-practising ones to 28%. Some 19% were active Muslims and another 4% were of Muslim identity without practising the faith. The atheist/agnostic camp came to 30%.

Demographics is destiny:

Among all respondents, levels of active adherence to Catholicism seemed to diminish dramatically with age, while the practice of Islam increased correspondingly. Thus among respondents aged 55 and over, practising Catholics amounted to 30% and practising Muslims to less than 1%; but among those aged between 18 and 34, active adherence to Islam (14%) exceeded the practice of Catholicism (12%). Admittedly the sample (600 people in all) is small. But if this trend continues, practitioners of Islam may soon comfortably exceed devout Catholics not just in cosmopolitan Brussels, as is the case already, but across the whole of Belgium’s southern half.

Belgians may be cultural Catholics, but the evidence is they are not practicing Catholics.

The percentage of avowedly “practising Catholics” far exceeds the numbers who actually turn up at mass, as any cleric will confirm. But one thing is pretty clear. If anything holds Belgium together through its third century of existence, Catholicism will not be the glue.

A tax on church

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Here’s a great idea. German bishops stop weddings and funerals unless religious taxes are paid - Telegraph.pdf

The government collects the tax on behalf of the church. If the believer doesn’t pay tax, take away the sacraments (Catholic) or forget about becoming a godparent, getting married in a church or taking a job in church-affiliated hospital or kindergarten (Protestant).

It’s all the rage in Germany where the Catholic Church receives about €5bn annually from the tax. For Protestants, the total is just above €4bn.

Similar arrangements exist in other parts of Europe where church and state were intertwined for centuries.

What’s the fruit of this cosy relationship? Decline and decay.

What’s the movement alternative? Churches that are self-governing, self-financing, self-correcting and self-reproducing.

UPDATE: link fixed.

A tax on church

church_2354380b.jpg

Here’s a great idea. German bishops stop weddings and funerals unless religious taxes are paid - Telegraph.pdf

The government collects the tax on behalf of the church. If the believer doesn’t pay tax, take away the sacraments (Catholic) or forget about becoming a godparent, getting married in a church or taking a job in church-affiliated hospital or kindergarten (Protestant).

It’s all the rage in Germany where the Catholic Church receives about €5bn annually from the tax. For Protestants, the total is just above €4bn.

Similar arrangements exist in other parts of Europe where church and state were intertwined for centuries.

What’s the fruit of this cosy relationship? Decline and decay.

What’s the movement alternative? Churches that are self-governing, self-financing, self-correcting and self-reproducing.

UPDATE: link fixed.