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Catholic World News News Feature

France is no longer Catholic, survey shows January 10, 2007

France should no longer be considered a Catholic country, according to a survey published by Le Monde des Religions.

The survey showed a steep decline in the number of French people identifying themselves as Catholics: from 80% just 15 years ago to just over one-half-- 51%-- today. Over the same period the number of professed atheists rose from 23 to 31%.

Among the respondents who did identify themselves as Catholics, only 10% attend church services regularly, the poll showed. More remarkable, only half of the self-identified Catholics say that they believe in God. Some respondents indicated that for them, Catholicism involves a social or cultural identity rather than a religious commitment.

“Catholicism will remain the most important religion,” said Frederic Lenoir, the editor of the survey in Le Monde des Religions, citing the fact that the Catholic Church still claims many more adherents than any other faith. However, he said, “In its institutions and in its mentality, France is no longer a Catholic country.”