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Report: Europe’s youth abandoning Christianity

A new report, Europe’s Young Adults and Religion, reveals that European youth (ages 16-29) have abandoned the Christianity of their ancestors in large numbers, and now many young people, in some countries more than 50%, do not identify with any religion at all. In addition, large majorities of young Europeans say they never pray.

The report was prepared by researchers at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham in London and the Institut Catholique de Paris. The report’s author is Prof. Stephen Bullivant of St. Mary’s University, where he directs the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society.

Some of the major findings from the study, which covered 22 European countries, include the following:

The proportion of youth (16-29) that said they do not identify with a religion was 91% in the Czech Republic. Estonia was 80% no affiliation with a religion; Sweden, 75%; France 64%; Spain, 55%; Germany 45%; and Austria 37%.

In Poland, only 17% of youth said they had no religion; 25% of Lithuanian youth said the same. In Israel, only 1% said they had no religion.

Seventy percent of Czech youth and 60% of Spanish, Dutch, British, and Belgian young people said they “never” attend religious services.

Eighty percent of Czech youth and 70% of Swedish, Danish, Estonian, Dutch, French, and Norwegian youth said they “never” pray.

As for the proportion of young people who identify as Catholic, in what was once known as Christendom, it is less than 50% in most of the countries surveyed. For instance, several countries had high proportions: Poland, 82% identify as Catholic; Lithuania, 71%; Slovenia, 55%; Ireland, 54%; and Portugal, 53%.

However, in all the other countries surveyed the proportion of Catholic young people was often far less than 50%.  In Spain, it was 37% of youth who identified as Catholic. In Switzerland, 24%; France, 23%; United Kingdom, 10%; Norway, 2%; Sweden, 1%; and Denmark, 1%.

As for weekly Mass attendance, only 2% of Belgian youth said they go every week. In Hungary, 3%; Austria, 3%; Lithuania, 5%; and Germany, 6%.

However, in Poland 47% of the young people said they go to Mass every Sunday. In Portugal, 27%; Czech Republic, 24%; and Ireland, 24%.

The report further found that “only 26% of French young adults, and 21% of British ones, identify as Christians. Only 7% of young adults in the U.K. identify as Anglicans, compared to 6% as Muslims. In France, 2% identify as Protestants, and 10% as Muslims.”

Commenting on the report, Prof. Bullivant said, “Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good — or at least for the next 100 years.”

In 20 to 30 years, “mainstream churches will be smaller,” he said, “but the few people left will be highly committed.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said that Pope Benedict saw all of this coming. “He saw the effects of multiculturalism as clearly as anyone, showing how a contempt for moral truths that adhere to the Judeo-Christian ethos has led to ‘a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological.” said Donohue.

“The de-Christianization of the West has yielded such fruit as record high levels of abortion, out-of-wedlock births, homosexuality, divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, prostitution, drug abuse, depression, and suicide,” he said.  “This is the natural outcome of a civilization that has allowed moral relativism to triumph over Christianity. Just as Pope Benedict XVI said it would.”

(Courtesy of CNSNews.com)

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