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Church attendance on slow decline

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ROME – Italians, once thought to be among the most devoted churchgoers, seem to be slowly becoming less devoted. Every year the number of Italian believers attending religious services becomes lower and lower. In 2020, there were about 12 million citizens attending house of prayer at least once every week, around 6 million worshippers fewer a decade earlier.

The most prayerful were the citizens older than 75, whereas the lowest number of individuals attending religious services at least once a week was recorded in the age group between 18 and 24.

According to current estimates, only 25 percent of Italians attend mass at least once a month, including. The remaining 40 percent attend only on Christmas, Easter, or for weddings and funerals. Also, 35 percent wait outside at weddings and funerals.

Included among those who do attend at least once a month elderly people and kids who are preparing for the sacraments and whose preparation involves going regularly to church.

Usually they do so because somewhere there is an elderly grandma who would be upset if the child wasn’t christened, communicated, and confirmed. In addition, people, especially in the provinces, go to mass at Christmas because everyone else does, not out of faith. Finally, in Italy only about 48 percent of marriages take place in church, and the number is dropping.

When asked why they left the religion, 64 percent of the Italian respondents stated that they disagreed with their religion’s position on social issues. Another 60 percent of the interviewees were unhappy about scandals involving religious institutions, whereas 6 percent left the religion because they married someone outside the faith.

Although the dominant religion in Italy is Catholicism, Italian citizens also belong to other religious minorities. In 2018, the largest share of individuals who were not belonging to the Roman Catholic Church were Protestants, followed by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Jews.

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