The Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury recently warned that Christians may soon become strangers in their own land. Rt Rev Mark Davies shared this message with more than 1000 Catholics during a five-day prayer fest that was organized in Norfolk.
After recent data from the government revealed that Christians might emerge as a minority in Britain, Davies urged those in the audience to take a clear stand for their faith. According to the data shared by the bishop, most Britons would not refer to themselves as Christians by 2020 and close to 4000 churches are likely to shut down by the same year if the congregation continues to diminish at the existing rate. Davies is known to be one of the most outspoken critics of the British Government’s plans to legalize gay marriage.
The Catholic Church in France too seems to be on its last legs. According to recent reports, more than a third of France’s general population and about two-thirds of France’s youth identify themselves with no religion. The same report suggests that only one in twenty people attend Mass regularly in the country.
Father Innocent Feugna is an African minister and known for his work in northern France. He stated that his congregation is aging and gradually dying out too. Feugna pointed out that not only are church-goers growing old, but church officials are aging too. Since the average priest in France is 75 years old, foreigners are often imported when religious services need to be conducted. According to the deacon, the youth of France has different aspirations and their interests lie elsewhere.
Douglas Yates, professor at the American Graduate School in Paris and assistant professor of political science at the American University of Paris has the same take on the changing scenario. According to him, Africans are replacing the native priests in France as they grow older. This trend is common in rural areas. As France has become more secular over the years, the Church has become eye-to-eye with atheists and agnostics. Yates substantiates the growing fear by saying, if the existing trend is to continue, the Catholic Church will indeed become a minority religion.