The National Catholic Review

CARA's blog "1964" looks at the Catholic makeup of Britain in honor of the pope's recent visit:

The size of the Catholic population in Britain has changed little since the last papal visit in 1982 (growing only 2.7%). The most recent Vatican estimates indicate just fewer than 5.2 million Catholics in Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland). There is also now nearly the same number of Catholics across the Irish Sea in Ireland and Northern Ireland combined...

Underlying the stability of the size of the Catholic population in Britain are indications of potentially significant change. A British online panel study (the same respondents are interviewed over the period of several years) conducted as part of the British Election Study (BES) series estimates that as many as 13 percent of those who self-identified as Catholic in 2005 no longer did so when interviewed in 2010. Most of those who left Catholicism (76%) did not join another religion and instead now report that they are not a member of any religion. Yet the panel study also shows that this changeover has had little if any impact on the size of the Catholic population because a similar proportion of respondents who were not Catholic in 2005, have converted (or returned) and now self-identify as Catholic in 2010. These changes are similar to the shifts identified by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in the United States (an estimated 10.1% of those raised Catholic indicate that they no longer identify as such now). 

Read CARA's report.

Tim Reidy

Comments

William Lindsey | 9/24/2010 - 4:55pm
See also the Pew Forum report, "A Portrait of American Catholics on the Eve of Pope Benedict's Visit to the U.S." at
http://pewforum.org/Christian/Catholic/A-Portrait-of-American-Catholics-on-the-Eve-of-Pope-Benedicts-Visit-to-the-US.aspx.

It states,

"Overall, roughly one-third of those who were raised Catholic have left the church, and approximately one-in-ten American adults are former Catholics."
William Lindsey | 9/24/2010 - 4:50pm
What the Pew study says is this: ''Overall, one-in-ten American adults (10.1%) have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic . . . .'' (see http://pewforum.org/Faith-in-Flux%283%29.aspx).

I read that to say that 10.1 percent of American adults are former Catholics - not that ''10.1% of those raised Catholic indicate that they no longer identify as such now.''

The Pew Forum reports, ''Approximately one-third of the survey respondents who say they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic'' (see http://religions.pewforum.org/reports).

Am I misunderstanding the figures as reported by Pew, or do they not point to a significantly higher percentage of Americans who were raised Catholic having left the Catholic church?