Nearly 5 adults received Catholic baptism on Easter in France


While a 2021 poll indicated that the share of French people believing in God, all religions combined, had fallen below 50%, recent figures seem to indicate a certain growing interest in Christianity in a post-confinement period. A phenomenon that affects even young people.

49% of believers, it was the result of the IFOP poll for the Professional Association of Journalists of Information on Religions, published in September 2021, a fall of 6 points compared to 2004. Therefore, by asking the Harris Interactive Institute to conduct a survey to identify Christians and their expectations, the French Radio-Television Committee (CFRT), which produces the program Le Lord's Day didn't expect to be surprised by the results.

According to a poll published on March 30, 46% of French people say they are close to the Christian religion or believe that it is "very useful" for them. A figure which surprised "rather positively" Benoît Cassaigne, president of the CFRT who underlines however that "The day of the Lord was first in audience share on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. “during confinement.

However, the details show that 48% of this 46% are "remote", that is, they have received a Christian culture and education, but do not practice. The survey also reveals that 18% have no real Christian education, but are "curious" about religious subjects, and that 44% of this share are between 18 and 34 years old. The survey was conducted among 2 people, the majority of whom were over 807 years old.

A doubling of the number of baptisms in two decades

This interest of young people for religion largely explains the number of adult baptisms in the Catholic Church in France on the occasion of Easter. For the first time, the number of baptisms rose above 5 with no less than 5 adults who received the sacrament - they were 4 last year.

The figure continues to rise year after year to the point of doubling in twenty years. In hollow, it reveals a sharp decline in the number of presentation of children to the Church, as underlined by Pauline Dawance, director of the national service of catechesis and the catechumenate of the episcopate, in Le Figaro:

"This French phenomenon denotes a strong spiritual and evangelical dynamic. It is unique in Europe, because no Church in the Old Continent baptizes so many adults, which is also explained by the strong dechristianization in our country."

The age categories of the catechumens go in the direction of that of the interest of young people for the religious indicated by the poll of Harris for the CFRT. While 18-25 year olds represented only a quarter of the baptized three years ago, they constitute a third of them this year. And all socio-professional categories are concerned, with in particular 37% of workers, technicians or employees or even more than 20% of executives, teachers or liberals.

Women represent 63%. On the other hand, the number of people of Muslim origin who followed the catechumenate decreased to 3% whereas they were between 4% and 7% in previous years. At a time of zapping and relativism, the interest is all the more obvious since the catechumenate is a demanding formation of at least 18 months which can be much longer for some people.

If two-thirds come from backgrounds of Christian culture, "a quarter of an hour they have absolutely no knowledge of Christianity", explains Pauline Dawance who adds that many parents are evangelized by their children. Others converted after hardships or "spiritual quests passed through a place of pilgrimage" followed by research on social networks.

Baptized last year at age 26, Agathe, had been worked by "existential questions about the meaning of our passage on Earth", after the death of his grandmother who had given him his first Bible. She says she felt "snatched up" by the presence of God on several occasions.

Jean Sarpedon

Image credit: Shutterstock/Bjorn Beheydt

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Summary of news for September 22, 2023

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