Farewell, "Catholic" Spain, in a Europe Ever More Secular. While in the United States... June 4th > Italiano > English > Español > Français In the latest ponderous survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center on the state of Christianity in Western Europe, the most arresting figures are those on Spain and its accelerated shift from “Catholic” to ultrasecularized. The whole survey is worth reading: > Being Christian in Western Europe But here it should suffice to recall a few figures. First of all, the numeric foothold of Christianity in Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, where four-fifths of the population still identify themselves as Christian and where at least monthly religious practice is 40 percent in Italy, 35 percent in Portugal, and 34 percent in Ireland. In these three countries there are still relatively few, 15 percent, who call themselves atheist, agnostic, or without any particular religion, the statistical “nones” of the illustration. Who are instead very numerous in the four countries that are decidedly the most secularized in Western Europe: - Holland, where those without religion now outnumber the Christians, 48 percent versus 41; - Norway, with 43 percent without religion and 51 percent Christian; - Sweden, with 42 percent without religion and 52 percent Christian; - Belgium, with 38 percent without religion and 55 percent Christian. In four other countries of Europe as well, secularization is at a very advanced stage: in France, Germany, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. Here it goes way back and is now growing at a less headlong pace, with those without religion today making up between 21 and 28 percent. The big surprise is instead presented by Spain, where atheists, agnostics, and those without religion are now at 30 percent of the population and have reached that level in a very short time. To measure how overwhelming secularization has been in Spain, it should be enough to note that the growth of those without religion has in a few years brought Spain almost to the same level as the four most secularized countries in Western Europe, meaning Holland, Norway, Sweden, and Belgium. But with one significant difference. While in these four countries those who now identify themselves as without religion have mostly been born and raised in a family setting far from the faith, in Spain no fewer than five out of six of them were Catholics in their youth and almost all of them have been baptized. The overall picture in Spain today is the following: - Christians with at least monthly religious practice, 21 percent; - Non-practicing Christians, 44 percent; - Without religion, 30 percent. It must also be noted that even among practicing Christians, fidelity to the Church on some crucial questions is very uncertain. 49 percent of them, in Spain, are in favor of the legalization of abortion, and 59 percent in favor of homosexual marriage, in proportions greater than those - even though these are over 40 percent - that are found among practicing Christians in the three most “Catholic” countries of Western Europe: Italy, Portugal, and Ireland, this last fresh from a referendum on the legalization of abortion that saw the “yes” win with 66 percent of the votes. The manner in which the faith is being abandoned in the various European countries is described by those interviewed as a “gradual withdrawal” from it, not traumatic. But in Spain, three out of four interviewees trace it back to “scandals involving religious institutions and leaders.” From the survey as a whole, therefore, there emerges a stark difference between Western Europe and the United States. While in Europe those who practice their religion at least once a month account for 31 percent of Christians, in the United States they are more than double this, 64 percent. And here 9 percent of citizens who say they have no particular religion practice some form of worship at least once a month. In Europe, 14 percent of Christians pray daily, and in the United States 68 percent, plus 27 percent of those without religion. Those who believe in God with absolute certainty are in Europe 23 percent of Christians, and in the United States 76 percent, plus 27 percent of those without religion. Those who assign religion a place “very important in their lives” are in Europe 14 percent of Christians and in the United States 68 percent, plus 13 percent of those who do not identify with any particular religious faith, Chiesa News ..