Rorate Caeli

The Church of Vatican II
France: A Church on the road to extinction

Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread.

- Pope Benedict XVI, Homily on the Opening Mass of the "Year of Faith", October 11, 2012


Another breakthrough of Vatican II, and I should put this in the first place: Catholics have finally found the taste of the word of God. The Bible, that once seemed somewhat hermetic, is now open to all and has awakened our faith. (Autre avancée majeure du concile Vatican II, et j’aurais dû la mettre en tête : les catholiques ont enfin trouvé le goût de la parole de Dieu. La Bible, naguère, leur paraissait quelque peu hermétique, elle est maintenant ouverte par tous et elle a réveillé notre foi.)

- Philippe Cardinal Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyons and Primate of the Gauls, Interview with Paris Match, September 27, 2012. 


 Le Corbusier, Dominican Monastery of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, 1960. Created to house a boom in vocations, it now houses less than a dozen Dominican friars. Source.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, Ifop / La Croix published a survey (Les Français et le catholicisme 50 ans après Vatican II - h/t to Le Salon Beige) on the state of Catholicism in France as of this year vis-a-vis the results of a similar survey in 1961. It contains important, updated information on the percentage of baptized Catholics in France and of church attendance in the same country as based on the survey results. The study itself was carried out only in late September of this year. In brief, the results of the survey are:

Baptized Catholics:

92% in 1961
80% in 2012

Mass attendance:

(Note: what is translated here as 'sometimes' is to be understood as 'sometimes in the course of the year' - quelquefois dans l'année.)

Among all French, whether baptized Catholic or not:

1961: 35% every Sunday or more, 33% sometimes, 24% never, 8% non-baptized.
2012: 6% every Sunday or more, 28% sometimes, 46% never, 20% non-baptized.

Among all baptized Catholics:

1961: 25% every Sunday, 13% "as often as possible", 36% sometimes, 26% never
2012: 5% every Sunday, 2% "as often as possible", 35% sometimes, 58% never

Regarding Mass attendance among baptized Catholics in 2012, by age group:

Age group 65 and above:

15% every Sunday, 4% "as often as possible", 35% sometimes, 46% never

Age group 50 to 64:

3% every Sunday, 3% "as often as possible", 38% sometimes, 56% never

Age group 35 to 49:

2% every Sunday, 1% "as often as possible", 37% sometimes, 60% never

Age group 25 to 34:

1% every Sunday, 1% "as often as possible", 33% sometimes, 65% never

Age group 18 to 24:

No figures (0%) for every Sunday, 2% "as often as possible", 19% sometimes, 79% never