More than 90% of Poles identify as Catholics despite increasing secularization

42904026010 c719d8a869 k Mass at Poznań Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Poland, on Jan 1, 2012. | Mazur/

More than 90% of Poles identify as Catholics despite increasing secularization, according to a report published on Friday.

The "Church in Poland" report, issued March 5 by the Catholic Information Agency (KAI), said that 91.9% of Poles described themselves as members of the Church. It found that 36.9% of Catholics regularly attended Mass. 

A little more than 3% of Poles described themselves as having no faith, while 0.9% identified as Orthodox Christians.

The report also highlighted worrying trends for the Catholic Church in Poland, noting that religious practice among young people had halved in almost 30 years. 

The report said that the number of Poles expressing support for the Church's moral teaching -- especially on sexual ethics -- had also declined. Only 20% of Catholics said that they considered premarital cohabitation to be morally wrong.

The number of people expressing esteem for the Church fell to 41% in December 2020, though it rose slightly to 46% in January 2021.

A summary of the report provided by the Polish bishops' conference said that the coronavirus crisis had "highlighted the process of weakening of collective religious practices and ties with the parish already underway in recent decades." But it had also strengthened "family ties and religiosity." 

The report said that the Polish Church had two cardinals, 29 archbishops, 123 bishops, 33,600 priests, and around 19,000 religious sisters.

There were 2,556 seminarians in 2020. In the academic year 2020-2021, 438 new candidates for the priesthood are in formation. Of these, 289 are in diocesan seminaries and 149 in religious orders, notably the Dominicans. 

There are 1,883 Polish missionaries worldwide, serving in 99 countries on five continents.

There are 1,050 Catholic shrines in Poland, of which 793 are Marian. The most popular is Jasna Góra Monastery, home to the icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, which welcomed 4.4 million pilgrims in 2019, including 133,000 on foot.

The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, linked to the apparitions of Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska, receives about two million pilgrims from 90 countries.

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