CNA Staff, Dec 2, 2020 / 08:20 am
Bishops in Switzerland lamented Wednesday a record exodus of Catholics from the Church in 2019.
In a statement after their virtual plenary assembly Dec. 2, the bishops acknowledged new figures showing that last year saw the highest annual number of “church exits” on record.
They noted that the statistics, compiled by the Swiss Institute for Pastoral Sociology in St. Gallen, showed that older people were also leaving the Church.
“The bishops believe that the pandemic could accelerate this development in the coming months,” the statement said.
“The trend is worrying and will bring about changes in the medium to long term. Nevertheless, the bishops affirm that the Church as the Body of Christ is much more than a collection of facts and figures.”
The new figures, released Nov. 19, revealed that the Catholic Church lost 31,772 members in 2019 -- equivalent to 1.1% of the total membership of the Catholic Church in Switzerland.
This marked a 25% increase on the previous year, when 25,366 people left.
Researchers noted sharp differences in the departure rates of the country’s 26 cantons, or member states of the Swiss Confederation.