Paris, France, Jan 12, 2007 / 09:57 am
A leading French religious magazine declared on Tuesday that France is “no longer a Catholic country” after a poll indicated that the number of French Catholics dropped by 30 percent in the past decade.
"In its institutions, but also in its mentalities, France is no longer a Catholic country," wrote Frederic Lenoir, editor-in-chief of Le Monde des Religions.
In the early 1990s, French Catholics made up over 80 percent of the population. According to the poll, they currently make up 51 percent, and only half of these said they believe in God. The latter said they retained a Catholic identity because it was family tradition.
Meanwhile, the number of atheists rose from 23 percent in 1994 to 31 percent.
Only 10 percent of the French population attends church regularly.
Still, Catholicism remains by far the dominant religion in France. The poll shows that Muslims make up four percent of the population, Protestants, three percent, and Jews, one percent.