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Decline in religious practice and a high presence of women in the Catholic Church

Different surveys also show a low rate of religious practice among the Catholics. Thus, the 2004 CSA survey on the French and religion had shown the following results:

Prayer practice Attend a religious service
French population % Population of believers % French population % Population of believers %
Often 23 36 12 20
- At least once a day 15 24 - -
- At least once a week 6 9 9 15
- At least once a month 2 3 3 5
Rarement 35 49 59 65
- Once in a while, a few times a year 21 32 20 28
- Only for ceremonies and important feasts 14 17 39 37
Never 40 13 28 14
- Do not answer 2 2 1 1
TOTAL 100 100 100 100

The 2005 TNS-SOFRES survey on the practices of the Catholics revealed that although 24% of Catholics claim to have prayed or attended the mass at least once, during the weeks before the survey, 58% say they did not attend any religious service.

In 2010, the IFOP survey on the practices of the Catholics also showed that most practicing people are women. In France, 61% of practicing Christians are women even though they only represent 52% of the total population.

A study of several surveys (étude du cumul des enquêtes TNS Sofres) October 2011 to March 2012 reveals that out of the 58% of French claiming to be Catholics (13% declaring to be from another religion and 29% without religion), 8% are monthly churchgoers, 15% irregular churchgoers, and 34% do not have a religious practice (Pierre Bréchon, "Religion et irréligion. Quels effets sur l’orientation politique et le système de valeurs ?", Triélec 4 mai 2012).

August 2014

D 25 September 2012    AAnne-Laure Zwilling

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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