Thursday, February 15, 2007

Catholics set to pass Anglicans as leading UK church :: The Times

And it's not merely because the CoE is in decline (or should I say has bottomed out?).

Ruth Gledhill in The Times:

Roman Catholicism is set to become the dominant religion in Britain for the first time since the Reformation because of massive migration from Catholic countries across the world.
A Church of England spokesman said: “I don’t think you can talk in terms of decline in the Church of England. It is fairly clear that with small fluctuations the worshipping population of the Church of England is 1.7 million a month. That is actually a stable figure.”
From being an Irish-English church in a mindset of managing steady decline, the Church has within the space of 12 months found itself having to countenance an unprecedented expansion and change in its ethnic make-up.

Figures for 2005 show that there are 4.2 million Catholics in England and Wales, under one fifth the 25 million baptised Anglicans and double the number of Muslims.
Gledhill refers to a report but provides no clarity about whose report. She does refer to "Cambridge researchers" in the last paragraph.

25 million baptized Anglicans and monthly attendance of 1.7 million. Hmmm. I believe the Americans do better than that.


This is London:
Today's report ["Ground of Justice"], by the Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge, said most of Britain's Catholic migrants settle in London, where some parishes are now holding Sunday Mass from 8am to 8pm to cope with the influx.

Figures from 2005 show there are 4.2million Catholics in England and Wales, under one fifth of the 25 million baptised Anglicans and double the number of Muslims. But those figures will have been overtaken by the recent arrival of so many Catholics from eastern Europe.

The scale of the growth became apparent last May when thousands of Catholic migrants attended a Mass in Westminster, prompting the dioceses of Brentwood, Southwark and Westminster to commission the report.
The Telegraph:
Catholic churches are struggling to cope with huge numbers of new worshippers arriving in Britain from Eastern Europe, according to a new report.

In at least three London parishes, more than three-quarters of those attending Mass were found to be illegal immigrants, while others are using churches as job centres and social welfare offices.

It is not known exactly how many Catholic worshippers are now in Britain, because of the unknown number of illegal immigrants, but their numbers are expected to rise by hundreds of thousands over the next few years while Church of England congregations face a slow decline.

Researchers at the Von Hugel Institute at St Edmund's College, Cambridge, interviewed 1,000 migrants as well as members of the clergy to find out how the Church is being transformed by mass immigration from countries such as Poland, where up to 95pc of new arrivals to Britain are practising Catholics.

Their report states: "The Catholic Church is undergoing a shift in its ethnic make-up, social diversity and relationship with the rest of the international Catholic community.
Independent Catholic:

Statement from Von Hugel Institute
We are not some rogue body.
VHI emphasises that their report is about need of the immigrants not the number of them - hence the title, "Ground of Justice".

The media - and I, too - are taken by the numbers.

No comments: