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Roman catholic the most common religion in Ireland but decreasing

Photo by Gerd Altmann for Pixabay

As the last census in 2022, Catholicism remains the most common religion in Ireland with more than 3.5 million people who reported their religion as Catholic. This counts for almost 70% per cent the population.

Photo by Ri Butov for Pixabay

After the Roman Catholic religion, the second largest religious group is the Church of Ireland or England, Anglican and Episcopalian which counts for 124,749 followers. On the other hand, Islam and Orthodox follow them with 81,930 followers for the first one and 100,165 for the second one.

Even though the Catholic religion is still the most predominant religion among the population, it has been losing followers. Whereas the people who identify without any religion grows. Specifically, this group grew 187% more compared to the last census of 2016.

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The reason for the Catholic church losing followers is very much debated but Father Flannery in a recent report from last year considers the sexual abuse scandals to be the main reason for the decline of the Catholic church. He considers that this is driving the people away from the religion.

Father Flannery also considers that the church is not aligned with modern-day society as is difficult for young people to find a space to think of religion.

In 2016 the number of Catholic adepts was 3,696,644, almost 90.000 more than in the 2022 census. In almost every age group female who identified as catholic surpassed males, specifically as the group age was increasing.

Young generations, commonly considered or referred to as millennials or Gen Z, feature as the less likely group of the population to believe in the Catholic religion reflecting exactly what Father Flannery reported. Reasons for this are the large amount of information to which young generations have access nowadays.

Testimony from Elizabeth Coppin

This wide access to information left them exposed to sexual abuses by institutions run by the Catholic church such as the scandal of the Magdalene Laundries.

This scandal consisted of asylums that were run by the Catholic church for more than two centuries, where “fallen women” were put to work and kept prisoner for “rehabilitation”. In these asylums, numerous women were reported to have been beaten by nuns in there.

Testimonies from the Magdalene Laundries

Overall, these younger generations do not identify with an institution that has been reluctant to change its values and beliefs towards a society that is constantly changing and looking for acceptance.

Topics such as those related to the LGBTQ community, abortion and the prohibition of women to become priests are still not well assimilated by the Catholic church.

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