Where have all the faithful gone?

The Church of Ireland diocese of Down and Dromore is suffering a drastic drop in congregation numbers with just 17% attending Church of a Sunday.

Baptisms and Sunday school attendances are also down.

In the same Irish Independent article, as far as I can understand it (could be Galway), there has been a 50% drop in the number of Catholic baptisms in Dublin between 1965 and 1995.

Some would take this as further evidence of a crisis for Christianity in Ireland and a further indication of how out of touch the established Churches are with the people of this island. Or is it simply a case that religion is no longer the glue that binds much of our society together?

  • Alan

    *Or is it simply a case that religion is no longer the glue that binds much of our society together?*

    Yes – makes you wonder – when today’s *Thought for the Day* was based on Star Wars!

  • Charles

    In the south, Protestantism is the fastest-growing religious affiliation. Staid and aging congregations are being reinvigorated by an influx of African baptists, pentacostalists and anglicans, and for the first time in a century, new churches are having to be found. I’m not much for God-bothering myself, but it’s nice to see the stereotype of the monolithic catholic state being undermined. Islam is also on the increase, and the pagans were out in force on Tara yesterday. In the absence of overt atheism (my own stance), I can only say, so much for the catholic republic, thank God…D’oh!

  • fair_deal

    On top of the growing secularisation of life, the CoI has fallen into the same trap as the Anglican church did in England. The more meaningless it makes its message the less people see the value in it.

    In England it is the evangelical and anglo-Catholic sections that are growing while the liberal section is in decline (however, the voting structures of Anglicanism means this section remains strong on the Synod).

    In Northern Ireland it is the smaller evangelical Protestant churches that are growing (a social trend I personally believe is underpinning the DUP’s growth).

  • Young Fogey

    In England it is the evangelical and anglo-Catholic sections that are growing while the liberal section is in decline

    Maybe because a lot of the liberals are liberal Anglo-Catholics, still by far the dominant strand of the Church of England in terms of numbers of adherents.

    (however, the voting structures of Anglicanism means this section remains strong on the Synod).

    Utter and total bull, Fair Deal, especially as English General Synod is elected by STV among all clergy and all lay Deanery Synod reps. I’m mulling a Syond run, btw, so I really ought to know these things.