WSJ – Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale

WSJ – Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale

Pew Research and WSJ Data on Percentage of Population who say They are Unaffiliated with Any Religion in 2010

Source: Wall Street Journal and Pew Research Data

The Wall Street Journal featured a page one article this weekend highlighting an alarming trend – ‘Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale’ as the number of attendees has diminished over many years.

Journalist Naftali Bendavid reports “the closing of Europe’s churches reflects the rapid weakening of the (Christian) faith in Europe, a phenomenon that is painful to both worshipers and others who see religion as a unifying factor in a disparate society.”  By example, the Netherlands is projected to close 2/3 of its Roman Catholic churches in the next decade.

Pew Research Center data, presented by the Wall Street Journal, highlights the degree to which the European population reports no religious affiliation:  France (28%), Germany (24.7%), Italy (12.4%), Netherlands (42.1%), and the United Kingdom (21.3%).  By contrast, 16.4% of the United States population is unaffiliated with any religion.

Downward trends for Christianity in Europe are not matched by Orthodox Judaism which “has held relatively steady” and Islam “which has grown amid immigration from Muslim countries”.  Interestingly, in the United States, some statisticians “think America’s future (for closing churches) will” model Europe’s in the near future.

Another presentation of alarming data sheds insight on the “percentage of Christians who say they attend church services at least once a week” in Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Denmark.

WSJ and European Social Survey Data of Percentage of Christians Who Say They Attend Church Services at Least Once a Week in Selected Curopean Countries

Source: Wall Street Journal and European Social Survey Data

To read ‘Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale’ on the Wall Street Journal web site, click here.

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By Nick Mavrick. You can find Nick Mavrick on Google+.

About author

Nick Mavrick

Nick Mavrick served on the OCN Board of Directors. The OCN Board consists of volunteers, who are also donors, and are passionate about giving back to the Orthodox Church. We welcome other volunteers to join us.