Westminster Cathedral

Roman Catholics decline in England, Wales

by Trevor Grundy | The Washington Post  |  published on January 7, 2014

CANTERBURY, England — The number of Roman Catholic adherents in England and Wales fell by more than 90,000 in 2012, despite a wave of immigrants from Poland and other Eastern European countries with historically Catholic backgrounds.

Prominent Catholics say the recent wave of sex abuse scandals involving priests and children is responsible for the decline.

According to research by the Pastoral Research Centre Trust, an independent research organization, population increases, baptisms and the reception of newly confirmed and older people into the church should have added 31,873 people to the Catholic rolls in 2012.

At the end of 2011, there were 4.1 million Catholics in England and Wales, but in the next 12 months it fell back to 4 million.

The number of Catholics attending Mass has fallen to 858,000 in 2012, from 985,000 in 2001, suggesting that only one-fifth of the Catholic population now goes to Mass.

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