Friday, 17 May 2013

Breaking news: A statistical analysis of the decline of the Catholic Faith in England and Wales

The Latin Mass Society has drawn together a priceless series of statistics that show the full extent of the post Vatican II 'nosedive'.

They have issued a press release today and I also have added a number of links with full approval of the LMS.

I have not had a chance to absorb all the information so comment will not be forthcoming other than to say, this was a much needed piece of research:-

17 May 2013
For immediate release
Newly released statistics show the decline of the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 1960s and 1970s.

Research by Latin Mass Society has demonstrated the striking decline of a range of statistical indications of the health of the Catholic Church in England and Wales in the 1960s and 1970s.
To our knowledge this data has never been made available in collated form before: the number of ordinations year by year since 1860, the number of priests since 1890, and baptisms, marriages, and receptions, and estimates of the Catholic population, since 1913.

Among the findings are:

Marriages: The number of marriages collapsed by a third between 1968 and 1978 (from 47,417 to 31,534), and has continued a rapid decline since then, now standing at less than 10,000 a year, a quarter of the 1968 level in absolute terms, and even less in relation to the estimated Catholic population (from 12 per thousand in 1968) to 2½ per thousand in 2010).

Conversions fell off a cliff in the 1960s. From a peak of 15,794 in 1959, it fell to 5,117 in 1972; in relation the Catholic population, it fell by more than 70% between those two years. It has not recovered.

Baptisms halved between 1964 and 1977 (137,673 in 1964 to 68,351 in 1977), and are even lower today (oscillating around the 60,000 mark). This is not just the effect of the end of the ‘baby boom’: considered in relation to total live births for England and Wales (using data from the Office for National Statistics), the first half of the 20th century saw steady growth, with Catholic baptisms peaking at nearly 16% of all live births in 1963. This was followed by a decline of a third between the mid 1960s and the mid 1970s. A more gentle decline has continued to the present: today fewer than 10% of babies born alive in England and Wales are being baptised in the Catholic Church. 

Ordinations fell by more than 56% between 1965 and 1977 (from 233 to 101), and the decline has continued. Even on the more optimistic figures supplied by the National Office of Vocations (compared to the Catholic Directory) for the current year, showing an increase on recent years, numbers are at scarcely 30% of their 1964 level. (Counting only ordinations to the diocesan clergy, there were 134 in 1964; the NOV predicts 41 this year.) 

Downloadable spreadsheet HERE

JPEGS of graphs HERE

Please ackowledge LMS 


  1. The liberals in my church would say that these results are not due to Vatican II, but to the secularisation of society since the 50's. It is always good to have a reply for them.

    I normally state that they are clearly wrong and that it is due to the sanitisation and protestantation of the Catholic Church by liberals after Vatican II. I then always explain there where we see areas of the church such as Youth 2000, the Faith Movement and Juventutem where the correct catechesis is clearly explained to young Catholics, and also where young Catholics are exposed to the traditions of the church, (and given an experience of the sacred and spiritual) that these are the areas where vocations are increasing. It is at this point that they normally splutter that I have no proof for that. I then highlight The Community of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Fransciscan Sisters of the Renewal in the UK. Normally this is enough to quiet them down. I also point out the slow, but increasing orthodoxy of priestly vocations.

    Now these represent ultimately small numbers, but it is always good to throw back their "It's all to do with society argument". It is factually correct as well.

    As you know Richard, we are on the fight back at Louth and myself and Anna now have a tag team routine set up. They do not like hearing the truth, but slowly they are getting the message. As I have said before, quoting Vatican II verbatim always stops them in their tracks. Luckily others at the church are now getting more confident and the tide is turning. People at the church have had a taste of the old traditions now and they like it. The liberals are not happy.

    However, the reason I am rattling on again about this is because we have learned that a constant barrage of telling the liberals the truth is working. They don't like it, but they clearly know that they are not going to get their own way anymore. It helps that there are two of us. Quoting facts from Vatican II has been the real bonus though. They back down very quickly.

  2. I am not catholic, but I am a Christian that LOVES Jesus Christ with all my heart. I will say that Holiness has completely left the followers of Christ. What Christians do you know that lives a Holy life other than those that have devoted their life to Christ? I must say that I have been very impressed with some of the Catholic groups that have remained true to Holiness/ separate themselves unto the LORD. Well...I hope you understand what I'm saying. Maybe this goes along with the Society Argument you in the comment above were talking about, but when we allow our society to direct our walk with Christ, then it is wrong, and we need to seek the way of Holiness with our LORD~ Yes, He ate with sinners, but he was not a partaker with their sins.

  3. I agree with Cathy and I think Holiness should be mark of all Christians. I have just come from the EF Mass at a parish near me and I have decided to attend here .What always comes home to me is
    -the total Holiness of this Form of the Mass,its Scriptural basis and the part of the ,prayer at the end for us to go forth and bear fruit for God .
    -that I recall my dear old Mum a staunch Anglican by birth and staunch ,Non-Conformist by marriage, saying that Vatican II was meant to be about the Mass being more accessible but that the Church had the same problem with liberals as those my parents were battling in a loving manner within their own denomination.

  4. OPN, yes, they all say that don't they?
    Cathy, I pray that you will find your way to the Faith of Christ.
    Gervase, always heartening to read your comments.