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Roman Catholic Church About to Overtake Anglicanism :: The Slant / UK News
May 20th
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Politics/Current Affairs

Roman Catholic Church About to Overtake Anglicanism

Friday, February 16th, 2007 at 13:01 by Ellen Phillips

For the first time since the Reformation, the Roman Catholic church[1] is set to surpass the Anglican church as attendance at Mass soars. The surge in attendance is due to the huge immigration of migrants from Roman Catholic countries.According to a report, which contains figures from 2005, church attendance stands at around 1 million, but a spokesman for the Church of England claimed the figure was closer to 1.7 million worshippers per month. This is out of 25 million baptised Anglicans. By contrast, there are 4.2 million Roman Catholics, and around 8.5 million Muslims in the UK.

The Roman Catholic church has found itself under siege, though, from hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Not all are here legally, and many find themselves unable to speak English. They turn to the Church to help them with documents, accomodation, and finding jobs. From being an Anglo-Irish church in a slow-but-steady decline, priests in London are having to put on Sunday Mass from 8am to 8pm to meet demand.

It remains to be seen if the church-going faithful will slowly succumb to the religious malaise which has gripped the UK for the past few decades, and end up seeking spiritual fulfillment in dodgy New Age rituals, or if they will provide the impetus for a church-going renaissance throughout the UK.

I just wonder what they’ll make of Father Ted?

“Nuns! Reverse!”

1. Roman Catholic church, not Catholic church. Apparently, ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal’, so technically the Catholic church includes all Christian denomenations, not just the Roman Catholics. Pedants, rejoice!

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15 Comments on “Roman Catholic Church About to Overtake Anglicanism”

  1. Stephen Ball Says:

    “and end up seeking spiritual fulfillment in dodgy New Age rituals”


    …Oh, sorry, I see what you did there. I’ll just hide my official tree-hugger ID.

    Best byline ever, by the way.

  2. howard spencer-mosley Says:

    “are we all to be rascist now father? it’s just a lot of me time is taken up with the farm.”

  3. DannyMackay Says:

    erm - 8.5million muslims? should that be 1.5mil?


    Still - maybe this protestant malarky is just a fad afterall?

  4. Devin Barret Says:

    Interesting article. While “catholic,” does indeed mean universal, Catholic with a capital C is how the Reformers differentiated from their own new church/s and the Old Church. The term Roman Catholic is explained here:


  5. Ellen Phillips Says:

    Hi Danny,

    The 8.5 million muslims was taken from a Times article. Thanks for the correction.

  6. Ellen Phillips Says:

    You know, Catholic, catholic, and Roman Catholic - it’s just confusing. At least you can’t confuse Flying Spaghetti Monsterism with anything else…

  7. Stephen Ball Says:

    “At least you can’t confuse Flying Spaghetti Monsterism with anything else… ”

    Many have been touched by his noodly appendage. *nods*

  8. DannyMackay Says:

    The Times printed that? blimey. They really are just the Sun withut boobs then.

  9. Ellen Phillips Says:

    Well, as far as I can tell… Here’s the link and a quote from their article:


    “Figures for 2005 show that there are 4.2 million Catholics in England and Wales, under one fifth the 25 million baptised Anglicans and double the number of Muslims. ”

    Now, re-reading that paragraph about 5 times, and with your excellent link to actual statistics, I think they actually mean there’s around 2.1 million Muslims in the UK. Gah. My day job’s in technical writing - this is the kind of sentence that I rewrite so it’s perfectly clear what I mean.

    Mea culpa!

  10. Ellen Phillips Says:

    Oh, and have you read the Times2 lately? They’ve had a lot of photos from London Fashion week, and most of them are perfectly decent… And they did an article on fashion disasters not so long ago, with photos of several celebrities in see-through outfits. They have boobs, just not as blatantly as The Sun does. *heh*

  11. DannyMackay Says:

    Ellen - I actually read the Times today for the first time in a very long time.

    They print sales figures to show they are doing better than their peers - notably the Telegraph, guardian and FT.

    I couldn’t help but notice the lack of comparison to its real peers - the other tabloids like the Mail, Mirror and Sun.

    Not that I’m all that apposed to scantilly clad women appearing in my daily newspaper… ;)

  12. theo Says:

    And so the final years of Anglicanism are fast approaching. Soon Roman Catholicism will achieve its long stated aim of returning England and the rest of the Union with it to the fold. This is a sad reality for Protestantism and for Protestants and it can only prompt another dying spasm of sectarian violence both in the establishment as we know it and the sad , beleaguered remnants of Orange-ism around the United kingdom and Northern Ireland . To many the candles, incense and accessories of R.C are an anathema , that and the conservative and reactionary messages coming from Rome will be a great difficulty to overcome in an age of aids, gay liberation and free choice in all matters of the heart. But this must be so after all the demographic demands its democratic right and its voice must be heard all the way to the Palace!!!

  13. DannyMackay Says:

    we do live in a protestant country though - where the vast majority don’t worship at all - and where anyone of any political will can worship freely and establish institutions freely.

    so its not like protestants will be forced to worship in Latin at catholic churches - And we are hardly going to suddenly be overcome by catholic politicians banning abortion or condoms.

  14. theo Says:

    I know - Danny but there can be no Roman Catholic Princess of wales and certainly no R.C Monarch so the constitutional implications are manifold. Plus the R.C church is without a doubt looking forward to snubbing the Protestant nose into the muck , after all the timescale in church ‘time’ is but a yesterday away. Personally I am rather sympathetic to the protestant cause if only for stopping the R.C church inflicting itself upon the people of Britain when it could have in a time of extreme prejudice and paradoxically enough , even though the suffering of the reformation committed by Henry XIII was terrible in itself, the Inquisition at least equaled if not surpassed it.
    I was brought up in a sectarian Liverpool when conflict was common between the two sides and I personally don’t care whatever happens to the religious side of the unwritten constitution - a pox on both their houses- but what happens on the streets affects real people even if the questions that arise are “theoretical”.

  15. DannyMackay Says:

    I guess as an athiest I don’t give much thought to what the impact would be in individual religious people. The constitution would need some tidying up - but that wouldn’t be hard.
    Question is though, would this allow Charles to become Defender of the Faiths?

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