I was brought up a Catholic and although now largely non-practicing they say once a Catholic always a Catholic.
When I grew up in England two countries struck me as being strongly Catholic – Ireland and Spain. On reflection, 50 years later, I guess that the same could have been said for France and Italy.
With regard to Spain those were the Franco years when the Catholic Church was part of the State. From the history I have read of the pre and post Civil War years I personally do not feel my church served the people of Spain well but I view that matter from a left of centre prospective. Others will think differently.
That having been said I was interested to see that the Vatican has just published the results of a survey in to attitudes to matters Catholic in 11 different countries.
So here are some of the findings for Spain:
73 per cent of people say they pray, 37 per cent every day.
77 per cent of Spaniards believe in God but that figure is dropping, it used to be 86 per cent.
74 per cent of Spaniards say they participate in some religious rite but only 20 per cent do so on a weekly basis. I suspect Semana Santa and local processions are included in the first figure.
Only 20 per cent of Spaniards have read the bible in the past year. This places Spain at the bottom of the chart along with France (21 per cent).
61 per cent of Spaniards have a bible in the house.
41 per cent believe the words of the bible are inspired by God but do not have to be interpreted to the letter.
34 per cent of Spaniards say it’s an old book of legends whilst 17 per cent believe it is the direct word of God.
The Spanish and French are almost at one on this next one. Forty eight per cent say the bible is difficult, 31 per cent easy, 60 per cent say it’s interesting and 21 per cent find it boring.
27 per cent think the bible should be studied in schools, 22 per cent are totally convinced it should but the rest totally disagree.
By the by the citizens of the USA are the most frequent people to pray (87 per cent) and also have the highest readership of the bible (75 per cent). I am sure that tells us something about our American cousins but I will leave it to you to say what.