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ARGENTINA | 20-11-2019 23:50

Catholicism on the decline in Argentina, says CONICET study

Almost 63% of Argentines identify as Catholics today, compared to 76.5% in 2008.

Catholicism is on the decline in Pope Francis' Argentina, a new study from the CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council) has revealed.

The results also showed that close to three-quarters of the population believes the State should not finance religious institutions, while 46.2 percent believe that religious education should not be taught in public schools.

The government agency published a study on Wednesday revealing that while Catholics remain the biggest religious force in Argentina by a long way, the number of faithful has fallen by more than 13 percentage points over the past decade.

According to CONICET, 76.5 percent of the population said they were Catholics in 2008, compared to the 62.9 percent who say so today. 

Over the same period, the number of evangelicals increased from 9 percent to 15.3 percent. Those who follow no religion soared from 11.3 percent to 18.9 percent.

The survey also consulted people on their views on Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church. Only 7.9 percent of Argentines said their religiousness had increased following his 2013 coronation as pontiff, while 82.4 percent said it made no difference.

Among a number of Argentines institutions or people that generate trust, respondents ranked him fourth, behind universities, the Catholic Church as a whole and the Armed Forces.

The most pronounced change in the opinion of the respondents, however, had to do with the relationship between the Church and the State.

In 2008, 51.4 percent said that the State should finance all religious denominations. Eleven years on, that figure stands just 27.5 percent.

Today, 46.2 percent also believe that religious education should not be taught in public schools, compared to 26.9 percent in 2008.

The survey, conducted by CONICET's researchers, consulted 2,421 cases respondents between August and September 2019, with a margin of error of two percent.

– TIMES/AFP

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