France breaks record for number of baptisms: 12,000 during Easter Vigil

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02/04/2024
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About 12,000 adults and teenagers were baptized on the day before Easter. This is a record number for a country like France, where almost half of the population says they do not believe in God.

However, the latest data from the French Bishops' Conference show that, despite this secularization, the number of people who are seeking to be baptized in the Catholic faith continues to increase. During the Easter Vigil, about 7,000 adults and more than 5,000 teenagers were baptized.

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CARD. FRANÇOIS-XAVIER BUSTILLO
Bishop of Ajaccio, France

Many people my age—55 and older—find themselves feeling empty, and young people are searching. A secularized society is a society in which there is an emptiness, but there is also a search for meaning, for a zest for life. And today's young people are asking themselves: but what am I living for?

According to the French National Service for Catechesis and the Catechumenate, the search for answers to life's questions became more popular among young people between 18 and 25 years old during the months of quarantine due to the coronavirus.

Five years later, this is the group that is growing the most, now making up 36% of the newly baptized. Before the pandemic, they accounted for only 23%.

The vast majority of this group come from a Christian tradition, but more of them say they belong to “families with no religion.” Many have received almost no Catholic education.

France as a state broke away from the Catholic Church at the beginning of the twentieth century. And today, secularism is a central concept reflected in the French Constitution, which a few weeks ago became the first in the world to include abortion as a constitutional right.

CA
TR: KG

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