Photo: Number of Catholics in Mexico decreasing.
Roberto Blancarte, a sociologist and historian, and one of the nation’s top specialists on religious on topics of religion, has said that each day of the last decade, more than 1,000 Mexicans left the Catholic Church.
Blancarte said Mexico has become a country of many religions and should no longer be considered a Catholic country. In fact, while 92.9 million of the 112 million Mexicans are Catholic, according to a 2010 census, 14.1 million are members of Protestant Christian denominations, with others following the teachings of Islam, Judaism, and various Asian religions.
Also, 5.2 million Mexicans said they followed “no religion,’’ though Blancarte is quick to tell EFE, “It would be a mistake to think that these 5 million are atheists – all it means is that they profess no particular belief but they might well believe in some form of divinity.”
He adds that the decline in Mexican Catholics has been ongoing however. In 1950, 98.21 percent of the population said they were Catholic, while ten years later that percentage had dropped to 96.47. In 1970: 96.17 percent. The decline continued, and in 2000, the country was only 88 percent Catholic. Today, Mexican Catholics are at 83.9 percent. This would indicate that in that last decade, 1,300 people left the Catholic church each day.
Conversely, Protestants and Evangelicals jumped from 1.28 percent of the population to almost 8 percent, this does not count Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Blancarte said that while guesses can be made on the reason for the decline, until a serious studies can be done, “we’ll only be speculating,” adding that “everyone has his own reason” for leaving. Perhaps some are simply “fed up with religion in general, or offended by the priestly scandals.”
For now though, he said the church, while aware of the increase in “prodigal sons,” has done nothing to change its problems.
“As long as the church continues with its boring liturgies as long as its representatives remain unconnected to people’s needs and keep slamming the use of contraceptives and condoms and saying that sex education is bad, more and more people will leave.”
Blancarte pointed to Central American countries to show the future of Mexico’s Catholic population. Catholics are between 55 and 73 percent of the region’s population. In both Chile and Venezuela they constitute about 70 percent, and in Cuba and Uruguay the percentage plummets to around 50 percent.
He said that as Mexico appears to following the same path, “Catholicism is destined to be abandoned.”