Lisbon-based Catholic University’s Center of Religious and Cultural Studies reported Monday that there was a 7% drop in the numbers of Portuguese citizens declaring themselves of the Catholic faith.
Data from a 2011 survey was compared with data from 1999 showing that the total number of Portuguese citizens describing themselves as Catholic had fallen from 86.9% to 79.5%, a 7.4% drop in the decade.
The decline represents not only those expressing a faith other than Catholic, doubling from 2.7% in 1999 to 5.7% last year, but also by a rise from 8.2% to 14.2% in those declaring no faith.
Those expressing “’no opinion” rose from 1.7% to 3.2%, with self-professed agnostics going up from 1.7% to 2.2%, while atheists amounted to 4.1% of Portuguese citizens against 2.7% in 1999.
The last decade has been more promising for Protestant and Evangelical churches that saw their followers rise from 0.3% to 2.8%.
The reasons presented for change broke down into personal conviction, disagreement with religious practices and preferring individual autonomy as regards religious practice.
In turn, when questioned further, a third of individuals in the non-faith category said they did not agree with the rules handed down by any doctrine or faith, while 22% could not agree with the moral rules and 12% pointing to the bad example set by members of the clergy.
General Information on Portugal
Official Name: Portuguese Republic
Capital: Lisbon (Current local time)
Government Type: Parliamentary democracy
Area: 92,391 sq. km., including the Azores and Madeira Islands; slightly smaller than Indiana
Literacy: Total population: 93.3%; Male: 95.5%; Female: 91.3%
Year of Independence: 1143