Local Secularisms in Italy

Blog post by Alberta Giorgi, Researcher for GRASSROOTSMOBILISE, on the different “local secularisms” that have taken shape in Italy that are often built directly in relation to Italy’s Catholic culture and state politics, for the blog of the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN), May 10, 2019.

Italy is well-known to be a Catholic country, and this public identity has heavily influenced the cultures of secularity that developed in the country, as well as the forms of nonreligion that have taken shape.

Considering the data, “nonreligiosity” is steadily growing in Italy, while Catholic religiosity is decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center, for example, nonbelievers are 21% of the Italian population. The data are consistent with local survey findings that show a steady growth in the rates of nonreligiosity — in 2008, nonreligious people (nones) accounted for 11% of the population. With the exception of a small percentage of “other affiliations” (3%), the rest of the population positions itself in a continuum ranging between “committed catholic” to “cultural Catholic” (born into the Catholic religion and respectful, but seldom practitioners)[1]. Studies have focused on the role of the process of secularization and the decreasing rate of female religiosity, which has impacted the intergenerational transmission of faith, making it more unlikely to be born into the Catholic tradition. Taken together, nonreligious people are both those leaving Catholic religion, as well as those who leave other religions, and, increasingly, those who grew up in nonreligious families. However, this is only part of the story.

Read the full post here.