Historically, France is a Catholic country, the “eldest daughter of the Church”. This religion remains that of a relative majority of the French compatriots, but it is nontheless collapsing. Only 7% of those surveyed go to Mass at least once a month, compared to 9% in 2008. In 1981, there were the French were 70% Catholics , including 17% of them who were regular practitioners, and 41% non-practitioners. There is a significant generational gap: Practicing Catholics represent less than 3% of 18-29 year olds compared to 16% of those aged 70 and over.
The proportion of people practicing “another religion” has tripled in forty years, from 3 to 10% of the adult population. The largest religious minority is, unsurprisingly, Islam, with 6% of respondents. The proportion rises to 14% of people declaring a religion. But the biggest shock is another one: there are as many Muslims as Catholics among 18-29 year olds! Muslims represent 13% of the population of large cities, more than double the national average. On the other hand, they attach greater importance to religion in their lives than other religious groups. One Muslim in two prays every day.
In forty years, France is thus going from a Catholic country, with some religious minorities and a small percentage of individuals who are not affiliated to any particular faith, to a country largely secularized with an immense Muslim minority. It is not difficult to imagine the future of a country with a secularized default post-Christian majority and a fervent and young Muslim minority.
The future of France has been settled: it will be the eldest daughter of Islam!