A very nice roundup from The Catholic Thing.
Northern Europe has become one of the world’s least religious regions. British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, has legalized same-sex “marriage” and said that he opposes abortion. . .after twenty weeks of pregnancy. A decade ago, Scandinavian Christian Democrats, whose national flags contain crosses, opposed including references to Christianity’s role in European culture in the European Constitution’s preamble. In today’s Britain and Scandinavia, laissez-faire morality is the reigning political dogma and religious apathy is the dominant worldview.
At the same time, the state churches of the region have retained some social importance. In Britain, the queen remains head of the Church of England, while Anglican bishops are peers in the House of Lords. Meanwhile, polls consistently show that levels of trust in the Lutheran Church are high in Scandinavia. Most Scandinavians are baptized, married (if they marry – over half of births are to non-married couples), and buried by state churches. In Sweden, most families light Advent candles and St. Lucy’s Day processions remain popular.
André Malraux predicted that the 21st century would be religious, or it would not be at all. Sociologists note that, even in secularized societies, people thirst for things spiritual. Despite the aforementioned social and cultural visibility of Protestantism in Northern Europe, however, the Lutheran and Anglican Churches there are dying. British sociologists predict that practicing Anglicans will soon meet the fate of the Dodo and woolly mammoth, falling from 800,000 to just 50,000 by mid-century (Episcopalians face similar disastrous prospects in North America). In Sweden, 4 percent of Lutherans attend services regularly, while the corresponding figures in Norway and Finland are below 2 percent.
By contrast, the Catholic Church is experiencing a mini-renaissance in Northern Europe. There are currently more practicing Catholics than Anglicans in Britain. In Scandinavia, there are about 600,000 Catholics, roughly 3 percent of the region’s population (a proportion similar to that of Catholics in Asia). Certainly, part of this has to do with immigration. Since the European Union expanded to include less prosperous former East Bloc states in 2004, Scandinavia and the British Isles have been deluged by immigrants from the Catholic nations of Poland (2.2 million Poles have left their country in the past decade), Slovakia, Croatia, and Lithuania.
While Mass is celebrated in Polish or Serbo-Croatian across Northern Europe, the region’s indigenous population is also being drawn to the Catholic Church. In the past decade, the number of British seminarians has grown fourfold. This cannot be explained by immigration (young Polish immigrants who enter seminary usually go home) or by short bursts of enthusiasm, such as that after Pope Benedict XVI’s visit in 2010, as this upward tendency has been ongoing for ten years.
Retrieved November 29, 2014 from http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2014/a-catholic-revival-in-northern-europe.html