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The Conversions to Catholicism in France: a changing religion?



ID: <10.4000/assr.995>·DOI: <10.4000/assr.995>


Over the last ten years fifty thousand people have frequented the Catholic Church in France with the intention of joining it. A survey carried out jointly by the Service National du Catéchumenat (National Service for Religious Education) and the CEIFR (Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Religious Factor) indicates that the influx of these candidates has submitted the Catholic parish environment to a critical tension from three different angles: the fluidity of the Catholic geography and of the degrees of belonging to the Church; the individualization of the transmission process and the transformation of the system of authority. The survey highlights as well a certain inadequacy between the education given by the local services for the catechumens and the practices and norms of the existing Catholic communities. An important modification of the modalities of transmission of Catholic memory – rites, practices, and beliefs – is thereby initiated. It is perceptible in the letters that the catechumens write at the end of the period of initiation they follow before being baptized. We are witnessing a fragmented normalization which is taking over from the classic process of collective socialization still present at the level of the education of children.

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