If you grew up as a Roman Catholic, and you still believe in God but you are no longer truly a Roman Catholic, please be honest in the Irish Census on Sunday 10 April. Think before you tick your answer to the religion question, and give an answer that matches your actual religious affiliation.
- Please first read this overview of the campaign, including reasons why Atheist Ireland believes it is important to answer the religion question honestly.
- Please also read this separate request if you are an atheist or agnostic or humanist and you have no religion.
What will the census question look like?
The question will look something like the extract above. If you’re not truly a Roman Catholic, we’re asking you to not tick box number 1, which says ‘Roman Catholic’. Instead please answer whatever most accurately reflects your true religious affiliation.
For example, you can either write ‘Christian’ (or something else) in box number 6, which says ‘Other: write in your RELIGION’. Or you can tick box number 7, which says ‘No Religion’, if you believe you are spiritual but not religious.
Please remember that the Census is not a survey of theological beliefs. It is a measure of social changes, including in religious affiliation, to help plan the allocation of State services and other policies.
How many Irish people are Roman Catholic?
The figure for Roman Catholics has steadily dropped from 95% (in 1961), to 94% (in 1971), to 93% (in 1981), to 91% (in 1991), to 88% (in 2002) and 87% (in 2006). With even normal change, that figure should be lower now. And with the dramatic changes in Irish society since the last Census, the true figure may be much lower.
Just last year Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said that Ireland “is undergoing a veritable revolution of its religious culture” but “many in Ireland and in the church in Ireland have not yet understood the full extent of the cultural change taking place and continue to act as if we were still simply living in a culture with a Catholic majority”.
We believe Archbishop Martin is correct about this. We hope that the Census results for 2011 will accurately reflect this. You can help to make this happen.
What else can you do to help?
- Please read the list of ways that you can help at the bottom of the overview page: Be Honest in the Census.