Spanish couples are rejecting Catholic Church weddings
Church weddings have hit an all time low in Spain.
Only 22.2 percent of 68,560 couples tied the knot in Spain’s dwindling number of Catholic Churches in the first half of 2016.
According to The Olive Press, this is a huge fall from the same period in the year 2000, when 75 percent had a Catholic ceremony.
Barcelona province had the lowest number of Christian ceremonies in mainland Spain, at only 10.5 percent.
Malaga saw the least in Andalucia, with 21.6 percent.
However, neighbouring Jaen had the highest in the country, at 53 percent.
Alfonso Pérez-Agote, a sociologist, says three main reasons explain the nosedive in Catholic weddings.
These are the impact of the economic crisis, which has left 34.4 percent of under 30s unemployed and a change in cultural views, which means marriage is not seen as important.
He added that growing secularisation also played a part.
The young people of today are the children of those disinterested in religion. When they think of getting married, they don’t think of doing so in the church.”
In 2015, The Local reported that more than half of Spaniards admit that they are either “not religious” or are “convinced atheists”, according to a global study that shows the dramatic loss of faith in the traditionally Roman Catholic nation.
In fact, with one in five Spaniards insisting that they are “convinced atheists” Spain ranks fifth on the global list of adamant non-believers.
Only 37 percent of Spaniards described themselves as “religious” while 35 percent said they were “not religious” and 20 percent went even further and declared that they were “convinced atheists”.
Once the bastion of Roman Catholicism, Spain was responsible for the Inquisition and the birth of orders including the Dominicans, the Jesuits and Opus Dei. But religion has been on the wane since the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.
The last Pope, Benedict XVI, saw Spain as one of the principle nations ripe for evangelism and visited the country three times in his eight year as pontiff.
But the number of churchgoers has continued to fall.
According to the survey, only China (61 percent), Hong Kong (34 percent), Japan (31 percent) and the Czech Republic (30 percent) registered more “convinced atheists” that Spain.
In Western Europe, approximately half of the population described themselves as “not religious” or “a convinced atheist” in the survey.
• The photo used to illustrate this report was taken by Becky Sharpe outside a Spanish town hall registry office.