This webpage presents resources that take steps towards developing Catholicism in Numbers. The Catholic Record Society seeks to develop this project in collaboration with researchers and others who wish to share high level numerical data that illuminate the lives of Catholics in England and Wales, Scotland and, where possible Ireland. The CRS thanks Tim Kinnear for his work on this project and Dr Alana Harris for initiating and guiding it. We invite potential contributors who have their own datasets or information they wish to share to contact the CRS via firstname.lastname@example.org
Towards Catholicism in Numbers by Tim Kinnear
Pastoral statistics track participation in public expressions of religion such as sacraments and document some other ways in which religion engages with society, such as through education. Statistics for Catholicism are particularly useful since much participation in Catholic religion is corporate, expressed through the life of the parish. The numbers presented here tentatively reflect some of the Church’s growth and change from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to today. They suggest some continuity, change, and diversity within and between nations, indicating some of the wider context in which local church life takes place.
As a starting point, this page links to datasheets including (typically) decadal estimates for many pastoral statistics regarding the Catholic Church in Britain and Ireland. Many statistics presented here are taken from Catholic Directory. Others are drawn from sources including existing published datasets, and government and education source publications. See the bibliography and methodology note regarding the limitations and tentative nature of these initial datasheets. They form a secondary source, having initially been compiled to support statistical appendices and notes for volumes four and five of the Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism (2023, Oxford University Press). Most data relate to the twentieth century, with some for the twenty-first and a small number of figures for the nineteenth century. The latter are more limited here due to the sources used (scarcer for the nineteenth century) and, when initially compiling these data, some degree of comparison over time was sought and this becomes more challenging as data from earlier periods are incorporated.
The Catholic Record Society invite feedback regarding the accessibility of resources made available here. See the bibliography for full references and licences for the initial datasheets and including those for the statistical appendices in Harris (ed.) Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism (vol. 5), from which the present work develops with Dr Harris’ kind support. Interested readers are encouraged to visit British Religion in Numbers at http://www.brin.ac.uk and Brierley Consultancy at https://www.brierleyconsultancy.com. We express particular appreciation for the scholarship of Drs Peter Brierley, Clive Field and Anthony Spencer. Funding for the project was provided by King’s College London, the Catholic Record Society, Catholic Family History Society, and the English Catholic History Association.
A bibliography and methodological note and can be accessed here.
We would kindly request that any use of the below data in research papers or publications is cited and acknowledged and a link provided to this webpage.