Immigrants boost British Catholic Church

Feb. 15, 2007 at 7:16 PM
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LONDON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Almost 500 years after Henry VIII founded the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church is set to surpass it and become Britain's largest denomination.

A new report says immigration -- especially from Catholic countries in Eastern Europe -- is building up numbers in the Catholic Church, The Times of London reported. The Anglican Church is in a long-term decline.

In 2006, both Catholic and Anglican churches averaged 1 million people in the pews every Sunday. But the Catholics clearly have upward momentum, the newspaper said.

The Catholic Church has a strong hold on many immigrants, who turn to it for help in a new country. The report found that until last year, the Catholic Church -- like the Anglican -- was declining.

The influx has also changed the Catholic Church. In the past, it was a mix of English and Irish communicants.

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