Catholic marriages are at one of their lowest levels since the end of the nineteenth century, according to official figures. Despite a slight increase on the year before, there were just 8,480 Catholic marriages performed in 2010 in England and Wales.
Data from the Office of National Statistics show that the last time the Catholic marriage rate hit such a level was in the late 1880s, when the Church was finding its feet following emancipation.
The decline in Catholic marriages has been consistent since the mid-1960s, with numbers falling more rapidly in recent years. A decade ago Catholic weddings stood at just over 10,000 while in 1991 they were double this figure. In 1968 some 44,931 took place. Other denominations are seeing a similar fall in numbers.
Above: a Catholic couple marry in New York. Photo: CNS