|| 24 April 2022

Church Attendance in France

Our Chic & Slim Special Correspondent Kat recently sent these comments below in order to correct misconceptions we might have about church attendance in France. Kat wrote:

Some time ago, a BBC Sunday programme was lamenting the closure of English churches, and falling church attendance in general. But the presenter rushed to inform listeners that the problem was FAR worse all over Europe, and particularly in France, a Catholic country, where the majority of churches, particularly in country areas, had fallen into disuse, and the rest were primarily visited by tourists looking at the architecture.

I sat up in bed, and said “What???”

I have no means of knowing whether the majority of the French are true believers or not, but every Sunday morning in the small town of Pont l’Eveque the bells toll at 10.30 am, and people roll up for 11 o’clock Mass.

Church at Le Torquesne

Image: Church at Le Torquesne

The tiny church near our house at Le Torquesne is also open on Sundays and has its own little congregation. In the photo you can see it is alive and well on a Tuesday morning: in fact being restored inside. You will also see how well the graveyard is maintained — many of the flower arrangements are fresh. And the churchyard hosts one — only one - British war grave from WW1.


 Information brochure for the church at Le Torquesne


Image: Information brochure for the church at Le Torquesne.


Grave in cemetery at Le Torquesne church

Image: Grave in cemetery at Le Torquesne church

The half dozen churches in and around the town of Lisieux are also well attended. And let’s not forget the monster Basilica on the hill overlooking that town which is a (horrible) copy of Sacre Coeur in Paris and the shrine and pilgrimage centre of St. Therese (“the Little Flower”) of Lisieux.

I also remember taking a trip to some remote spot to visit a particular church which was reputed to contain some interesting art work. I’d forgotten it was the 15th of August, the feast of the Assumption, one of the Holy Days of Obligation, on which Catholics must attend Mass, on pain of Mortal Sin. I couldn’t get into the car park, much less the church!

As always, much thanks to Kat for her photos and comments.