Attributes and Activities of Religious Communities in Italy: First Results from a City Congregations Study (CCS)
2. Theoretical Framework
What Does “Congregation” Mean for the Italian Context?
3.1. Research Design
3.2. Structure of the Questionnaire
3.3. Case Selection
3.4. Data Collection
4.1. Religious Diversity and Congregational Founding Dates
4.2. Building Use by Outside Groups
4.3. Religious Membership and Participation
4.4. Social Activities of Local Religious Groups
4.5. Political, Theological and Ethical Positioning of Congregations
5. Discussion—Testing of the CCS in Three Italian Cities
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
From 1994 to 2017 the number of Catholic adherents decreased from 89% to 76%, religious minorities grew from 3% to 8%, including Muslims (3%), Orthodox Christians (2.6%), Evangelical Protestants (0.9%), and others. At the same time, the number of religious nones increased from 10% to 16%. See for details Garelli (2020).
See the website of Osservatorio sul Pluralismo Religioso a Bologna for details. Internet access: https://www.osservatoriopr.net/#:~:text=L’Osservatorio%20%C3%A8%20un%20organismo,Ferrari%20e%20Pino%20Luc%C3%A0%20Trombetta, accessed 1 December 2022.
The mapping was built largely with the “snowball technique”, which provided the collection of new information regarding other minorities through the request made to the interviewed leaders to indicate additional potential communities to be included in the survey.
See the official website of the municipality of Bologna for details. Internet access: http://inumeridibolognametropolitana.it/notizie/le-tendenze-demografiche-bologna-nel-primo-semestre-2022, accessed 5 February 2023.
See the official website of the municipality of Milan for details. Internet access: https://www.comune.milano.it/documents/20126/2313917/cleta_zone_eta_2021.pdf/b31d9159-e926-c882-2359-73b77d39b480?t=1644565083441, accessed 2 February 2023.
See the official website of the municipality of Brescia for details. Internet access: https://www.comune.brescia.it/servizi/certificatiedocumenti/anagrafe/Pagine/Dati-relativi-alla-popolazione-residente-a-Brescia.aspx, accessed 2 February 2023.
See website Tuttitalia for details. Internet access: https://www.tuttitalia.it/emilia-romagna/32-bologna/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2021, accessed 2 February 2023.
See website Tuttitalia for details. Internet access: https://www.tuttitalia.it/lombardia/18-milano/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2021, accessed 2 February 2023.
See website Tuttitalia for details. Internet access: https://www.tuttitalia.it/lombardia/65-brescia/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2021, accessed 2 February 2023.
The data of Bologna and Milan refer to the ‘metropolitan areas’, while the data of Brescia refer to the urban area only. See the website Tuttitalia: https://www.tuttitalia.it/emilia-romagna/provincia-di-bologna/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2022, accessed 2 February 2023.
See website Anci Lombardia: https://www.strategieamministrative.it/dettaglio-news/20167181646-popolazione-che-cambia-in-lombardia-vive-un-musulmano-su-quattro/#:~:text=Si%20stima%20che%20i%20musulmani,oltre%201%2C6%20milioni, accessed 2 February 2023.
See website Vita: http://www.vita.it/it/article/2018/03/27/in-italia-gli-immigrati-ortodossi-sono-piu-dei-musulmani/146372. accessed 3 February 2023.
See: https://www.tuttitalia.it/lombardia/provincia-di-milano/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2022, accessed 23 March 2023.
See: https://www.tuttitalia.it/lombardia/65-brescia/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2022, accessed 23 March 2023.
Giuseppe Dossetti was a presbyter, jurist, theologian and academic. He was also a leading figure in the post-WWII political arena.
Among the several initiatives promoted by the Diocese for a greater inclusion of minorities, the most controversial and debated was the decision to distribute the “welcoming tortellini.” See: “I tortellini dell’accoglienza dividono i bolognesi.” Internet access: https://www.bolognatoday.it/cronaca/tortellini-accoglienza-bolognesi-tradizione-polemica.html#:~:text=Dividono%20i%20tortellini%20dell’accoglienza,non%20solo%2C%20non%20mangia%20maiale, accessed 15 March 2023.
In 2021, in Bologna was founded Casa del Dialogo tra religioni e culture (House of Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue). See webpage: https://gazzettadibologna.it/cultura/a-bologna-nasce-un-casa-del-dialogo-tra-religioni-e-culture, accessed 23 March 2023.
Carried out also by associations, such as Communion and Liberation, whose members often participate in political campaigns and are involved in political parties.
See: https://www.cadr.it, accessed 15 March 2023.
See: https://www.chiesadimilano.it/news/chiesa-diocesi/forum-delle-religioni-a-milano-lo-statuto-e-gli-aderenti-71682.html, accessed 15 March 2023.
See: https://www.chiesadimilano.it/servizioperlecumenismoeildialogo, accessed 15 March 2023.
“Patto di Fraternità” was signed in 2017. It was a result of a spontaneous aggregation of representatives of different religious traditions in Brescia and its province and initiated by the Catholic Focolare Movement and the Islamic center of via Corsica. Subsequently, other Catholic, Orthodox, Sikh, Muslim communities from various areas, and Hindus joined. Over the years, the network of adherents organized various prayer initiatives, public meetings and opportunities for interfaith dialogue.
The data on Catholic ‘formally registered members’ have been taken from the Diocesan yearbook of the cities of Bologna, Milan and Brescia of 2021.
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|Catholics||66.6% (fr. 377)||70.1% (fr. 122)||64.8% (fr. 195)||65.9% (fr. 60)|
|Evangelicals||12.9% (fr. 73)||10.3% (fr. 18)||13% (fr. 39)||17.6% (fr. 16)|
|Orthodox||4.2% (fr. 24)||2.9% (fr. 5)||5.3% (fr. 16)||3.3% (fr. 3)|
|Jehovah’s Witnesses||4.9% (fr. 28)||6.3% (fr. 11)||5.6% (fr. 17)||0.0% (fr. 0)|
|Muslims||4.9% (fr. 28)||5.7% (fr. 10)||4.3% (fr. 13)||5.5% (fr. 5)|
|Others||6.4% (fr. 36)||4.6% (fr. 8)||7.0% (fr. 21)||7.7% (fr. 7)|
|Total (frequency)||100% (fr. 566)||100% (fr. 174)||100% (fr. 301)||100% (fr. 91)|
|Catholics||62.5% (fr. 250)||76.5% (fr. 127)|
|Evangelicals||14.5% (fr. 58)||9.0% (fr. 15)|
|Orthodox||5.0% (fr. 20)||2.4% (fr. 4)|
|Jehovah’s Witnesses||5.0% (fr. 20)||4.8% (fr. 8)|
|Muslims||5.0% (fr. 20)||4.8% (fr. 8)|
|Others||8.0% (fr. 32)||2.4% (fr. 4)|
|Total (frequency)||100% (fr. 400)||100% (fr. 166)|
|<1800||17.4% (fr. 57)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||12.3% (fr. 57)|
|1801–1900||5.8% (fr. 19)||5.2% (fr. 3)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||12.1% (fr. 4)||5.6% (fr. 26)|
|1901–1975||58.8% (fr. 193)||13.8% (fr. 8)||21.1% (fr. 4)||0.0% (fr. 0)||0.0% (fr. 0)||12.1% (fr. 4)||45.0% (fr. 209)|
|1976–2000||16.8% (fr. 55)||25.9% (fr. 15)||15.8% (fr. 3)||100.0% (fr. 4)||36.4% (fr. 8)||42.4% (fr. 14)||21.3% (fr. 99)|
|2001–2020||1.2% (fr. 4)||55.2% (fr. 32)||63.2% (fr. 12)||0.0% (fr. 0)||63.6% (fr. 14)||33.3% (fr. 11)||15.7% (fr. 73)|
|Total||100% (fr. 328)||100% (fr. 58)||100% (fr. 19)||100% (fr. 4)||100% (fr. 22)||100% (fr. 33)||100% (fr. 464)|
|Within the past 12 months, have there been groups, programs, or events that have no connection to your congregation but that have used or rented space in your building?||83.6||47.9||50.0||14.3||39.3||25.0|
|Is your building used by any other congregation for its worship services?||14.1||2.9||4.2||50.0||0.0||8.3|
|Catholics (Mean)||Evangelicals (Mean)||Orthodox (Mean)||Jehovah’s|
|Muslims (Mean)||Others (Mean)|
|Number of formally registered |
members in congregation
|Number of persons associated in any way with the religious life of this congregation||1034|
|Number of persons—counting both adults and children—would you say participating weekly in services or other activities in the congregation||690|
|Within the Past 12 Months, Have There Been Any Regularly Meeting Groups or Activities Specifically Focused on:||Catholics |
|Evangelicals (%)||Orthodox (%)||Jehovah’s Witnesses (%)||Muslims (%)||Others |
|…nurturing spiritual life of adults (e.g., study of scripture, prayer, meditation)?||95.2||100||87.5||100||100||100|
|…transmitting the religious tradition to young people (children/youth programs)?||92.6||93.2||95.8||96.4||75||66.7|
|…reaching out to find new members (missionary, outreach)?||49.1||89||8.3||100||0||38.9|
|Within the Past 12 Months, Have There Been Any Regularly Meeting Groups or Activities Specifically Focused on Organizing Events for or Supporting:||Catholics |
|Evangelicals (%)||Orthodox (%)||Jehovah’s Witnesses (%)||Muslims (%)||Others (%)|
|… the elderly||67.9||9.6||16.7||0.0||0.0||8.3|
|…to prepare or participate in political activities||16.2||9.6||4.2||0||3.6||2.8|
|…engaging in any human service projects, outreach ministries or missions, social services, or other activities intended to help people whether they are members or not||88.6||80.8||70.8||100||39.3||58.3|
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Breskaya, O.; Giordan, G.; Mignardi, M.; Sbalchiero, S. Attributes and Activities of Religious Communities in Italy: First Results from a City Congregations Study (CCS). Religions 2023, 14, 709. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060709
Breskaya O, Giordan G, Mignardi M, Sbalchiero S. Attributes and Activities of Religious Communities in Italy: First Results from a City Congregations Study (CCS). Religions. 2023; 14(6):709. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060709Chicago/Turabian Style
Breskaya, Olga, Giuseppe Giordan, Martina Mignardi, and Stefano Sbalchiero. 2023. "Attributes and Activities of Religious Communities in Italy: First Results from a City Congregations Study (CCS)" Religions 14, no. 6: 709. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060709