ROME

Italy may be the spiritual home of 1.2 billion members of the Catholic Church around the world, but a new poll shows only 50 percent of Italians consider themselves Catholic.

The poll, published in the liberal daily L’Unita on March 29, challenges long-held perceptions that Italy is a “Catholic” country, despite the popularity of Pope Francis and the historic role of the Vatican City State in the heart of Rome.

In addition to the 50 percent who consider themselves Catholic, the poll, conducted in Italy by research firm SWG, found that 13 percent defined themselves as “Christian.”

Of the 1,500 respondents, 4 percent said they were Orthodox or Protestant, 2 percent were Buddhist, 1 percent were Jewish and 1 percent were Muslim.

But a surprising 20 percent said they were atheist, while 8 percent said they were religiously unaffiliated.

Source: Poll: Only 50 percent of Italians call themselves Catholic – National Catholic Reporter

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