Yesterday I reported on what I described as the rise in nonreligious marriages in Ireland since 2016.
That is a fair description when you look at the percentages, as religious marriages have dropped from 67.4% to 56.7%, and nonreligious marriages have risen from 32.6% to 43.3%.
However, when you look at the actual figures rather than the percentages, it is more accurate to describe the trend as a 5-year drop in religious marriages.
Nonreligious marriages have risen from 7,025 in 2016 to 7,449 in 2021 (a rise of 424) while religious marriages have dropped from 14,545 in 2016 to 9,768 in 2021 (a drop of 4,777).
Why is this? Firstly, the overall number of marriages was steadily declining, by about 240 a year between 2016 and 2019.
The overall number of marriages then dropped by half in 2020 because of Covid, and has recovered somewhat during 2021 as Covid eased off.
For whatever reason, these downward trends have affected religious marriages more than nonreligious marriages.
This again shows the need for the State to remove the privilege it gives to the Catholic Church in running Irish schools and hospitals, and to Christianity generally in the religious oaths in our Constitution and in our charities and civil registration laws.
Ireland is no longer a Catholic country. We are now a pluralist country gradually dismantling Catholic privilege in our laws.