Italian Students Still Embracing Religion Classes

ROME, JUNE 4, 2002 ( The Catholic faith remains a popular topic for students in Italy.

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During the 2001-2002 academic year, 93.2% of Italian students opted to study the Catholic religion, according to data compiled by the sociological-religious Observatory of Triveneto.

The Observatory studied state schools in 196 of Italy´s 226 dioceses, covering more than 6 million students, or 78.4% of the entire school population.

The news was reported in a yearbook just published by the Italian bishops´ conference.

In Italy, students in public schools who do not wish to study the Catholic religion may, with their parents´ consent, participate in other school activities or leave school early. Over the past nine years, at least 92% of the students have opted for the religion class.

The yearbook also analyzes religion teachers. More than 80% are lay; 16% are priests; 2.4% are women religious; and 1.1% are men religious.

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