DUBLIN, Ireland, APRIL 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The number of baptisms in Ireland, both infant and adult, has been increasing over the past decade.
CatholicIreland.net reported Wednesday that 67,191 babies were baptized in 2006, compared to a little more than 65,000 in 1990.
Statistics from the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae showed that baptisms of adults and children older than seven years is also on the rise. In 2006, there were 360 new members of the Church, compared to 65 in 1990.
The article noted that the research and development council of the Irish bishops’ conference has yet to compare these numbers against the general birthrate of the country, to assess the nature of the trend.
The number of adult baptisms is also increasing in England and Wales, and 3,636 new Catholics will join the Church this Easter. Last year, there were 2,945 new members, an increase from 2,870 in 2007.
Monsignor Andrew Faley, the assistant general secretary of the bishops’ conference, told The Tablet that he believes the economic crisis may have contributed to the conversions.
He said, “Often during a time of uncertainty, financial and otherwise, people take stock and re-evaluate their values, beliefs and life situation.”