Thousands of French Adults Set to Enter the Church

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PARIS, APR. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Thousands of adult converts are poised to enter the Catholic Church in France -- a phenomenon that was unheard of here a decade ago.

According to Bishop André Dupleix, national director of catechumens, 8,934 adults are preparing for baptism in the Church. He said 72% of these come from the ranks of persons with "no religion."

He said 59% are in the 25-to-40 age range; 25% are in the 18-to-24 range; and 16% are older than 40.

Of the total number, 2,315 are prepared for baptism this year. Many of them will receive this sacrament during the Easter Vigil next week.

Bishop Dupleix regards the adult baptisms as a sign of hope, at a time when French Catholics are overcoming "crises, tensions and a decrease in religious practice, and are uneasy about future prospects."

About 80% of France is Catholic, according to the Church´s statistical yearbook.

For more information see the French bishops´ conference Web page: (http://www.cef.fr).