Population: About 60 million people.
Religion: Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion in 1984. All religions have equal freedom before the law, but not in practice. Increasing acceptance of diversity within the Church bears witness to a gradual change from the decades, even centuries, of division within Protestantism. There is a growing sense of grace and acceptance of appropriate theological differences. Widespread division, legalism, fragmentation and distrust stunted the potential impact of evangelicals, but respect and even cooperation are starting to develop.
Indifference to the gospel has typified Italy for ages. Secular materialism ensnares many. Satanism is growing in various areas,Turin being one of the global centres of its activities. Occultism continues to be alarmingly widespread – there are more than 150,000 practicing soothsayers, prognosticators and healers, in contrast to around 50,000 Catholic priests! Eastern and esoteric spirituality are increasingly popular. Italians are more liable to dabble in an occult, New Age or pagan practice than to read the Bible.Those who do pray will often pray to Padre Pio (37%) or Saint Anthony (21%) rather than to Jesus (less than 10%). Cults are active; Jehovah’s Witnesses number more in Italy than all its Protestants combined.