Robert Boag

The spirit of secularization has dramatically diminished Catholic practice in Italy. But some say a modernized faith can speak to life’s most important questions. Both sides of the aisle tend to agree that in Urbino, religious practice has severely diminished and that the majority of Urbino residents are no longer religious.

A number of social measurements indicate a nationwide secularization over the last 20 years. For example, the number of Italians taking part in rites of passage consistently dropped from 1991 to 2004, according to Vatican statistics and a study by the Critica Liberale Foundation, an Italian political think tank. The study found a steady process of secularization in Italy as well as a “diminishing appeal of Catholic ideas as regards family life and children’s education.”

While secularization continues to gain a footing in this ancient Renaissance town, there are some who are trying to reinvigorate the religiosity of the local youth.

Mascio, a political science student, is co-president of the Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana (FUCI), a university-based Catholic group with about 700 members throughout Italy. The University of Urbino’s FUCI is the largest chapter in Italy, with more than 40 members, according to Mascio. He says their membership is actually much larger then that.

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