The Rt Rev Mark Davies was delivering his grim message to more than 1,000 young Catholics, aged between 16 and 30, at a five-day prayer-fest in Norfolk. He urged them to make a “clear stand” for their faith after recent Government data which suggest Christians living in Britain will soon become a minority.

The bishop told his audience that the results of the last census suggested most Britons would not describe themselves as Christians by 2020. A recent think-tank warned that 4,000 churches could close by 2020 if congregations continue to shrink at current rates.

Bishop Davies said:

With more than three million in Rio last month and with more than a thousand in Walsingham this weekend, we might not really feel like a minority but that is what Christians are about to become in this country of ours.