Over 41pc of mass goers fail to return to church after Covid, survey shows
Among previous regular mass goers who had not returned, 31pc said their faith “isn’t as strong” since the pandemic.
A new poll has revealed the impact that Covid-19 has had on attendance at Catholic church services in Ireland – with many former mass-goers still not returning to services in the wake of the pandemic.
The survey by Amárach Research of 1,500 adults throughout Ireland found that 41pc of Catholics who went to mass before Covid, no longer do so. This figure is up from 25pc last year.
The survey found that 59pc of those who went to mass before Covid-19 are back attending church regularly, up from 47pc just 12 months ago.
Twenty-four per cent of respondents were regular mass goers before the pandemic. When asked if they had returned to services, 59pc of this group answered ‘yes’, while 41pc said ‘no’.
Among previous regular mass goers who had not returned, 31pc said their faith “isn’t as strong” since the pandemic. Thirty-seven per cent of men and 26pc of women felt this way.
A quarter of men and 23pc of women surveyed said they went to mass regularly before the pandemic.
Among the under-35s surveyed, 11pc said they were previous mass-goers. This figure was 20pc in the 35-44 age group, 18pc in the 45-54 group and 40pc among the over-55s.
In other findings, 32pc of men and 25pc of women said they were satisfied with the way Pope Francis is doing his job as leader of the Catholic Church.
Of all respondents, 12pc of men and 11pc of women said they considered themselves religious while 36pc of men and 25pc of women said they considered themselves neither religious nor spiritual.
Fifty-two per cent of men and 58pc of women said they believed in God while 34pc of men and 45pc of women said they believed in heaven. Some 19pc of men and 14pc of women said they believed in the devil.
Of the Catholics, 20pc of men and 39pc of women said they no longer attend mass because they “still have concerns about Covid-19” while 18pc of men and 22pc of women said they prefer to watch mass on TV or online.
Asked if Ireland has lost her soul, 44pc of men and 35pc of women said ‘yes’.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, previously told the Sunday Independentthat a decline in the number of people attending mass — coupled with run-down buildings — could result in some churches in Ireland closing for good.
“It has to be a possibility, yes,” he said.
“We have to recognise the numbers are down, therefore we don’t have the same needs or ability to maintain all of our properties.”
In December, it was announced that parishes in a major archdiocese would cut the number of masses and some churches will offer weekday liturgies instead of Sunday Mass.
Archbishop of Tuam Francis Duffy revealed members of the laity will be leading funerals and marriages in the future due to the impact of a falling number of clergy.
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