Catholicism is likely to become the largest churchgoing denomination in Scotland, according to new projections.
Figures from the 2016 Scottish Church Census reveal that the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland make up 35 per cent of the church-going population, but that the Catholic proportion is expanding.
The report found 135,600 weekly Catholic Mass attenders compared to 136,910 attending Church of Scotland services. The figures showed a total of 389,510 weekly attenders of churches of any denomination.
Peter Brierley, who conducted the study, told the Scottish Catholic Observer that the Church will have the largest number of Sunday churchgoers if the current trend continues.
He said: “The Catholic Mass-attending population has dropped… If you look at Glasgow it was 48,000 in 2002; it’s now 38,570… The numbers have gone down, but not as much as in other populations.”
Only nine per cent of the Scottish population are now churchgoers. The Church of Scotland and Scottish Episcopal Church have the highest rate of falling attendees. In the past 30 years, the number of Christians who attend church has halved.
Mr Brierley suggested that the Catholic Church had not declined as fast as other churches because of the impact of immigration. “A lot of immigrants have come into Scotland in the last 10 to 15 years and the Catholic Church has reached out to them, putting on Polish Masses,” he said. “That’s especially apparent in Aberdeen, where the Catholic population went up in the last five years – the only place in Scotland that happened.”
Diocese launches app to find nearest confessional
The diocese of Portsmouth has launched an app to help Catholics pray and go to Confession.
The app is a guide to live events in the diocese and features maps and information about Mass times, Confession and Eucharistic Adoration. It includes reminders to pray at certain times of the day with a link to the Liturgy of the Hours.
Bishop Philip Egan said he was “delighted” to announce the new app. “I wish to encourage all our clergy and parishioners to install it on their smartphone, iPad, tablet etc. It will be an invaluable practical help for knowing where the nearest parish is, maps and directions, the next Mass, the availability of the nearest Sacrament of Reconciliation and so on.
“One of the features I’m really pleased with are the reminders that can be set up for certain times of the day to pray the Angelus and say the Divine Office. There is also a prayer section – I call all this ‘Catholic Mindfulness’ – with a Holy Half Hour with Eucharistic adoration, which means that anyone anywhere can ‘tune in’ for a few moments of prayer with Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist.”
Medieval priest’s skeleton found
The skeleton of a Catholic priest who died 700 years ago has been discovered in Lincolnshire.
Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield discovered the remains at Thornton Abbey in Lincolnshire, founded in 1139. The grave belonged to Fr Richard de W’Peton, who died in 1317. Tests suggest he was 35 to 45 when he died. It is believed he was a victim of Europe’s Great Famine.
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