Only a just over a third of regular Mass-goers in Ireland have returned to church since the start of the pandemic, a new poll has found.
A survey of 1,000 people conducted earlier this month found that just 27 per cent of people in Ireland were attending Mass regularly before the pandemic. Of those, only 36 per cent had since returned to regular church attendance and four per cent said they don’t plan to return.
The survey by Amárach Research for the Iona Institute found that 45 per cent of those who had not returned cited fear of Covid-19 as the main reason. A further 22 per cent said they were put off by limits on numbers who can attend Mass.
However, seven per cent said they had now “lost the habit” of going to Mass while a further six per cent said they were now happy to watch Mass online.
Public Masses resumed in Ireland on June 29, however there are restrictions on the number of people allowed to attend and the Sunday obligation is suspended.
“Many Catholics have already returned to regular Mass-going, and many more wish to do so. But as we can see, it is also likely that a significant minority will not return without a very significant outreach from the Church,” the Iona Institute said.
“Obviously we must hope that most of those who currently say ‘don’t know’ do, in fact, return,” they added.