It seems that Catholicism is on the wane in what were once urban strongholds. Maeve Connolly has a big front page splash on the front of the Irish News today on regular Mass attendances of just 4% in Poleglass. Holy Family in north Belfast is just bringing 17% of the local Catholic population.
Dublin Archdiocese – with its huge churches designed for another age, and which struggles financially with their up keep – pulls in a mere 14%. Beyond the big cities however people have remained more faithful. In Rasharkin something like 60-65% still go. Yet back in the 1970s the average regular Mass attendance was in the region of 90%. The survey gives percentages in terms of possible Catholics.
It’s the sharpness of the decline that must give huge worry to the hierarchy of the church… Sunday observance was 43% in 2006 (just after the current Pope took office) and is now down to just 20%…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty