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Just over half of Catholics believe the Church responded to coronavirus crisis well

by Tola Mbakwe

A new study has given insight into how Catholics in the UK responded to the coronavirus lockdown. 

The survey was commissioned by Catholic Voices, a project to improve the Catholic Church's representation in UK media. 

Out of the 2,500 Catholic clergy and laity surveyed, 53 per cent said they felt that their Church at a national level had responded well to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Brenden Thompson, CEO of Catholic Voices, told Premier :"I think that there have been some ways in which the Archbishop of Westminster was quite instrumental in making sure that the churches got opened again.

"He lobbied the Government and made sure that happened. So I think that there are good reasons for Catholics to be proud, at least of how their authorities have handled the pandemic."

The survey also signalled that Catholics aren't a fan of online worship. While 66 per cent of respondents said they engaged with online worship well and appreciated it, only 4 per cent think they would worship mainly or entirely online in the future.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent of respondents think that church buildings are central to faith witness in the community and 84 per cent disagreed with the suggestion that church buildings are an unnecessary burden and expense.

"One of the most important central pillars of the Catholic faith is the Mass and the Mass is the sort of thing that has to be done in person," Thompson said. 

"So there's been a fear among some that there will be a mass exodus to virtual church, but at least from the Catholics that were surveyed in our poll, there doesn't seem to be such a need to fear that.

"What I'm hoping for is that churches can learn. Particularly what I'm finding from reading the results is that there was a lot on offer, but not necessarily a lot of participation. So we hope that those who are putting services online find new and interesting ways to engage the people that clearly are coming online for worship."

The study also found that half of those surveyed said lockdown had helped them to feel closer to God and 54 per cent believe it made them more prayerful.

Listen to Premier's interview with Brenden Thompson here: 


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