Results from a major survey conducted by Catholic Voices, entitled “Coronavirus, Church & You”, assessing responses to the Covid-19 crisis among Catholics in the UK have revealed the experience of both clergy and laity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 2,500 Catholics (between 19th May and the 26th July) were surveyed about their experiences and attitudes towards lockdown. Among most significant findings of the survey are:
- Of those polled 93% accessed Church services online during COVID19. This high figure naturally reflects the fact that this was an online survey circulated directly by Bishops, clergy, religious orders, lay and diocesan networks.
- While there was a high level of engagement and appreciation of online worship (66%) the results suggest that there is little danger of a mass exodus to the virtual world, with only 4% thinking they would worship mainly or entirely online in the future.
- A majority (61%) felt that closing church buildings during the lockdown was the right decision.
80% think that church buildings are central to faith witness in the community and 84% disagreed with the suggestion that church buildings are an unnecessary burden and expense.
- 82% of Catholics thought that the NHS had responded well to the crisis, whilst just over half of Catholics felt that their church at a national level had responded well (53%) and only about a fifth (22%) of people agreed that the Government led the nation well during the lockdown.
- Many Catholics polled (63%) had had some contact with clergy or a lay representative during lockdown ranging from pastoral support, practical help, prayer, church admin, or just checking up.
- Catholics surveyed said that lockdown had helped them to feel closer to God (50%) and more prayerful (54%).
- The survey also found that younger Catholics were more likely to be opposed to lockdown and felt more strongly about the importance of church buildings than did older people who were surveyed.
Speaking on the findings, Brenden Thompson, CEO Catholic Voices, said, “I am pleasantly surprised by many of the findings of this survey. Catholics miss their parishes and church buildings and seem eager to return, not just content with ‘virtual Church’. Many it seems, by and large, have backed the Bishops, been grateful for the efforts of clergy to livestream, and many have even felt at times closer to God and been more prayerful than usual. That said, the challenges ahead are real, so if we want to capitalise on this goodwill, we need to start thinking seriously about the conversations that need to happen as more and more begin returning to parishes.”
To read the full report, click here.