Mass attendance in parts of Europe


I had a question about the rate of Mass attendance in Europe. Does Eastern Europe have a higher rate of Mass attendance than Western Europe. By Eastern Europe I mean places like Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, places you rarely hear about. I think I’ve heard Poland has a pretty high Mass rate.



Someone else will probably come along with actual figures, but from my subjective experience, Poland, Spain, and Italy do pretty well, as do England and Ireland (though the latter is degrading quickly). German Catholics are pretty good about attending; I don’t know about Austria. I’d class Italy and Belgium as “medium”, and France and the rest of the Eastern European countries are pretty disappointing, though there is still a backbone of faithful Catholics, however here in France they are aging out, whereas in Eastern Europe the trend is a bit less negative.

For reference, I’d also call Americans “good” about attending, so my baseline already assumes that there are a significant portion of people who call themselves Catholic but don’t follow the Church’s precepts. I’m comparing the European countries to that baseline in the paragraph above (and, again, I’m doing so subjectively).

All in all, though, the picture in Europe is one of decline, in stark contrast to Asia and Africa where there is clear growth.



Poland and Slovakia Ireland (but it has seen a dramatic decline), England and Wales and Austria are all above average. France and most other Eastern European countries are below average. Italy is an interesting case - Italians say they go to mass, but the evidence from church census’ suggests they don’t and puts them in the bottom quartile!



Isn’t the Church in Austria where there is a lot of dissent going on?
Is there any sign or growth in Europe at all? Is the ‘Francis effect’ that was being talked about in Italy true for other European countries?
I’ve seen pictures of two Cathedrals or something in Hungary that were completely packed, was this just a fluke?



In terms of numbers the Church membership increased on all six major continents the last time I looked.

I wouldn’t be surprised at higher mass attendance in Eastern Europe, which is culturally different in many ways than Western/Northern Europe.



The farther south you go in the Netherlands, the more people go to Mass.



Yes, mass attendance there is definitely much higher than in the west.

(It is more accurate to refer to them as Central Europe.)



I think Poland, Ireland, Slovakia have pretty high attendance. Scandinavia and France are pretty low. America has high attendance compared to some places. Italy is somewhere in the middle.



Some interesting stats on church attendance, all faiths.

What is especially interesting is the father’s attendance having more influence than the mother’s.



I have seen it reported in the French press that France has the lowest rate of Sunday Mass attendance of all so-called “Catholic countries” worldwide.

Source: Le Figaro (in French)

Demographically, the southern part of the Netherlands is Catholic whilst the northern part is Protestant, so this is not surprising. :slight_smile:



One anecdote about Italians: years ago when I was studying German in Germany, one of my fellow-students, an Italian woman named Monica, commented to me that she hadn’t been to church for a while but planned to go in a few days because it was the feast day of St. Monica. This wasn’t a Sunday and she seemed to feel no obligation to attend on Sundays and days of obligation. It’s also possibly that she never went on St. Monica’s feast day–I certainly didn’t check up on her! The point of the story is that she clearly felt connected to the Church and to her patron saint and probably would have told a census-taker that she went to Mass, but a study of Sunday Mass attendance probably wouldn’t have counted her.




That ties in with an anecdote about my Italian cousin. I asked her one summer if she went to mass and she said “Of course”. Later on, I asked her whether the church she normally attends has a choir, and she said “I don’t know, I haven’t been since All Souls Day last year” !!



Pretty amazing considering the 4 decades or so during which Christianity was generally looked down upon (if tolerated) as backwards, and sometimes restricted, with the state promoting atheism including in schools. Meanwhile in the west where people were free to practice their faith as they chose, Mass attendance dropped.



I’m talking about the southern tip that’s high in Mass attendance (Like, Roermond, Maastricht, etc.)



So am I. :slight_smile:



I can honestly say that the churches in Slovakia are pretty packed with all ages from 0 to 99 and it doesn’t look less than in previous decades at all.

In Austria not so packed but still fairly full.

In England there are usually 5-10 people at 10am mass during the week (usually retired people) and Sunday masses tend to be half full. The Holy days masses during the weeks are half full and the All Saints day has usually about 10-20 people. This depends on the location. The Westminster cathedral is usually full all the time as it’s visited by the tourists every day.



The average mass attendance in London Catholic churches is about 800 (see Diocese of Westminsterand mass attendance among Catholics in England and Wales is 22% which is above. At the parishes near me it is standing room only at the main Sunday morning mass, the Sunday evening mass and 12.15 masses are full but attendance is lower at the Vigil and 9am masses.



Slovakia has seen an increase in mass attendance since the fall of communism, unlike its neighbours where mass attendance is still in single figures. Austria has one of the lowest mass attendance in Europe at 9%.



Where in England do you live? I never pictured Churches being so full there.



litluv is in London.

I love going to Mass in England. On a recent day trip there, I attended a weekday Mass at a church in Kent and was amazed at the beauty of the liturgy. The day after I came home I told my pastor about it, he said that in his opinion the English have always had a sense of beauty when it comes to the Mass. On top of that, I was welcomed like an old friend even though I had never set foot in that church before and was only there for about an hour (duration of the Mass + prayers before and after). The next time I’m in that area I won’t hesitate to drop in! :thumbsup:


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