Why do Mass attendance and new vocations continue to collapse?

What do you think needs to be done to solve this issue?

Aside from the Sacraments, which the Church already administers in abundance, I think people need better catechesis, more solid and substancial.

For example, I think it’s critical for every faithful to know the meaning and the parts of the Mass, something that is overlooked to much in school and youth groups.


i know many who have left because, due to the scandals, they feel the Church has lost its moral standing from the top down. I am not sure how that gets fixed. It will take a lot of time.


This is my limited and personal opinion.

People are hungry for God. In a million ways we can see this, or perhaps we experience this hunger. I listen to those in charge at my parish and they speak of " what can we do to bring people to the church?"
No one asks me personally, if they did, and as you have somewhat , I may reply…most important is Conversion. it is essential to knowing God. without it, the figs on the tree wither and die.

Beauty. our suffering parishes need to lead with the beauty of the Spirit. not becoming more like the non-dom church down the street, but bringing the beauty of Catholicism out into the light.

The more it is thought that becoming like the world is the answer, the smaller will be Mass attendance and less lasting new vocations


Live according to our Lord’s will.
Invite friends and family to mass.


I live in the Philippines. Population is around 108 million. 85% of the population are Catholics.
Mass attendance is around 80%.


Even there it’s still limited

Evangelization did not save the Protestants and it won’t save us.
Worship Music did not save the Protestants and it won’t save us.

Their is only the Birth Rate and Retention rate. Theists have kids more than secularists.


Practicing Catholics need to get married sooner and have more children. Additionally, parents have to maintain an active role in raising their children in the faith. They need to ask their children if they have vocations and show support for the same.


Unfortunately, most people don’t think that Catholicism in particular or Christianity in general has anything to offer their lives. This is because many people in the Church do a very bad job making things relevant for people and their everyday lives. Now, that is not to say that there is no hope. Groups like Dynamic Catholic do a really good job of providing materials (like the upcoming Best Advent Ever, which I highly recommend, as well as Best Lent Ever) for people to enhance their faith and connect it to their true lived experiences. Matthew Kelly, the leader of Dynamic Catholic, talks a lot about how the first Christians lived radically different lives that people could immediately recognize as Christian and how we need to so the same today. I personally believe that the best way to spread the faith today is through a combination of service and the sharing of personal religious experience in order to plant the seeds of the Holy Spirit in others. Most people do indeed identify as spiritual and long for something deeper, they just don’t know where to turn because we do such a bad job reaching out to them, making them feel welcome, and touching their lives with the blessedness of God.

Now, that being said, we cannot give in to the watering down of faith and dogma, either. We have to cling Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, sustain ourselves through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, pray and do penance for the conversion of us all, and reach out to all people with love, starting with our friends and family. This upcoming holiday season might be the time to start!

May God bless you all! :slight_smile:


new vocations-----Honestly I don’t know whose “fault”: it is but the joys, happiness, blessings and Graces the Priesthood brings to many men isn’t spoken about or stressed enough. It’s been shown that Priests are some of the happiest most satisfied people with their lives. Parishes need to make it a point to have special prayer events and things especially to support and pray for more Priests.

Mass attendance----we who do go need to show our JOY and blessings being an active Catholic brings to our lives. We need to speak about and share our faith even with fellow Catholics who may be lukewarm. Better catechesis and just more explanation of the most misunderstood basics.

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A lot of people keep saying we should make wider use of Latin, a lot of people have magical thinking about the Latin language. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything wrong with Latin, but I’ve seen Mass in English that was every bit as reverent as a Latin high Mass. I know this might surprise people, but I also prefer Byzantine liturgy to the Latin Mass, sorry. Anyway, I think that the best thing we can do, is not only pray, but make sure the people that are ordained, the men that are going to be serving the rest of their lives for God and his Church, are solidly orthodox.


Psalm 127

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
      are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
      his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
      when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

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If by “new vocations” you mean “priests”, the number of ordinations in 2019 in USA already seems to have increased over the previous year. I agree with those who said that the priesthood took a hit from the clergy abuse scandal and from the many abuses that were going on in seminaries. It will take time to recover from this. Meanwhile, I’d rather the seminaries concentrate on getting quality priesthood candidates who will actually stay around rather than just stay for a few years and quit the priesthood as happened with a lot of younger priests in the 70s and 80s. It’s also worth noting that the number of deacons in US has steadily increased since the 1970s, and there doesn’t appear to be a “collapsing” of that ministry.

As for Mass attendance, the old ways of making sure people went to Mass was to tell them they’d go to Hell for missing Mass and also, many of them lived in a town where the priest and/or family or neighbors would notice they hadn’t been to Mass and provide social repercussions. Nowadays parishes are much more impersonal and no one is “tracking” the average Catholic’s Mass-going habits, nor are they telling people that missing Mass is a mortal sin, so people slack off. If they truly want to get everyone back to Mass - which incidentally could cause logistical problems in parishes that are so big that they already have 6 Sunday Masses scheduled and most of them are full on any given weekend - they need to start emphasizing obligation to attend and the sin of missing it. Simply focusing on warm fuzzy feelings is not going to get people off their duff and to church on Sunday.


In the U.S., smaller families and young folks seem to be enjoying the single life. Look at all the dating ap sites - is it that they don’t know how to have real relationships and rely on social media? Then there is just the “religion is not that important to me” thought. It’s not only the Catholic Church that is down in numbers. Protestant churches are suffering, too. Maybe this is the era of malaise.

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Not to go off topic, but the use of social media doesn’t imply that a person doesn’t know how to have a “real” relationship. While I met my husband years before social media was invented, the vast majority of my significant close friendships in the last 20 years began on social media. One big reason for using it is that it accommodates people who otherwise would be separated by time or distance and whose schedules don’t allow for a lot of in-person interaction like eating lunch together.


You are correct - I meant to point out that many don’t know how to have conversations in person - they would rather text.

I think that the decrease in vocations is parallel to the increase in divorces and decrease of marriages. I personally think we live in a society with a huge fear of the big C: commitment!!!


For those claiming that big families would increase Mass attendance, the Mass attendance is being reported by percentage of Catholics on most statistical sites. I’m not sure how increasing the sheer number of Catholic kids is necessarily going to help with a percentage-based attendance figure. Many of the Catholics who currently aren’t going to church were originally kids from those big Catholic families that were still very prevalent in the 70s and 80s (I went to school with tons of them).

I’m also not convinced that big families would help with vocations. Sure it would increase the numbers of people in the potential vocation pool, but if every Catholic family now has six kids instead of 2, then you’d need three times as many priests to maintain the per capita priest numbers. CARA already reports that the number of Catholics worldwide has doubled since 1970 but the number of priests has stayed the same. It seems like we already have a big pool and could work harder on recruiting quality candidates from the existing pool rather than growing the whole pool and potentially creating a bigger per capita problem.

Again speaking as someone who grew up around a lot of traditional big Catholic families, they didn’t necessarily all promote good Catholic practice or vocations from within the family. Some of those families were dysfunctional and/or cash-strapped and/or otherwise just didn’t promote any kind of ongoing Catholic practice. It would be better for a couple to marry at age 35 and have one kid and all stay strong in the faith than marry at 20, have 6 kids and lukewarm practice or chaos at home.


Is that why you attend? Because someone has told you it would be a sin not to?

He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”
Lumen Gentium 14

With these words, the bishops at Vatican II told us it was not enough to fulfill an obligation to attend. Rather, we need to “persevere in charity.” Warm fuzzy feelings! Not the words I would use to describe loving God and loving neighbor, but that is what is needed for a community committed to Christ.

These words are followed by a warning that could affect our life in the Church:

All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.
Lumen Gentium 14

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