1 in 5 Mass-goers don’t know if they will return after Covid says new poll

Press Release from The Iona Institute

36pc of Catholics have returned to Mass since lockdown ended 

But almost a quarter not sure if they will come back

September 21, 2020  – A new Amarach Research poll commissioned by The Iona Institute shows that 36pc of Catholics who were attending Mass regularly before the Covid pandemic have returned to Mass. However, the poll has also found that 4pc of previous Mass-goers do not intend returning and 19pc don’t know if they will.

This is the first poll of its kind conducted in Ireland.

A large majority of those who have not returned to regular attendance said it is due to fear of the virus (45pc) or because of the limits on numbers permitted to attend (22pc).

The poll also showed that 27pc of Catholics were attending Mass on a regular basis before the beginning of the pandemic.

Commenting on the poll, Dr John Murray, Chairman of The Iona Institute said: “The findings should act as a further wake-up call for the Church. On the positive side, 36pc of people are back at Mass which is probably close to the maximum because of current restrictions. It is also good that a big majority of those who were attending Mass before the outbreak want to return when all this is over. But the fact that 19pc of Catholics who attended Mass regularly before Covid don’t know if they will came back, and another 4pc say they won’t come back, is obviously deeply worrying. The Church is clearly going to have to organise a big parish-by-parish effort and invite them back. The Church is nothing if it is not a community. We can’t be Christians on our own”.

A previous poll commissioned by The Iona Institute and conducted in mid-April, found that 27pc of respondents had tuned into religious services online, which is comparable to the numbers attending Mass regularly before lockdown began. It also found that 18pc of people were praying more than usual.


Notes to editor:

  1. The Iona Institute is a Christian advocacy and research organisation.
  2. The poll is based on a national representative online sample of 1,000 people and was conducted by Amarach Research in early September.
  3. The press release detailing findings of the poll in April can be found here: https://ionainstitute.ie/16283-2/