To attract parishioners we must construct mature Church

The Catholic Church can attract parishioners although changes are needed, says Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

“We have to construct a mature Church” to attract parishioners, he says.

The question is how: how will the Church choose to reach out to people and define itself?

In his opinion, the Church will need to be very different to how it has been in the past.

“People will come through conviction, rather than being born Catholic.”

Martin acknowledges that one of the difficulties the Church is facing at the moment is that activities are suspended because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Restoring activities is a must, he says – though this may require making changes – something Martin says he isn’t “totally negative about.”

“We have to move into a mode, we have to construct the church in a different way,” he says.

He suggests efforts to attract parishioners means the question “Why do people leave the Church?” needs to be explored.

Martin says the fact that there are more civil marriage ceremonies than religious and that ‘no religion’ was the second most ticked box on the Census, must lead the Church to some form of understanding about today’s society.

“It indicates people’s choice,” he says.

“This [religion] isn’t being forced on people – it’s a choice. We have to give people a reason to believe, to attract people and construct a mature [church].”

Church property also needs to be considered.

Martin says it is “probably true,” that some buildings, particularly larger ones could close.

In this respect he says the Church needs to “take a good long look” at exactly what it needs.

“Parish centres could be far too large for our needs,” he suggests. In addition, some larger churches might close on the back of falling numbers, he says.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: ,