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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

Mass attendance up in England and Wales, latest figures show

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Next year’s Catholic Directory for England and Wales arrived in the office today. I eagerly flipped to the section called “Recapitulation of Statistics”. Beneath that rather dull heading are the latest figures for the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

These numbers are interesting and important because the Church in this country isn’t good at gathering statistical information. Outside these pages, with their bland rows of numbers, it is hard to find trustworthy data on the Catholics of England and Wales.

So what do this year’s figures (actually gathered in 2008) tell us? One or two interesting things.

First, there are more than 100 diocesan priests than in the previous year (3,614 compared to 3,506), but 300 fewer religious priests (1,069 to 1,312).

Second, the overall Catholic population is smaller than in the previous year (4,148,783 to 4,156,544), but weekly Mass attendance is higher (918,844 to 915,556).

Third, baptisms and receptions are up (63,533 to 58,991 and 4,378 to 4,239 respectively). But the number of marriages is slightly down (9,932 to 9,950).

All in all, this is pretty encouraging news.

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Written by Luke Coppen

November 26, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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