Bishops launch consultation on "disconnected Catholics"

The Australian bishops' Pastoral Projects Office has released the full report of a research project into "disconnected Catholics" as the project moves to its second consultative stage.

Catholic dioceses, organisations and other interested people will have the opportunity to respond to a research project which explores why some Catholics have stopped going to Mass, the Pastoral Projects Office says in a statement.

The findings of the Disconnected Catholics research project were earlier presented in summary form to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at its November 2006 meeting.

Forty-one people aged from 29 to 74 were interviewed for the qualitative research project.

The reasons they gave for ceasing to attend Mass covered a range of church-related issues as well as inter-personal, cultural and social factors.

However, half the participants said they still attend Mass occasionally and almost one third said they might return to weekly Mass attendance in the future.

The full report, released this week, provides many personal accounts from those interviewed in the research. Director of the Pastoral Projects Office, Mr Bob Dixon, said that, in asking for this research to be carried out, the Bishops have shown a desire to understand the views and experiences of Catholics who have stopped going to Mass

According to the statement, with the release of the full report, the project will now enter its second phase, of consultation.

"We have designed a process of consultation to seek responses from leadership and consultative bodies in dioceses and other Catholic organisations," Mr Dixon said.

"We also welcome feedback from others who read the report. The purpose of the consultation process is to assist us to prepare recommendations that will help the Church enhance its pastoral practices at national, diocesan and parish level."

Mr Dixon said that he hope the report will stimulate discussion and action in the Church.

Disconnected Catholics research enters consultation phase (ACBC Media Release, 3/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pastoral Projects Office, ACBC

Bishops seek to reconnect with Catholics (CathNews, 4/12/06)
Study says British Catholicism facing "pastoral catastrophe" (CathNews, 5/7/06)
National mass count continues this Sunday (CathNews, 12/5/06)
5.9% decline in Mass attendance in Chicago last year (CathNews, 2/1/04)
Pell blames Sunday sport for decline in mass attendance (CathNews, 17/12/03)

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