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The National Centre for Pastoral Research will soon commence a study of reported reasons why people who continue to affiliate as Catholics do not participate regularly in Sunday Mass. Source: The Catholic Weekly. 

Titled “Absent from the Table”, the national study will raise questions about the contemporary religious practice and beliefs of Catholics in Australia, and the place of the Eucharist in their spiritual lives.

The findings will assist pastoral leaders to better understand the self-understanding of these Catholics, identify how their expression of Catholic identity may have changed, and suggest responses and strategies for seeking to encourage participation in this primary act of worship.  

Previous studies that have been conducted in this field suggest that there are multiple reasons why Catholics do not attend Mass, including personal beliefs, dissatisfaction with church practices, and competing obligations.  

However, the existing literature is limited in scope and pre-dates the impact of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the restrictions imposed on churches in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and public debate over issues including same-sex unions and euthanasia, and present threats to religious freedom.  

NCPR director Trudy Dantis will lead the two-year project alongside her team, including senior researcher Stephen Reid. 

“The first stage of the project, a national survey, will seek participants through dioceses, parishes, schools, support agencies, Catholic universities and other Catholic organisations and groups,” Dr Reid said. 

“Following the survey stage of the project, a second stage will involve collection of more in-depth information using interviews. A report of the findings of the project will be completed in November 2025.” 


National study to investigate reasons for decline in Mass attendance (By Daniel Ang, The Catholic Weekly)