January 30, 2019
By Giselle Scicluna
Statistics published by Discern, the research institute of the Archdiocese of Malta paint a very grim picture for the Church in our country. A mere fifty years ago, the number of faithful who attended Sunday mass was at a whopping eight-two percent of the population. Fresh from the abhorrent religio-political war of the early sixties, with people still reeling from the horrific effects of ‘id-dnub il-mejjet’ (interdiction), eighty-two percent was then a huge number indeed.
Fast forward five decades and that number has dwindled to a scant thirty-six percent, which figures show is hugely made up of attendees who are over fifty years of age. The same published data also predicts that if numbers keep on declining at the current rate, by 2040 only ten percent of Malta’s Catholic population will be attending Sunday Mass. Interestingly, against this scenario, the same study also reveals that ninety-two percent of the population believe they are Catholic.
So, in a nutshell, we can conclude that the decimated Sunday Mass attendance is not due to some existential crisis of faith, but to other perhaps more telling issues, which are increasingly keeping the faithful away from their Church.
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