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Mass attendance

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 Contents - Oct 2007AD2000 October 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Australian Catholicism in the balance - Michael Gilchrist
Catholic Life: Sydney's Pastoral Plan ready for implementation in 2008 - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Events: Book Launch: Advancing the Culture of Death, by Rev Dr Peter Hung Tran
More of the same: Retired Sydney bishop calls for a radical overhaul of the Catholic faith - Michael Gilchrist
Queensland: Liturgy in Brisbane and the rights of the laity - Michael Apthorp
Sacred space: Sydney seminar promotes improved church architecture and art - John O'Brien
A Christian sceptic's challenge: why atheism has no answers - Babette Francis
Sacred language: New US liturgy head endorses revised Missal translation
Truth: And the Light shines in the darkness: the meaning of true ecumenism - Andrew Kania
Protect Our Children: New organisation to tackle doctrinal and moral child abuse - Fr John O'Neill PP
Letters: Bishop Robinson - Fr Edward P. Evans
Letters: Moral standards - Don Gaffney
Letters: More on Vatican II - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Catholic education - June See
Letters: Mass attendance - John Schmid
Letters: Nonsense - Frank Bellet
Letters: Teaching position available in France - Br John Moylan CFC
Letters: St Therese Church Torquay demolition threat - Charles Haber
Poetry: Mother to Son - Bruce Dawe
Books: JOHN HENRY NEWMAN: In His Time - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Books: SPANISH ROOTS OF AMERICA - Tim Cannon (reviewer)
Events: Cardinal Pell to celebrate Latin Mass - 3 November 2007
Books: Books available from AD Books
Reflection: Archbishop Hickey on the Christian concept of marriage - Archbishop Barry Hickey

A lengthy report was recently submitted to the Australian bishops on why people no longer attend Mass.

Many of the reasons given in that report by individual Catholics suggested they either had a 'chip on the shoulder' regarding the Church or little idea of what the Mass actually means.

If Church authorities simply try to adapt Mass celebrations to the wishes of those in the survey they would be going the wrong way since those surveyed seemed to be rating Masses on how community-centred they were - with no awareness of the essential sacrificial character of the Mass.

A personable priest, friendly congregation and catchy hymns are all well and good, but not the essential reasons for attending Mass. Emphasising these aspects alone will have no lasting effect on attendances.

Why not conduct another survey of those who go to Mass daily. It is common in sporting and other circles to survey 'success stories'. A study of daily Mass-goers would, I am sure, show a common thread. Top of the list would be love of God and His Son Jesus Christ, not so much whether those in the pews like the priest, how Mass is celebrated, or the level of community acceptance, etc.

In the days of outright persecution, Catholics attended Mass 'In spite of dungeon, fire and sword'. Why? Because they loved God.

Inadequate RE over much of the past 30 years has a lot to answer for, even if this is not the sole cause of non-attendance - wilful turning away from God can happen to the best educated in their faith.

Boronia, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 9 (October 2007), p. 15

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