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Survey of U.S. Catholics measures pandemic’s impact on faith


Nelson Antoine | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 05/12/21 - updated on 05/31/21

Lay Catholics are eager to return to Mass and ask for more decisive action from Church leaders.

A recent survey is measuring the extent of the world pandemic’s impact on U.S. Catholic faith practice. Responses were marked by frustration over continuing church closures and an eagerness to return to Mass

Survey results

The survey was conducted by Catholics Come Home (CCH), an international evangelization apostolate. In May, the survey questioned more than 20,000 American Catholics from over 100 dioceses. Of these, 78.4% agreed that “access to the graces of the sacraments” was moderately or severely reduced

When asked to describe the limitations to attending Mass, 77.2% said they were moderately or severely limited. Online services, which were supposed to address these limits, appear to have fallen flat. Three-quarters of respondents said virtual Mass was notan adequatealternative in general. 

One of the most agreed upon responses came in the questions of the performances of bishops during the pandemic. As many as 76.9% of those surveyed said they would like to see bolder action from Catholic leadership, as well as an increase in clarity. This response changed significantly at the local level, where 68.6% said their pastors were taking “prudent measures” to maintain faith practice. 

Over three-quarters of the faithful (76.1%) said they want more opportunities for in-person parish functionality. If this problem can be addressed, it should also help alleviate concerns over Confession. Over 65% of respondents said they were moderately or severely limited from receiving Reconciliation since the pandemic began. 

Letter to the bishops

Catholics Come Home has responded to the survey by sharing the results with the U.S. Catholic Bishops. The letter encouraged them to “more boldly respond to the challenges of our time.” CCH also expressed its desire to assist the bishops to “feed their flocks and welcome souls back to the practice of their faith.”

CCH wrote: 

“With the deepest respect for your role as bishop, your flock implores you to prayerfully demonstrate bold apostolic zeal as we continue to grapple with this pandemic, and the increasing tsunami of spiritual warfare to come in the future.”

CatholicCOVID-19FaithUnited States
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