Letter: Irish church attendance

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The Independent Online
IN YOUR leader ``Catholics and the state'' (20 November) you refer to a figure in relation to regular church attendance in Ireland which I believe is wrong (although it has been quoted elsewhere).

``This is the most orthodox Catholic community in the Western world, where more than 80 per cent attend Mass once a week.''

As reported in the Irish Times of 1 July 1994, the book Values and Social Change in Ireland quotes a figure of 59 per cent attending church once a week, rising to 61 for Catholics. These statistics are taken from the 1990 European Values Studies report. They do not indicate a sudden drop in church attendance but actually a slight rise on the 1981 report figures.

Whereas I agree with the thrust of your editorial, exaggerating how conservative the Irish people are does not help those of us who would like to see change.

Gerry Blake

Glenageary, Co Dublin