Pandemic lowers number of practicing Catholics in Poland

A research survey shows that the Covid-19 pandemic reduced the number of church-goers, speeding up a trend which had already been underway

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: pch24.pl
People walk by the Temple of Divine Providence, a major church in the Polish capital Warsaw.

The pandemic has reduced weekly church attendances in Poland from 46 percent of the population to 37 percent, according to research by the CBOS research center.

The research also indicated that more people are declaring themselves as those who never go to church. However, the figure for those who attend church more than once a week remained stable between 2020 and 2022.  

CBOS reported that early on in the pandemic the lockdown and the associated feeling of uncertainty and concern about health and life led to a temporary increase in religious commitment among the populace, but in the same year, the numbers of church-goers declined. 

According to the survey, 32 percent of Poles say they attend church every Sunday, 4 percent go more than once a week, and 1 percent go every day. In 2020, 46 percent declared that they went to church every Sunday, and in 2018, that figure was 49 percent. Therefore, it would appear the pandemic has accelerated the trend of people deciding to skip Sunday mass. 

CBOS also asked about attitudes toward the Church, with 27 percent of respondents stating that the Church is a community within which their faith can be fulfilled. On the contrary, 26 percent view the Church as being one of bishops and priests who they find unappealing; 20 percent believe the Church equals the local parish; and another 20 percent say the Church has failed to adjust to modern times. The divide between those who view the Church positively and negatively is pretty even, with 47 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving. 

In terms of attitudes to God, 44 percent believe he has a direct influence on their lives, and 25 percent believe that God exists but has no role in their life. As many as 58 percent reported that their faith in God was connected to their upbringing. 

CBOS noted that the pandemic period witnessed a number of scandals involving the Church and its priests. It also said that the pandemic, by limiting church attendance for security reasons, weakened the habit of church attendance for those who had been going purely for reasons of tradition and habit. 

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