The Aftermath: New Poll of UK Catholics Reveals Post-Pandemic Mental Health Crisis 


Madalaine Elhabbal on December 7, 2023

CV NEWS FEED // Mass closures of Catholic churches across the nation during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in heightened mental and physical grief, a new poll of Catholics in the UK revealed. 

The Catholic Union survey discovered that 62% of participants experienced negative effects on their mental and spiritual well being as a direct result of being prevented from going to Mass. 

Out of the 1,000 Catholics who participated in the poll, 90% of them equated Mass with essential entities such as grocery stores and healthcare facilities during the pandemic. 

In a Catholic Herald UK report, Catholic Union president Baroness Hollins said: “These results are distressing. They confirm that the lockdown of churches was not only hugely unpopular, but had a real impact on people’s wellbeing.”

She continued:

The increase in the number of people feeling lonely or depressed as a direct consequence of the closures is particularly shocking. It is vital that the Covid inquiry properly considers the decisions to close and reopen churches during the pandemic. There is a very strong sense that faith and faith communities were pushed to one side when decisions were made, and this needs to be addressed in the learning from the Inquiry.

During Covid-19, Catholic bishops in England and Wales “suspended the celebration of public Masses from March 20, 2020, the same day the Government closed the schools,” the report stated. 

“I became very depressed,” said one participant. “It felt as if a part of me was missing.” Another described going without Mass during the pandemic as “one of the most distressing experiences of my life.”

The churches were closed down from the start of the first lockdown on March 23 till July, “seven weeks after garden centers and construction workers were allowed to resume their services.”

Only 25% of Catholics who responded to the survey expressed the belief that church closures were necessary during the pandemic, while 93% felt betrayed by politicians making decisions about the closures. 

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