By Luke Coppen AVERAGE NUMBERS attending Sunday Mass fell again last year, while the Catholic population as a whole increased.
New official figures reveal an average Sunday attendance of just over one million in 1998, 30,000 fewer than the year before. The Catholic population over the same period grew by 15,000.
Official figures from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales suggest that numbers at Sunday Mass have fallen from 1,387,435 to 1,056,027. The decline in numbers of practising Catholics reflects a similar decline in the main Christian denominations.
A new independent survey of the UK's Christian Churches found that fewer than eight per cent of the population now go to Sunday services — a drop of 22 per cent since 1989. The Catholic Church still has more practising members than any other denomination, with approximately 75,000 more people at Sunday worship than the Church of England.