Understanding Church Attendance in Belgium: A Deeper Look into Catholic Practices

2023-07-05 06:48:00

A majority of Belgians say they are Catholic, according to a survey by the Flemish university KUL. Yet the churches seem empty, is there a paradox? Luc Terlinden, future archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, does not see it that way.

Invited from 7:50 a.m. on bel RTL matin, he qualifies: “It depends on the place, as far as church attendance is concerned. I have been in Mechelen for two years already. I can tell you that every day, by the dozens, people come to burn a candle in the cathedral. It is also a form of practice“.

Luc Terlinden reminds us, the practice is not limited to “Mass on Sunday”. We must also take into account, according to him,the participation in a communion, a wedding, a funeral, these people who only pass for a little prayer and burn a candle“.

Is there a “mistrust” on the part of believers vis-à-vis the church? Not really, for the priest. “We are in a culture where it is no longer a social fact to have to go to mass on Sunday. It becomes a free choice “, he justifies. “It’s still an investment to dedicate every Sunday, one or two hours, to participate in the Eucharist“.

We are in a culture that emphasizes authenticity, the authenticity of the approach, “he continues. “It is true that today, some do not recognize themselves in the church today. It is in a truer way that we practice today“.

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