By Katie Ascough - 24 April, 2020
A new poll from Amarach Research, commissioned by The Iona Institute, looks at how religious practice is taking place during pandemic restrictions.
It has found that:
– 27 per cent of the public have watched or listened to at least one religious service during the current period.
– 18 per cent are praying more than they usually would.
– 85 per cent believe we will value family more after the lockdown ends.
– 75 per cent think we will value the elderly more.
– 31 per cent believe we will be more spiritual.
A more detailed look highlights some unexpected findings. For example, 24 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they are praying more than usual. This is the same as for over 55s, but far higher than the age groups in between. Just 9 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds say they are praying more than they normally would.
Some 37 per cent say they are praying about the same as usual, while 43 per cent say they don’t pray and 2 per cent say they are praying less than usual.
The poll, which was conducted in the first and second weeks of April 2020, finds that 15 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 have watched at least one religious service in the current period. This rises to 44 per cent among the over 55s.
Commenting on the findings, Brendan Conroy of The Iona Institute said: “It is encouraging that so many people are still taking part in religious services in whatever way they can during the current unprecedented situation. Weekly church attendance figures in Ireland are about 30 per cent and so the 27 per cent who are tuning into religious service online, or via TV or radio, is about the same as that. In other words, they are doing their best still to take part in communal acts of worship.
“It is also good to see that almost one in five people are praying more. This is a natural religious reaction in a time of crisis. For example, you are more likely to pray for your loved ones.”
Brendan concluded: “It is also obvious from the survey that people are using this time to take stock. The fact that 85 per cent think we will value family more after this, 75 per cent say we will value the elderly more, and 31 per cent think society will become more spiritual also indicate this.”