Wall Street Journal: Catholic Nonprofit Based in Malvern Says Mass Shouldn’t Be Experienced Like Netflix

church altar and sanctuary
Image via Creative Commons.
The Catholic Leadership Institute, among other religious institutions, is stressing the importance of in-person mass attendance.

Churches have changed significantly during the pandemic, leaving many Christian leaders from Chester County and across the country wrestling with how to bring people back into the pews. The Catholic Leadership Institute, a Malvern-based nonprofit, has a particularly strong reaction to the trend in virtual attendance, writes Janet Adamy for The Wall Street Journal.

Over the past decades, the number of churchgoers has steadily declined. COVID-19 and accompanying lockdown restrictions accelerated the drop, cutting attendance 30-50 percent what it was before the global health crisis.

Some religious leaders are trying to embrace this change with a hybrid model to worship. They plan to offer live-streaming versions of their services and sermons posted indefinitely.

Many more traditional churches, however, intend that their online liturgies be reserved for elderly congregants or members who are sick.

The Catholic Church, for example, does not want to see Sunday Mass move permanently online, especially in light of its view of receiving Holy Communion in person.

“It’s not a show,” said Dan Cellucci, chief executive of the Catholic Leadership Institute in Malvern. “It’s an act of participation that we’re supposed to be part of. We don’t want people kind of taking it in as they are their Netflix.”

Read more about the issue, and the response of the Catholic Leadership Institute, in The Wall Street Journal.