The tradition of midnight mass on Christmas Eve may be falling out of practice, according to a survey.
The survey of more than 50 Catholic deaneries from The Tablet showed that fewer churches are holding the service. Others have moved the service to earlier in the evening, while some have stopped offering the Christmas Eve service altogether.
"Last time we had it, we ended up with a drunk trying to get the doors off the church," said Monsignor David Hogan, of St. Bernadette’s in Middlesbrough. "So we've made the decision not to have Mass when people are pouring out of the pubs sloshed."
In York, a streaker made an appearance at the St. George’s Catholic Church midnight mass last year.
Other churches have claimed that drunk people have tried to attack the church during the midnight service.
"It is not nice being showered with bricks by drunken yobbos when you're trying to pray," Canon Peter Turbitt said of the incident at St Michael and All Angels, Portsmouth. "A lot of people were frightened to walk home afterwards," he said.
Churches are now turning to vigil services earlier on Christmas Eve, which some priests say isn’t the same.
“Going to Midnight Mass at Christmas used to be one of the hallmarks of being a Catholic; it is sad if that is changing," said Fr. Michael Marsden, priest of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Publication date: December 19, 2014