A survey carried out on behalf of the Flemish Heritage Minister Geert Bourgeois (nationalist) by the Centre for Religious Art and Culture (CRAC) has found that Mass is still celebrated in all but 3% of the churches in our region.
more weekly Sunday services are provided in half or all Flemish
The aim of the survey was to find how to what extent churches in
our region are used.
The figures from the survey destroy the popular
perception that many church buildings are hardly if ever used.
Jan Jaspers told the VRT that "In the past church doors remained open
and people could run in and out. However, to prevent thefts, many
churches have opted only to open their doors while they are being used
for a service. This of course gives people the impression that the
churches are closed which is not the case."
97% of all church
buildings are still used for services. However, some are used more than
others. Falling congregations mean that a weekly Sunday Mass is
celebrated in just 49% of Flemish Churches.
marriages and funeral services are still celebrated in 91% of churches.
general state of the churches is also good.
The state of 61% of church
buildings is described as "good", 35% as "reasonable" and 3% as "bad".
75% of churches open their doors to other activities than religious
services such as concerts, exhibitions and lectures.
exist to change the use of 9% of churches.
A third of this would be
used by other religions than the Roman Catholic Church, while
two-thirds would be used for non-religious activities.
Up until just 20
churches have been de-consecrated in Flanders, which is far fewer than
in other parts of Europe.