Diocese publishes results of ‘Bishop Alan Listens’ research report

Believing, not Belonging: A research into why Catholics in the Diocese of Brentwood no longer come to Church

Last summer Bishop Alan, in partnership with the Margaret Beaufort Institute, invited Catholics who no longer regularly come to church to get in touch. Bishop Alan, and our wider church, wanted to seriously listen to their stories and experiences to understand why so many Catholics no longer feel as though they belong in the Church.

Fr Liam Hayes, Director of The Centre for Ecclesial Ethics at the Margaret Beaufort Institute, Cambridge, undertook the research on Bishop Alan’s behalf. He says: “Our research revealed that many of the 80% of baptised Catholics who no longer go to Church do not feel welcome, appreciated or even visible, for they experience a Church in which they no longer see their face, hear their voice or recognise their story in too many of the church’s ethical teachings and its wider praxis.

“The Covid pandemic afforded many Catholics the opportunity to reappraise their relationship with faith and Church, and when Catholics feel judged, unwelcome, invisible and neglected, they tend to leave and seek joy and hope elsewhere in order to make sense of the griefs and anxieties of their lives.

“This report presents a moving and challenging insight into how our Church and the Covid-19 pandemic have contributed to a movement away from a regular practice of faith for many Catholics and offers our Church a living repository of wisdom that might enrich and inform our ongoing journey of renewal in the diocese.”

Click here to see the responses of hundreds of Catholics across our diocese and hear what Bishop Alan heard.

Thank you to all those who so generously and thoughtfully participated in this research. Please share this link/report with those whom you know who participated in this research.


If you want to talk about an allegation of abuse, or if you are a survivor of historic abuse and want to talk about it with someone who will listen with sensitivity and care, then please contact our Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator, Simon Moules who will help in any possible way and he can be contacted on: 01277 265234 or [email protected]