A parish priest has said he would have no problem getting rid of The Angelus from RTÉ.
Fr Patsy Lynch, parish priest for Ballinskelligs and Prior in Co Kerry, was speaking as the number of people watching mass on television has fallen from an average of 47,000 viewers in 2022 to 35,000 up to November this year.
RTÉ broadcasts mass every weekday from various churches around the country at 10.30am, as well as The Angelus at midday and 6pm.
Fr Lynch told Lunchtime Live there is a need for daily mass.
"The need is there, I think - you mentioned 35,000 people, that's a huge number," he said.
"RTÉ are carrying on that service because they feel those numbers [are] justified and that's a huge number.
"The timing is actually convenient, it's 10.30, people are there in their home.
"There's a whole range of people who like to have that mass on RTÉ".
'COVID changed everything'
Fr Lynch said the pandemic changed how people attend religious services.
"Live-streaming is here to stay, COVID has changed everything," he said.
"To expect people to come back to church the way they did pre-COVID is wishful thinking.
"Ireland is now a missionary country so we much reach out and we must get out and about, and live-streaming is a great way of connecting".
Fr Lynch said he would have "no problem" if RTÉ wanted to discontinue The Angelus.
'More than a religious dimension'
Eddie in Waterford said The Angelus helps him to relax.
"My response to The Angelus is that I don't think of it as a religious thing," he said.
"I just find that the bell ringing has a certain relaxed tone to it.
"I've been in Munich where the bells are always ringing on Christmas morning, so there's something more than just a religious dimension to having the bell ringing.
"I don't think the images that they show create any problem, normally they have a sort of relaxing dimension to them".
'Losing too much'
Mildred in Roscommon said she believes we have already lost too much.
"We're losing too much of our lovely religion," she said.
"Keep the mass, and I was sad to see that even when the do The Angelus... why not show religious images?
"We are losing the plot in this country trying to get rid bit by bit by bit, they're chipping away at our religion".
Mildred said televised mass "means so much" to older people who are not able to get out to the church.
"If you don't want religion that's fine, but we have to live together," she said.
"We don't be shouting and roaring at those people that don't go to mass - let's share".
'Who does it harm?'
Chris in Cork said he believes there are a lot of people who want to watch mass.
"I'm not religious myself, I totally believe in separation of Church and State and I don't think it should be taught in schools," he said.
"The Catholic people are taxpayers as well; so if it's a public broadcaster it's supposed to actually broadcast for everybody.
"At the end of the day I don't like a lot of programmes that are on television, but what I do is I switch channels."
On The Angelus, Chris said it makes no difference to him.
"It's what, one minute? At the end of the day it makes no difference," he said.
"It's a good bell for me because I know that the news headlines are going to be starting in a minute's time.
"One minute - who does it harm?"
Chris said we should be "adult enough" to give people choice, including the option of Jewish or Muslim services.
Listen back here: