Churches in Britain are canceling midnight Mass out of fear of drunk driving, street violence, and the disruption of services by drunken revelers, the Guardian Unlimited reports.
The Tablet, a Catholic magazine, said that some priests had been advised by the police not to hold Mass late at night, while others feared dangerous nighttime inner city streets or the interruption of Mass by drunks leaving closing pubs.
Father Dennis Connor told the Tablet: "In this area there has been a lot of trouble with gun crime. People won't come out any later than that. Older people are really scared of meeting teenagers and people coming out of the pubs."
Father James O'Keefe told how drinkers forced him to move Midnight Mass to 8 pm: “A lot of people, having been disgorged from the pub, were attracted to the light and music and used to disrupt proceedings."
Some Church of England parishes have also moved services to an earlier time on Christmas Eve.