The U.S. Catholic Church is Sinking Fast -- Part II

October 2007

In our New Oxford Note "The U.S. Catholic Church Is Sinking Fast" (June) we reported on a series of sociological surveys of Catholics conducted by William V. D’Antonio, James Davidson, Dean Hoge, and Mary Gauthier that appeared in the National Catholic Reporter. D’Antonio, Davidson, Hoge, and Gauthier have published their extended findings in a book titled American Catholics Today (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). Their surveys are from 2005 and years prior.

A 2005 survey polled Catholic attitudes on "Helping the poor," and found that 84 percent of Catholics said it is "very important." Excellent. Polling on "The Catholic Church’s teachings that oppose same-sex marriage" found that only 47 percent said it is "very important." As for "The teaching authority claimed by the Vatican," only 42 percent of Catholics said it is "very important." This is substandard.

A 2003 survey asked, "How essential are these teachings...?" Only 38 percent said that "Private confession to a priest" is "essential." Only 29 percent said that the "Belief that only men can be priests" is "essential." Terrible.

Surveys over the years asked, "Can you be a good Catholic without this?" "Without obeying the Church hierarchy’s teaching regarding abortion": In a 1987 survey, 39 percent of Catholics answered "yes"; in a 2005 survey, 58 percent said "yes." "Without obeying the Church hierarchy’s teaching on divorce and remarriage": In 1987, 57 percent said "yes"; in 2005, 66 percent said "yes." "Without their marriage being approved by the Catholic Church": In 1987, 51 percent said "yes"; in 2005, 67 percent said "yes." "Without obeying the Church hierarchy’s teaching on birth control": In 1987, 66 percent said "yes"; in 2005, 75 percent said "yes." A trend is readily apparent.

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: October 2007

Read our posting policy Add a comment
My wife, myself, and our four kids were travelling to S. Cal. a couple of weeks ago and stopped at an SSPX mass in Phoenix on our way (our first ever) because we had such a horrible experience in Sedona (it is almost better to skip mass than to attend the nonsense going on there). Normally, we prefer an indult mass, but since we were traveling, we stopped at the SSPX mass: it was the most beautiful mass we have ever been to: it was a high mass with full choir. The chapel was packed; the worshippers were extremely devout; the homily was top-notch; I thought I was in heaven.....

Reading the article, supra, I can say with some confidence that the Holy Father needs to regularize sspx asap, because SSPX, internally, will cause a great deal of good, and bring many souls to heaven, even if the Vatican thinks they are out of the mainstream with VII (and they shouldn't be forced to agree with the novel precepts of that pastoral council in the first place)...
Posted by: conlee
October 24, 2007 01:36 AM EDT
"[Z]ero percent of Millennial Catholics said they have a "high" commitment to the Catholic Church"? I'd be interested looking into the research methods applied here, or what is meant by a "high" commitment. Being a Millennial myself, that statistic does not speak for me or a great deal of my peers. Posted by: john.m.mcadams
November 14, 2007 01:30 PM EST
Add a comment