In February, the firm of Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates conducted a nationwide survey of 800 Adult Catholics. The survey, which was commissioned by the Catholic League, has an accuracy of +/- 3. 5% at the 95% confidence interval.
- Over half (51. 8%) of Adult Catholics attend Mass once a week or more and 68.2% attend once a month or more; 10.4% never attend.
- Practicing Catholics (as determined by Mass attendance and number of sacraments received) are significantly more supportive of Church teachings than their non-practicing cohorts.
- By a margin of almost 2-1, Catholics prefer a Church that sticks to its positions on issues (62.5%) to one that changes its positions “to reflect current opinion or modern day beliefs” (33.5 %).
- Overall, a plurality of more than four in ten Catholics (42.5%) said that the Catholic Church has made “just about the right amount of changes” since Vatican II (i.e. since 1965). Another 18.0% said that the Church has made “too many changes and gone too fast” while 32.8% said that the Church has made “too few changes and gone too slow.”
- There is wide support for the Church’s teachings on abortion (63.6%) but not on birth control (58.4% favor a change in Church teachings). A clear majority think that the Church should not change its teachings on homosexuality (55.8%), and by a margin of almost 2-1 (64.9%), Catholics think it would be a mistake to ordain known homosexuals. But on the question of allowing priests to marry, 66.5% favor it and 55.0% think women should be ordained (6 in 10 men favor a change but only 5 in 10 women). 66.4% agreed that if more people practiced the teachings of the Catholic Church, our country would be better off, while only 25.1 % disagreed. Among Catholics with children under 18, there is very strong support for the Church’s teachings on pre-marital sex (92.3%); choosing to have a child over having an abortion (70.3%); and choosing marriage over cohabitation (72.3%).
••• The central finding is this: an astonishing 82.9 % said they would be as committed to the Church, if not more so, if the Church DID NOT change its positions. Among those who attend Mass once or more a month the figure jumps to 90.3%.
Those who want the full report can obtain a copy at the League’s press conference, to be held on Monday, May 22, 1995 at 1011 First Avenue in rooms 920 & 921. If you are unable to attend, please contact the Catholic League for a copy.