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Catholic Culture Overview

a highly scientific survey

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 29, 2005

Obtuseness, or academic harlotry? Either way it's not a compliment. The NCR reports on the results of a survey of Catholic beliefs "performed by the research team of William V. D'Antonio, Dean Hoge, James Davidson and Mary Gautier," which it claims was "funded by the Louisville Institute, by a modest donation from National Catholic Reporter, and by a grant from an anonymous donor."

An excerpt:

The 2005 survey asked, "As a Catholic, how important is each of the following to you? Would you say it is very important, somewhat important or not important at all?" We then asked about 12 elements of Catholicism. The percent saying "very important" to each is shown in Figure 1. Tied for first place are "Helping the poor" and "Belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead." In third place is "The sacraments, such as the Eucharist," and closely following is "The Catholic church's teachings about Mary as the Mother of God."

By contrast, in last place among the 12, at the bottom, was "A celibate male clergy," followed by "The Catholic church's teachings that oppose the death penalty" and "The teaching authority claimed by the Vatican."

I can only imagine a real sociologist would wet himself laughing at this "scholarship." Have you ever opened one of those "EXTREMELY URGENT!" mass-mailed political fundraising surveys where they ask, "Which do you support: 1) Wasteful government spending, OR 2) Responsible and limited taxation?" (and request that you send a check with your reply)? If so, you're on familiar ground here.

Take a look at the contrast in the "elements of Catholicism" listed in the survey. On one hand we have "Helping the poor"; on the other, "The teaching authority claimed by the Vatican." The implicit sneer in the word "claimed" suggests to the respondent that this "element" is dubious if not an outright fraud, and of course "the Vatican" per se has no purposes and makes no claims at all -- like "the Pentagon" in the mouths of Leftists, it's meant to emphasize the faceless institution. They might have written "the teaching authority of the Church," or more simply still, "the truths of the Faith." Likewise, in place of "helping the poor," in which success is implied, we might have gotten the neutral "almsgiving." Nope.

The results of the survey (see below) are about as surprising as the political fundraising kind. Limited taxation beats out wasteful spending 3 to 1. Congrats, NCR! You boys got what you paid for.

Image via National Catholic Reporter.

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