Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic World News

New survey finds US Catholics distant from Church teachings, sacraments

October 25, 2011

A new survey of American Catholics finds that most are comfortable with their faith, but not with the teachings of the Church.

An overwhelming 86% of those surveyed said that “you can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church.” That attitude was underlined by responses to individual questions, as only about one-third attended Mass weekly and accepted the teaching authority of the Church.

“It’s the core creedal sacramental issues that really matter to American Catholics, more than the external trappings of church authority,” said Michele Dillon, a co-author of the survey report. But if doctrinal teachings are dismissed as “external trappings,” the study finds a lukewarm interest in Catholic sacramental life. Nearly half of the respondents (47%) reported attending Mass less than once a month, and only 63% said that the sacramental life is very important. In fact only 73% thought that the Resurrection was important to their faith.


For all current news, visit our News home page.

Further information:
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Oct. 26, 2011 4:14 PM ET USA

    Right you are, Father! It became obvious when I started battling this stuff in my own parish that the "inessential" stuff derided by the "progressives" (their term) was a means of ignoring the teachings of the Church on sexuality. If you scoff at the importance of the tabernacle, it's hard to get around to divorce, birth control, adultery and homosexuality.

  • Posted by: Fr.CharlesGoraieb7438 - Oct. 26, 2011 12:50 PM ET USA

    Where does this casual dissent start? What is ground zero? Rejection of Humanae Vitae and the Church's teaching on contraception. When Catholics decide they are free to disobey that magisterial teaching, it then becomes first of many dominoes to fall.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Oct. 26, 2011 9:20 AM ET USA

    Assuming the reports are accurate, it's no wonder Catholics don't accept everything the church says. Just the other day I read where Pontifical pinheads want some new "world order" to levy a tax on financial transactions, with the proceeds going to dig out bankrupt countries. Jesus didn't tell Caesar to spend tax dollars on the poor. He told us to help them. The church needs to keep its nose out of government and in religion where it belongs. The church's job is saving souls, not governments.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 26, 2011 2:01 AM ET USA

    Very important: Go to the weekly Mass.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 25, 2011 10:33 PM ET USA

    Perhaps a few less scandalous occasions like Assisi, would help prevent Catholics confusing the Faith, as just another amongst the world's religions, and remind them universal salvation is a heresy.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 25, 2011 8:51 PM ET USA

    Perhaps we may entertain a modest hope that at least some of the responders did not understand that they were referring to teachings concerning faith and morals--not (for example) occasional Vatican comments favoring world-wide governmental institutions? (Yes, I know: I'm grasping at straws here.)

  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Oct. 25, 2011 7:41 PM ET USA

    Forty years of lousy catechesis are to blame.

  • Posted by: claire5327 - Oct. 25, 2011 6:46 PM ET USA

    Baptism, Believe in the Credo and Obedience to the Magisterium; these 3 Items are absolutely demanded to be a Roman Catholic. somewhere down the line during the past 50 years "the Sins of Omission" were committed by almost every Roman Catholic, this is the result of that. Return to these 3 Items, all will return to the fold; stop watering down our Faith! We are NOT Protestants, we are Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church,stay Faithful to Her; even "The Fires of Hell will not prevail.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Oct. 25, 2011 6:37 PM ET USA

    This really speaks to the lack of understanding about The Faith (?'the Resurrection is not important') - a very significant problem in today's Church. There are 1-2 generations who have been poorly educated in the Faith. If there is one place for the Church to direct its efforts, it's into education for both adults and chilren NOW in the basic tenents of the Faith.

  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 25, 2011 6:07 PM ET USA

    Small wonder when many in the priesthood apparently feel the same way.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Oct. 25, 2011 5:17 PM ET USA

    How can you be comfortable with your faith when you do not walk your talk? Where ignorance is bliss, is it truly folly to be wise?