Executive Summary

Executive Summary2018-05-21T23:56:58-04:00

I.               The Catholic Church’s teaching on the family, as noted in Sacred Scripture and church documents.

A.             The Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of family are generally understood and accepted by Catholics today.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1308

a)             Strongly agree: 17%

b)             Agree somewhat: 29%

c)              Neutral: 4%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 29%

e)              Disagree strongly: 17%

f)               Uncertain: 4%

B.             The Church provides its members with adequate teaching on how Christian families should live.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1217

a)             Strongly agree: 25%

b)             Agree somewhat: 23%

c)              Neutral: 10%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 18%

e)              Disagree strongly: 20%

f)               Uncertain: 4%

C.            The Church’s teaching on the family is mostly accepted by those outside of the Catholic Church.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1222

a)             Strongly agree: 3%

b)             Agree somewhat: 13%

c)              Neutral: 11%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 30%

e)              Disagree strongly: 39%

f)               Uncertain: 5%

D.            What factors in our culture make it difficult for people to accept the Church’s teaching on how Christian families should live?

1.              A society that is more motivated by selfish desires and greed than faith.  People feel pressure from their peers and those around them to have the things and high style of life that they see exemplified by those around them.  People don’t take responsibility for their own immoral actions (cohabitating before marriage, same-sex marriage, etc.), they justify them by pointing to examples all around them.

2.              The secular society in which we currently live, particularly the strong influence of TV, movies, music and the internet.  These values are supported by the current liberal government and a society that teaches that everybody should be loved and accepted regardless of their actions, beliefs and lifestyles.

3.              The Catholic Church’s teachings have not evolved over time even as science and society have changed, which makes people feel as though the Church is out of touch with reality and the real struggles of people today.  People feel as though the Church is judgmental and intolerant rather than a place of love and acceptance.

4.              For many people, Catholic education ended with confirmation.  Even though adults should take responsibility to ensure their education continues, many do not and feel lost, especially as they are overwhelmed by outside influences and everyday pressures of work and family.

5.              Artificial birth control is widely used and is generally not perceived as being amoral, which means that many marriages are not truly open to life.

6.              The high divorce rate and breakdown of the traditional family in general, including single parent households and inter-religious marriages.

II.             The understanding of marriage according to the Natural Law.

A.             The traditional understanding of marriage as existing between one man and one woman for life is usually supported by our society in general.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1217

a)             Strongly agree: 10%

b)             Agree somewhat: 23%

c)              Neutral: 6%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 26%

e)              Disagree strongly: 35%

f)               Uncertain: 1%

B.             The traditional understanding of marriage as existing between one man and one woman for life is commonly accepted by Catholics.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1214

a)             Strongly agree: 27%

b)             Agree somewhat: 31%

c)              Neutral: 6%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 16%

e)              Disagree strongly: 18%

f)               Uncertain: 1%

C.            The Catholic Church is very pastoral in handling those cases where non-practicing Catholics ask to celebrate their marriages in the Church.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1205

a)             Strongly agree: 9%

b)             Agree somewhat: 35%

c)              Neutral: 19%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 14%

e)              Disagree strongly: 18%

f)               Uncertain: 5%

D.            What challenges in our society make it difficult for people to accept the traditional understanding of marriage as existing between one man and one woman for life?

1.              The secular media and society teach us to accept lifestyles, marriages and relationships that are in sharp opposition to the Church’s teaching and traditional family relationships, particularly the growing acceptance of homosexuality.  People believe they can fit the rules to their lifestyle and are selfish enough to believe that the rules should not apply to them.

2.              Catholicism needs to be more open, loving and accepting of homosexual and divorced individuals.  If people are trying to live good, moral lives, the Church should be less judgmental and more welcoming.

3.              Divorce, single parent households, homosexual relationships and inter-religious marriages are increasingly seen as the norm and accepted by society as a whole.  People have forgotten that marriage is a serious and lasting commitment.

4.              Our current political and legal structure actively creates, promotes and defends laws that go directly against Catholic teachings.

III.           Pastoral care of the family in handing on the Catholic faith.

A.             The Church does well to promote the practice of the Catholic faith among those men and women preparing for the sacrament of marriage.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1065

a)             Strongly agree: 30%

b)             Agree somewhat: 32%

c)              Neutral: 13%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 10%

e)              Disagree strongly: 14%

f)               Uncertain: 1%

B.             The Church is effective in teaching families to pray together, especially in light of the challenges of today’s culture.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1235

a)             Strongly agree: 14%

b)             Agree somewhat: 28%

c)              Neutral: 14%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 22%

e)              Disagree strongly: 20%

f)               Uncertain: 1%

C.            Most Catholic families have done well in passing on their Christian faith and values to the next generation.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1151

a)             Strongly agree: 6%

b)             Agree somewhat: 15%

c)              Neutral: 12%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 31%

e)              Disagree strongly: 33%

f)               Uncertain: 3%

D.            Our parishes and non-parish organizations have done well in teaching families how to live according to the values of the Gospel.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1148

a)             Strongly agree: 12%

b)             Agree somewhat: 34%

c)              Neutral: 17%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 20%

e)              Disagree strongly: 10%

f)               Uncertain: 6%

E.             How can married couples and families contribute to sharing a healthy view of marriage and family to others?

1.              Couples and parents should strive to live the faith as strongly and truly as possible so they can serve as examples to their children and others in the community.  This includes praying, attending Mass and engaging in activities as a family.

2.              Improve pastoral care and support available to families through the parishes especially to those over the age of 18 and young adults including workshops, retreats, support groups, etc. outside of working hours.  Pastors should preach on the importance of family and what it means to be a Catholic family.  Catholic schools should continue to be improved and supported.

IV.           Pastoral care of those in diverse relationships

A.             Cohabitation of unmarried couples is very common in my community.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1042

a)             Strongly agree: 43%

b)             Agree somewhat: 42%

c)              Neutral: 6%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 5%

e)              Disagree strongly: 2%

f)               Uncertain: 1%

B.             It is very common in my community to see Catholics who have divorced and remarried outside of the Catholic Church.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1153

a)             Strongly agree: 36%

b)             Agree somewhat: 42%

c)              Neutral: 11%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 5%

e)              Disagree strongly: 4%

f)               Uncertain: 3%

C.            The Church provides excellent pastoral support to divorced Catholics and those remarried outside of the Catholic Church.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1146

a)             Strongly agree: 3%

b)             Agree somewhat: 7%

c)              Neutral: 17%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 24%

e)              Disagree strongly: 45%

f)               Uncertain: 3%

D.            If the Church were to simplify its process for annulments of marriages, this would greatly help those divorced and remarried outside of the Catholic Church.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1151

a)             Strongly agree: 38%

b)             Agree somewhat: 41%

c)              Neutral: 8%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 8%

e)              Disagree strongly: 3%

f)               Uncertain: 2%

V.             Same-Sex unions

A.             The Catholic Church provides excellent pastoral support to persons in same-sex unions.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1154

a)             Strongly agree: 1%

b)             Agree somewhat: 5%

c)              Neutral: 16%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 13%

e)              Disagree strongly: 62%

f)               Uncertain: 4%

B.             The Church is pastoral and accepting of children who have been adopted by same-sex couples.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1142

a)             Strongly agree: 5%

b)             Agree somewhat: 13%

c)              Neutral: 19%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 9%

e)              Disagree strongly: 50%

f)               Uncertain: 5%

VI.           Christian education of children of irregular marriages

A.             Most children in my community have been born and raised in traditional families with both biological parents in the home.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1150

a)             Strongly agree: 15%

b)             Agree somewhat: 13%

c)              Neutral: 9%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 22%

e)              Disagree strongly: 34%

f)               Uncertain: 6%

B.             Most Catholic parents whom I know are faithful to provide religious education for their children either through the Catholic schools or parish programs.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1149

a)             Strongly agree: 17%

b)             Agree somewhat: 37%

c)              Neutral: 10%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 16%

e)              Disagree strongly: 11%

f)               Uncertain: 9%

C.            The Church is effective in providing religious education and pastoral support to children of single parents.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1147

a)             Strongly agree: 18%

b)             Agree somewhat: 36%

c)              Neutral: 15%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 9%

e)              Disagree strongly: 17%

f)               Uncertain: 5%

D.            The Church is effective in providing religious education and pastoral support to children of parents who have been divorced and remarried outside of the Catholic Church.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1146

a)             Strongly agree: 10%

b)             Agree somewhat: 41%

c)              Neutral: 16%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 13%

e)              Disagree strongly: 11%

f)               Uncertain: 9%

VII.         Openness of married couples to new life

A.             Most Catholics understand the Church’s teachings promoting natural means of birth control instead of artificial contraception.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1150

a)             Strongly agree: 20%

b)             Agree somewhat: 24%

c)              Neutral: 6%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 17%

e)              Disagree strongly: 29%

f)               Uncertain: 3%

B.             Most Catholics agree with the Church’s teachings promoting Natural Family Planning and other natural means of birth control instead of artificial contraception.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1153

a)             Strongly agree: 3%

b)             Agree somewhat: 6%

c)              Neutral: 7%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 27%

e)              Disagree strongly: 55%

f)               Uncertain: 3%

C.            The Church does well in explaining that marriage includes an openness to the possibility of children.

1.             

2.              Total responses:  1149

a)             Strongly agree: 32%

b)             Agree somewhat: 36%

c)              Neutral: 10%

d)             Disagree somewhat: 11%

e)              Disagree strongly: 8%

f)               Uncertain: 3%

VIII.       Relationships between individuals and their families.

A.             What challenges in families today can make it difficult for a person to live a Christian life?

1.              Our society is increasingly liberal and secular in nature.  The effect of television, movies, and the internet has a detrimental effect on individuals.  This is seen particularly in teens and young adults who see traditional values as archaic and believe that everybody should be able to live as they want as long as they do no harm to others.

2.              High divorce rates, single-parent households and the disintegration of traditional families make it difficult to provide strong examples to children and create a unified message as to how to practice and live faithfully.  Our society is increasingly mobile, which means many families lack the support of extended family to help in raising the children.

3.              Financial and economic realities mean that both parents often have to work to afford to raise children, particularly if they send them to Catholic school.  Even with both parents working, many families can still only afford to raise a few children and practice artificial birth control so they do not have children they cannot afford.  Two working parents create scheduling conflicts and makes family time more difficult.

4.              Many Catholics use artificial birth control and do not believe that Natural Family Planning is an effective or realistic way of preventing pregnancy.  If the family cannot afford to raise more children then they find other ways to prevent pregnancy, even if they go against the teachings of the Church.

5.              The strong influence of the secular, liberal media makes it more imperative than ever that the Church speaks loudly and strongly against these influences and educates the faithful on the true teachings of Catholicism.  This is further underscored by the fact that many couples move away from extended family to find work and do not have the family and community support needed to raise children in full communion with the faith.

IX.           Other thoughts and reflection

A.             What other concerns based on the topics of this survey should be brought to the attention of Church leaders?

1.              The Church needs to re-educate those inside and outside the faith as to the true teachings and belief of Catholicism.  The liberal media and secular society are winning the culture war and the Church needs to respond.  This includes speaking more loudly in public, but equally important is the need to improve and expand opportunities for faith formation for all the Catholic faithful (youths, teens, young adults, married adults, families, and seniors) so that Catholics are better prepared to respond to outside influence.

2.              The Church is out of date and needs to do more to reach out to and welcome those who are divorced, remarried, homosexual, involved in inter-religious marriages or otherwise live in ways that differ from traditional families.  The Church is out of date with regard to its teaching on artificial contraception.

3.              Grateful to have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions.

4.              The Church is too focused on raising money.  When so many families are struggling financially and trying to raise children, giving to the Church in the levels encouraged or required is impossible and feels isolating and embarrassing.