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Synod Survey results published

» Download the ACP Family Life Synod Survey Data Analysis
A version of the Vatican survey on Family Life was prepared by the Association of Catholic Priests and hosted on this website, and over 1,500 participated in it. The participants included priests, religious, lay people, parents and teachers.
Respondents generally welcomed the opportunity to participate but there was widepread criticism of the subject matter (emphasis on sexuality) and format (overly long, complicated, linguistically challenging).
The key findings from the overall responses is that those who participated consider the Church’s teaching on family life, sexual practice and sexual unions to be little understood, not relevant, of low influence and not agreed with, whether understood or not. These findings are consistent across all age groups and religious role (clergy, lay etc) where identified.
Whilst there is general strong welcome for the consultation process and it seems that there is a strong demand for consultation, respondents in general would wish to be consulted on matters other than sexual morality on which the large majority of the sample have already made up their minds. Matters identified as relevant include church structures, role of women, financial matters, keeping faith in a consumer society etc.

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  1. Peter Shore says:

    It is an odd turn of phrase to say that the “findings are consistent across all age groups”, when the demographic breakdown of respondents is so unrepresentative in the first place. Lets face it, this survey was answered mostly by an unrepresentative older demographic. The majority of younger people hold no truck with the Catholic religion at all — a fairly inevitable follow on to the previous generation who decided to either ignore or reinvent doctrine to suit themselves. The small remaining younger Catholic population — that is, practising Catholics as opposed to cultural Catholics — are generally more conservative than their older brethren.

  2. The idea of a survey has a rather limited value. Those Catholics who understand their religion would likely consider a survey on Catholic teaching a bit preposterous, and would likely self-select out of the survey. The main value in such a survey is to gauge how lost are the lost sheep.

  3. Anthony Murphy says:

    The comments made in introduction of this report indicate how unreliable and unrepresentative the findings of the survey are. But it is little wonder that many are not aware of what the Church teaches if the teachers have been asleep!

  4. Alan Whelan says:

    Thank you to ACP for this survey and the publication of results.
    Congratulations too and thanks to Cardinal Nichols of Westminster for the promptness with which he launched the Vatican survey in preparation for the Synod of Bishops meeting with a focus on Family and Marriage. The Archdiocese of Westminster received 1,600 survey returns, similar to ACP figures.
    Meanwhile I read a report in The Tablet that the Diocese of Ferns had not one response. A spokesperson for Ferns Diocese suggested that the total lack of response was due to the short timeframe and the fact that it was requested so near to Christmas.
    Meanwhile I await news from my own Diocese of Kerry.
    For what it is worth, my own observation is that large parts of the Irish church is unwilling to face the very live pastoral issues of today.
    Alan Whelan
    Co Kerry

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