Report: “Pope Francis effect” may not exist after all.

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In a survey released Thursday about Americans’ views of the pope nearly a year into the papacy, the Pew Research Center found no change in the share of American adults who call themselves Catholic, or in self-reported rates of Mass attendance, when compared to pre-Francis numbers. Pew also reported no increase in the percentage of Catholics volunteering at their churches or going to confession.

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Survey says: Catholics hopeful that new Vatican survey will make things better. Just not sure how.

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While Vatican officials have made clear the survey is not a poll to help bishops shape church doctrine based on popular vote, it does mark an extraordinary departure from how bishops have prepared for previous synods to determine doctrine. At a recent gathering of America’s Catholic bishops in Baltimore, prelates grappled with how best to execute such an unheard-of request by the Dec. 31 deadline and whether they were correctly interpreting the pope’s intentions.

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Editor’s note: How about a new version of the “Family Feud” TV show – based on the responses, with the Pope as host? It did wonders for the late Richard Dawson’s career. Maybe it can help the Church!

Bishop: Majority of Catholics “woefully deficient on matters of doctrine.”

In releasing the telephone survey of 612 adults, Galante said Wednesday he was particularly dismayed to learn that 57 percent of the Catholics believed Jesus had sinned during his time on Earth and was “no different” from other human beings — in sharp contrast to core church teaching that Jesus was without sin. Only 28 percent of non-Catholic Christians thought Jesus had sinned.

“What does this tell me?” the bishop said at a news conference. “It tells me most [Catholics] know the church’s moral teachings, about things like our objection to abortion and gay marriage … but are woefully deficient” on matters of doctrine.

Galante also deplored the finding that only about 23 percent of Catholics attended Mass weekly and said he intended to “make observing the Lord’s Day a priority.”

To that end, he said, he had instructed all pastors and youth-group leaders to no longer schedule sports games and practices on Sunday mornings, which he said were major diversions.

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Survey reveals serious issues that affect the whole church

Conducted by Villanova University’s Center for the Study of Church Management, the survey, called “Empty Pews,” asked Catholics in the Trenton Diocese a series of questions about church doctrine and parish life to better understand why they are staying home.

While the study was restricted to one diocese, chances are the responses could come from just about anywhere in the U.S., where a 2007 report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found one-third of Americans were raised Catholic but one-third of those had left the church.

Or, as Villanova’s Charles Zech put it, “These are issues that affect the whole church.”

The responses can be divided into two categories, said Zech, who co-authored the study and is director of the Villanova center. In one category are “the things that can’t change but that we can do a better job explaining.” The other category, he said “are some things that aren’t difficult to fix.”

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Editor’s note: My general observation is 50% of the problems have to do with various unresolved sexual issues and marital conflicts. Another 30% are due to personality clashes, ignorance, and simple misunderstandings – on behalf of both the clergy and the laity. 10% result from local Catholic Church politics – including the whims of various bishops. The last 10% is due to various types of idolatry – professional sports addiction, excessive love of money, hobbies, leisure, and self.

In the old days, church teaching was at least, consistent and clear. People back then actually knew WHY they chose to leave the church!

Today, few know or even care what the church authoritatively teaches, and/or why … and what wishy-washy teaching there is does precious little to truly educate or inspire the faithful. Now, most people who choose to leave do so because they can’t quite figure out why they should stay!

On top of all this, we have a shortage of priests, many of whom have been poorly formed in the faith, badly trained in parish management, and receive little or no support from their respective bishops.

If you dare attempt to talk to some of these priests about these issues, they get fidgety and their eyes tend to glaze over. Then …  they run away and hide!

Notre Dame survey of African American Catholics offers important insights

A new, unprecedented national survey of African American Catholics by University of Notre Dame researchers reveals several significant insights into individual religious engagement and identifies several notable demographic trends facing the church. The survey was sponsored by the National Black Catholic Congress and Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life and Office of the President.

Notre Dame social scientists Darren W. Davis and Donald B. Pope-Davis, who coauthored the report, set out to test the validity of anecdotal accounts that African American Catholics were becoming increasingly disengaged from their religion. Although the primary focus of the survey is on African American Catholics, the researchers utilized a significant comparative component with white Catholics, which resulted in several notable findings about both groups of Catholics.

The survey also is historic in that it represents the largest sample of African American Catholics ever surveyed on their faith.

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Real shame: Notre Dame students have little or no idea what it means to be truly Catholic … or why.

A a recent USA TODAY article, examined the survey “Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape.”

The survey examined the beliefs and practices of 1,442 U.S. Catholic adults. The research was led by Catholic University sociologist William D’Antonio, and provided detailed information about specific beliefs.

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Archbishop says Catholic homes play major role in fostering vocations

In an interview with Catholic News Service while he was in Washington in March, Archbishop Carlson said the majority of newly ordained priests said they were influenced by the parish in their discernment for the priesthood.

According to results of a survey of members of the 2011 ordination class, released April 25, 66 percent of the respondents said it was their parish priest who encouraged them. Forty-two percent identified their mothers as having a major influence on their decision.

The annual national survey is conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the USCCB’s Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

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Editor’s note: It would also be helpful if the Catholic hierarchy managed to get a handle on the abuse scandals, successfully overhauled the seminaries … instead of whitewashing them, and figured out a way to quit abusing good priests.

Read “Goodbye Good Men” by Michael Rose