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Major Survey Finds ‘conservative’ And ‘orthodox’ Priests On The Rise

Articles | November 10, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

By Jonah McKeown of Catholic News Agency

The new analysis of a study that claims to be the largest national survey of Catholic priests conducted in more than 50 years has found, among other things, that priests describing themselves as “progressive” are practically going “extinct” among U.S. seminary graduates, with the vast majority of young ordinands describing themselves as conservative and orthodox.

Conducted by The Catholic Project, a research group at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., the newest release focuses on polarization, generational dynamics, and the ongoing impact of the sexual abuse crisis.

Part 1 of the survey, released last October, found that despite relatively high levels of personal well-being and fulfillment among priests as a whole, a significant percentage of priests have issues with burnout, distrust in their bishop, and fears of being falsely accused of misconduct.

The new November report highlights “several themes which have emerged from closer analysis of the quantitative data, as well as careful study of the qualitative data collected from the one-on-one interviews with priests.” The study used survey responses from 3,516 priests across 191 dioceses and eparchies in the United States.

Of note, the researchers assert that self-described “liberal” or “progressive” priests have all but disappeared from the youngest cohorts of priests and that priests describing themselves as “conservative/orthodox” reached more than 80% among those ordained after 2020.

The new analysis also found that diocesan size has an effect on how much a priest trusts his bishop, with priests in smaller dioceses being more likely than priests in larger dioceses to trust their prelate. Priests who consider themselves to be in the same ideological camp as their bishop — whether politically or theologically — also tend to trust him more.

For the original article click here.


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