Washington DC, Feb 14, 2008 / 01:55 pm (CNA).- A poll commissioned by the USCCB Subcommittee on Marriage and the Family Life and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate has found that Catholics who attend Mass frequently are less likely to get divorced and are more likely to have large families, reports Lifesite News.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the chairman of the subcommittee summarized the poll’s findings, "Not surprisingly, the study paints a mixed picture. It gives us reasons to be grateful and hopeful. It also raises concerns and presents us with challenges.”
Kurtz noted one distressing point – the fact that Catholics “are just as likely as the overall population to obtain a divorce.”
However, the archbishop pointed out, Catholics who go to Mass frequently, and demonstrate a higher level of commitment to the faith, generally have lower rates of divorce and are more familiar with the Church's teachings on marriage. Those who rarely or never go to Mass are significantly more likely to obtain a divorce.
Kurtz stressed a number of other areas of concern. The study showed that only two-thirds of married Catholics have been married in the Church, and twenty-three percent of adult Catholics have gone through a divorce. Eleven percent of Catholics are divorced and remarried or are living with someone else, though the Church strictly opposes this practice.
There were also significant differences in terms of the age of the respondents, with younger Catholics generally demonstrating a lesser knowledge of Catholic teaching, and a smaller degree of commitment to the faith
"Older Catholics, especially those who came of age prior to Vatican II, are typically more involved in Church life and more frequently attend Mass than younger generations of Catholics,” stated the executive summary.
However, the study found that agreement with Catholic teaching is highest amongst older (born before 1943) and the much younger (born after 1981) Catholics, with the least agreement with Church teachings found in the middle generation.
In conclusion, Archbishop Kurtz said that the poll has given the Catholic Church an idea of which teachings are least understood.
"This new research on Catholics and marriage confronts us with a sense both of urgency and opportunity. It identifies strengths and accomplishments on which we are eager to build. It shines a light on challenges and difficulties which we must address."