The purpose of all of this is also to create an âeducational documentâ to be followed by priests and parishes. I suspect, if the media coverage stays true to form, that it will be seen as a veiled means for the bishops to send a message to Biden and his politics. It will be ignored by many reporters that the communion is not that much militarized (although some bishops still fear that this is what is happening), but that only a third of American Catholics, according to a 2019 Pew Research poll, the know. what transubstantiation is. And even fewer Catholics go to confession.
Here’s what Pew reported at the time:
But a new survey from the Pew Research Center finds that most Catholics who describe themselves don’t believe in this basic teaching. In fact, nearly seven in ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” Only a third of American Catholics (31%) say they believe that âduring Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesusâ.
2. State of American priests and American Catholics in general
Speaking of polls, two key polls have been released in recent weeks that add some context to what will happen this week and the issues the bishops will be addressing.
America The magazine reported that priests on “both sides of the American political divide are largely pessimistic about the state of the American church and its future, according to a study released Nov. 2 and based on an email poll. of 1,036 members of the Catholic clergy â.
Here’s what they reported:
They also see their brethren as increasingly “theologically conservative or orthodox”, thanks to the younger members of the clergy. Young American priests were also notably more negative in their assessments of Pope Francis.
“A little more than half [of respondents] indicate that things in the Catholic Church in America are ‘not so good’, and this is true across the political spectrum, âwrote report co-author Brad Vermurlen, University of Texas at Austin , in the journal Public Discourse. âIt turns out that if a segment of Catholic priests can be identified as relatively less pessimistic, it is those who call themselves politically moderate. ”
The â2021 American Catholic Priests Surveyâ was conducted late last year and early this year by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Researchers emailed 50-question polls to priests, whose names were found in the official Catholic directory and on the email list of a nonprofit Catholic group. The report’s co-authors compared the new findings with a survey of American priests conducted by the Los Angeles Times in 2002.
The survey also found that young priests are “more theologically conservative or orthodox than their older counterparts,” according to Vermurlen. How conservative? The percentage who saw young priests as âmuch moreâ theologically conservative rose from 29% to 44%. At the same time, the editors of The pillar published its own survey of the state of religion in the United States, deepening Catholicism.
Here’s what they reported:
More than three-quarters of American Catholics who attend weekly masses trust Catholic bishops to deal honestly and transparently with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Overall, Catholics who practice the faith regularly are much more likely to report trusting local and national leaders in the Church. And confidence in Pope Francis is high both among Catholics who regularly practice the faith and those who do not.
These findings are part of The Pillar’s Survey of Religious Attitudes and Practices, which aims to better understand the religious perspectives, identities and perspectives of American adults. We report the results of that investigation this week in a series of special reports.
The same survey also found that older people who attended weekly Mass are more likely to believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist than younger people.
The pillar divided the findings into four parts. It’s all worth reading, with plenty of scenarios to take away from this revealing and comprehensive data:
In Part 1 of this series, The Pillar examined America’s changing religious landscape. In Part 2, we examine what factors influence Catholic religious practice throughout life and why people say they leave the Church. In Part Three, we looked at what we can learn about Americans disaffiliated with religion. In Part Four, we looked at how the pandemic reshaped parish life.
Is the American Church Getting More Conservative? It depends on how you define this word, but it seems to be. American bishops will certainly answer any questions affecting the church – such as the importance of communion and who should receive it – in this context.
3. Rome’s response
This is the tricky part. The Pope and the Vatican press office aren’t known to make the news unless they really want to. They rarely react to what’s going on around them or across the Atlantic – unless, like I said, they really want to.
We know that there are deep rifts between this pope and many American bishops. It is easy to see that the key figures in these debates are conservative archbishops who have not received red hats and progressives who are cardinals close to Pope Francis.
It remains to be seen whether what emerges from this week’s meeting makes those divisions even deeper. It is certainly a major storyline in the mainstream press in the United States. Far too many stories have been presented as a loving and progressive pope versus rigid bishops in love with Trump.
Monitor both the Associated press and Reuters, who have offices there, to follow what’s going on here and report on Rome’s reaction. Various Catholic news sites and blogs, including Catholic News Agency, Node and Whispers in the Loggia, are excellent for reporting on what is happening in the halls of the Vatican in a way that provides context and analysis that the mainstream press very often misses.
A lot of news is expected to come out of Baltimore this week. Stay tuned for the news. Much depends on who is reporting, the loss of journalistic objectivity and the doctrinal divisions of the various media that millions of people consume on a daily basis when it comes to Catholic news as it intersects with culture and politics. secular.
FIRST IMAGE : Photo of communion plaques via Wikipedia Commons