Joy and Grievance in an American Diocese:

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1 Joy and Grievance in an American Diocese: Results from Online Surveys of Active and Inactive Catholics in Central Illinois Phillip Hardy Kelly L. Kandra Brian G. Patterson 24 November 2014

2 Origins of this Project

3 Our Research Questions Why are some parishioners no longer attending Sunday Mass? Why have some parishioners made the decision to separate from The Catholic Church? Can anything be done to improve retention rates in the Springfield area parishes and bring people back to The Church? How do the attitudes and behaviors of Inactives compare to those of Active parishioners?

4 The Research Design Wave 1: Online Survey of Inactive Catholics (November 12 March 13) Wave 2: Online Survey of Active Catholics (February 14 March 14)

5 Surveying Active Lay Members Internal recruitment strategy 21 parishes from 3 deaneries Final sample size = 827

6 Surveying Inactive Parishioners Limited print publication advertising Announcements and fliers at Sunday Mass Social media Benedictine & diocesan websites Requests from parishioners, to Inactives that they could complete the survey Final sample size = 575

7 Developing the surveys Review existing academic scholarship Charles Zech & William Byron s Empty Pews study (2011) Combination of open- and close- ended questions Similar surveys not identical

8 Comparing the Samples Actives Inactives Gender 65% women 42% women Age 79% 50 and above 58% 50 and above Ethnicity 98% White 98+ % White Marital status 78.3% married 61% married 8.1% divorced 19% divorced Raised Catholic 83% 87% Post-HS degree 31% 38%

9 The Actives Survey

10 Church Membership and Attendance Characteristics Variable % Parish Membership Yes 96.5 No 1.8 Not Sure 1.6 Considered Separation Parish Only Catholic Church Only Both Parish and Catholic Church Frequency of Mass Attendance Daily Weekly Almost weekly At least once a month A few times per year

11 Why do you attend this parish? Sense of community Spiritual fulfillment & growth

12 The Parish Setting Hospitality Warmth, professionalism of staff Welcoming Warm, friendly environment Mass locations & times Quality of physical facilities

13 Frequency Most Important Reasons Why Parish Is Attended

14 Level of Agreement with Sense of Community 85.50% My parish is hospitable 6.00% 8.30% I feel welcome at my parish 4.80% 5.30% 89.70% Agree No Opinion Disagree 86.00% My parish has a warm, friendly feeling 1.00% 10.70% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

15 Level of Satisfaction with Church and Facilities Room temperature during Mass 7.00% 6.50% 86.00% Cleanliness of Church 3.80% 1.30% 95.00% Satisfied Comfortable Seating 7.00% 2.60% 90.40% Neutral Dissatisfied Church Building and Facilities 3.00% 5.60% 91.00% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

16 Level of Satisfaction with Parish Priests 75.20% Warmth of Priest 9.00% 14.50% Priest's communication skills 9.00% 17.60% 72.80% Satisfied Neutral Dissatisfied 71.80% Relationship with Priest 12.80% 14.60% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

17 Level of Agreement Regarding Parish Priests 70.00% My Priest is available in times of need 18.40% 11.60% 77.60% Agree No Opinion Disagree My Priest cares about me 9.20% 13.20% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

18 Frequency What Springfield Parishioners Like Most

19 Frequency Catholic Beliefs/Practices Considered Especially Important

20 Frequency What Springfield Parishioners Like Least

21 Frequency Active Respondents Bad Experiences With Any Person Associated with the Church

22 Frequency Catholic Doctrine Considered Especially Important Annulment Celibacy Before Marriage Male Only Priests Marriage between Woman and Man Priest Celibacy Prolife Role of Women

23 Frequency Church Doctrines That Trouble Springfield Catholics

24 Agreement Level of Agreement with Various Aspects of Church Doctrine 100% 90% 91% 80% 70% 60% 60% 74% 55% 65% 56% 74% 50% 40% 30% 20% 39% 23% 30% 39% 17% Agree No Opinion Disagree 10% 0% 8% 0% 1% 2% 3% 2%

25 Agreement Level of Agreement with Various Aspects of Church Doctrine 100% 90% 89% 80% 80% 70% 60% 62% 70% 65% 50% 40% 30% 36% 52% 45% 31% Agree No Opinion Disagree 20% 10% 0% 2% 2% Priest Celibacy Priests unable to Marry 7% 4% Social Justice 9% 6% 4% Economic Inequality 4% Interpretation of Bible 2% Divorce and Annulments

26 Frequency Suggestions for Diocese of Springfield to Bring Back Inactive Catholics

27 What Actives Had to Say about Church Doctrine I don t understand why the Church is opposed to birth control that prevents conception Many younger couples are banned from communion due to marriage problems. A failed marriage is not an unforgivable sin. I do sometimes disagree with the way the church...confronts issues. Pope Francis speaks my thoughts. Beliefs against gays. Politics shouldn t mix with religion. Always demanding money.

28 What Actives Had to Say about Improving Parish Experiences Please teach our priests how to give meaningful sermons I want to feel like I belong to a community of saints. It feels so very fake and artificial. We need to engage outsiders in conversation after Mass and make them feel welcome.

29 Key Findings Parishioners are quite pleased with church experience: Staff, Environment viewed as warm, friendly, strong community Mass times accessible Qualities of facilities Agreement on most Church doctrines (except priest lifestyles; divorce) Sacraments Erosion in parishioner attitudes is seen in: Priest warmth, communication skills, availability Adult programs, social activities, adult education

30 The Inactives Survey

31 Church Separation Characteristics Variable % Parish Membership Yes No Not Sure Separation Parish Only Catholic Church Only Both Parish and Catholic Church Conscious Decision to Stop Attending Mass Yes No Not Sure Last Attended Mass Within the Past Week Within the Past Month More than A Month Six Months or longer

32 Frequency Reasons Why Respondents Stopped Attending Mass Church Doctrine Church Scandals Lack of Christian Values Lack of Connection Priest /Employee Experiences Politics Time Limitations

33 Agreement Catholic Church and Mass Issues as Reasons for Distancing or Leaving Catholic Church 100% 90% 80% 70% 67% 66% 60% 50% 40% 48% 47% 36% 38% 36% 56% 30% 20% 10% 0%

34 Agreement Education Level Differences in Reasons for Distancing or Leaving Catholic Church 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 23% 35% 41% 46% 63% 76% 65% 65% 53% 55% 34% 30% 73% 67% 57% 59% 54% 38% High School College Grad School 10% 0%

35 Agreement 100% Age Differences in Reasons for Distancing or Leaving Catholic Church 90% 80% 70% 67% 71% 60% 50% 40% 30% 54% 55% 43% 51% 41% 31% 34% % 10% 0% Doctrine on Divorce Doctrine on Homosexuality Doctrine on Abortion

36 Agreement Age Differences in Too Many Church Scandals 100% 90% 80% 75% 70% 60% 50% 54% 57% to 49 40% 50 30% 20% 10% 0% Too Many Church Scandals

37 Frequency Changes That Might Prompt Respondents to Return to Parish Catholic Mass Christian Values Church Doctrine Church Scandal Parish Services Politics Priests None No Opinion

38 What Inactives Had to Say Lack of Connection/Disappointment I was only going through the motions. I struggle with the way the Catholic Church has not adapted to an ever changing world. I no longer felt that I could endorse the philosophies and views of a church that would exclude so many began with the gluttonous priest and the sexual molestation scandal.

39 What Inactives Had to Say Lack of Connection/Disappointment Enough with the politics, especially the conservative Republican politics. When my ex-husband was very ill and near death. I asked a deacon if he could give him a blessing. He said he could not because he was not a Catholic. The priest insulted and embarrassed me in front of my family due to my marriage status.

40 I m still seeking a church with a sense of community, friendliness. I joke with my friends that I ve gone to a church for 7 years and no one has ever spoken to me.

41 Key Findings ~ 65% had not attended Mass for six months or more Objections to Church doctrine Birth control, divorce, priest lifestyles, women priests, homosexuality Spiritual needs not being met Sex abuse scandals

42 Comparing the two groups Actives Older sample; more women respondents Higher marriage rate; lower divorce rate Agrees with the Catholic Church on most doctrinal issues High rate of weekly Mass attendance Very happy with sense of community Some dissatisfaction with priests

43 Comparing the two groups Inactives Younger sample; fewer women respondents Lower marriage rate; higher divorce rate Disagrees with the Catholic Church on many doctrinal issues Dissatisfied with the spiritual experience at Mass Divorce, priests lifestyles, birth control, socially more liberal Major exception: abortion Dissatisfied with pastoral relationship

44 Joy and Grievance in an American Diocese: Results from Online Surveys of Active and Inactive Catholics in Central Illinois Phillip Hardy Kelly L. Kandra Brian G. Patterson 24 November 2014

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