Introducing the 2021 Survey of American Catholic Priests: Overview and Selected Findings
26 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 28, 2021
This manuscript introduces the 2021 Survey of American Catholic Priests (SACP), a data- gathering initiative which resulted in a new dataset containing responses to 54 survey questions from 1,036 Catholic priests in the United States. Replicating questions from a 2002 poll of Catholic priests from the Los Angeles Times allowed us to assess changes over time. Here, we present selected findings in eight areas: summary comparisons, morale, moral assessments, relationships to and evaluations of bishops, salvation exclusivism, perceptions of the conservatism or liberalism of younger priests, approval of Pope Francis, and the state of the Catholic Church in America. We find strong empirical confirmation of the nearly ubiquitous perception that younger priests are more orthodox in their beliefs than older priests. Additionally, we find a significant turn toward pessimism regarding the current state and trajectory of the Church. Other patterns and opportunities for further analyses are discussed.
Keywords: Catholicism, Clergy, Religion
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