Sunday, February 19, 2012

Survey of Catholics

The Lay Catholic Apostolic Council recently reviewed in its white paper its last 40 years as an organization and, in a supplement to the paper, revealed the results of their survey of 35 parishes, with a total membership of 3100 Catholics. It was an attempt to determine the condition and problems of lay people in the Church.

A brief article in the Seoul Daily on the survey, which was taken among the more devout of the Catholics, was headlined: "95 percent of Catholics live with a consciousness that they are Catholic." Although Catholics have an idea that they are the Church and live with this idea, according to survey results, the article pointed out that the survey also showed that the average Catholic's understanding of moral issues and their willingness to do something about it is lacking.

The first question of the survey: Are you conscious of being a Catholic and living like one?  56 percent said they are always conscious of their Catholicism and live it. 39 percent said that they were partially conscious and living the life.  About half, 46 percent, thought that those who were in lay apostolate leadership positions were doing their work with  the right dispositions, while 35 percent thought they were very  authoritative in their dealings with the Christians. To the question, who are the first to be changed in the Church?  58 percent thought it would be the lay people; 25 percent, the clergy; 4 percent, the religious; and 13 percent didn't know.

Concerning the moral issue, the survey indicated that abortion was considered murder by 56 percent of the respondents but 25 percent thought it should be allowed when it involved rape or incest; 8 percent would allow it when the parents did not want another child. On euthanasia, 44 percent  would give limited permission when serious pain is involved; and 16 percent would  allow it when the financial situation is difficult. And only 31 percent would be definitely against any kind of euthanasia. It shows a big discrepancy from the teaching of the Church.  

40 percent of those who participated in the survey said they attend Mass weekly. 45 percent go to confession four or five times a year, 53 percent say prayers daily, and 48 percent said they read the Scriptures a little when the thought comes.

An editorial in the Catholic Times also commented on the white paper, pointing out the issue many consider the most serious: the poor no longer find the community welcoming.  Many surveys and studies have shown that most of the Catholics are middle class and unknowingly make the poor feel uncomfortable in community gatherings. What is required, the editorial stresses, is not only helping the poor with their material needs, but working together with them, encouraging them to participate in the decision-making process of the pastoral councils.