The majority of the 2,558 Catholics that responded to a questionnaire conducted by the Archdiocese of Denver indicate they pray regularly, say they would like to hear more homilies on how to connect the faith to their day-to-day lives, and believe being married has made them a better person.
The 38-question, multiple-choice, non-scientific questionnaire was made available on the archdiocese’s website from Feb. 9 through March 2 in response to Pope Francis’ call for input from Catholics for the Oct 4-25 Vatican synod on the family.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila will also use the information to better serve his flock in Colorado, according to David Uebbing, chancellor.
“People really appreciated the chance to say something and be part of the synod on the family,” Uebbing told the Denver Catholic.
While he was pleased with the response rate for the questionnaire, the first of its kind for northern Colorado Catholics, he hopes future versions will reach a wider audience, including more young people and men. Seventy-two percent of respondents were 45 and older, and 65 percent were female.
“We need to improve this tool’s reach among a younger demographic, especially teens, and men,” he said. “We heard from a cross-section of people that go to Mass weekly and that are participating in their parishes—a snapshot of the person in the pew.”
Nine in 10 respondents said they attend Mass at least once a week, 75 percent are married and 95 percent have children. Nine in 10 responded that, if asked, they would be able to tell the story of their relationship with Christ.
“That’s a great testimony to the priests and clergy,” Uebbing said, “that people are being well-formed and are in tune with their relationship with Christ.”
The questionnaire revealed that marriage preparation and support for couples after marriage need to be improved. More than half reported their marriage preparation did not adequately prepare them for marriage and about the same amount said they didn’t receive enough support from their parish once married. One-third shared that they do not agree with Church teaching on contraception.
Results and comments generated from an open-ended question “How can the Church better foster stronger and more faithful families?”—367 pages of comments in all—will also be provided to the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries. It will give them a better idea of which resources would be most helpful to Catholics, Uebbing said.
“(The results) confirm the need for good marriage preparation,” he said, an area that has been a priority for Archbishop Aquila, “and improving resources on natural family planning and theology of the body.”
The information is in the process of being compiled into a report that will be delivered to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by late March. In turn, the USCCB will submit the results from the entire country to the Vatican. The universal feedback will be used to prepare a working document to help guide the bishops’ discussions at the synod. This synod is the second and larger of two such Vatican gatherings of bishops over the course of a year. The focus will be “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world.”
Once the USCCB report is compiled, a summary of the questionnaire results will be prepared and made available to priests of the archdiocese, as well as posted online at www.archden.org.
Questionnaire – By the numbers
About the respondents
72% 45+ years old
95% have children
About their faith
91% attend Mass once a week or more
91% pray regularly
90% would like more homilies on connecting faith to daily life
83% said marriage made them a better person
54% said marriage prep didn’t adequately prepare them for marriage
34% do not agree with Church teaching on contraception