Friday, February 28, 2014

Charlotte diocese mum on survey results about birth control, other family issues


For years, many Catholics (including me) have expressed the hope that their bishops and popes would become less secretive and more interested in the opinions of those who fill the pews and collection plates.

Enter Pope Francis.

Last fall, the reform-minded pontiff signaled bishops that he wanted to know what their 1.2 billion-member flock thought about such issues as same-sex marriage, contraception, unwed couples living together and the church’s treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics.

The Vatican sent bishops a questionnaire covering these social and family issues and called on them to consult lay people in their dioceses. The plan was for the results of this survey to be available by the time Pope Francis convenes the world Synod of Bishops in October.

I wondered: What do Charlotte area Catholics think?

Before I tell you what the local diocese told me, here’s some context.

In response to the pope’s call, some bishops aggressively sought out the opinions of everyday Catholics and then publicly shared the findings.

Bishops in Germany and Switzerland, for example, reported that Catholics in those countries did not agree with the church’s bans on birth control, premarital sex, and homosexuality. Ditto, the church’s refusal to accept divorce and remarriage unless a Catholic tribunal rules the first marriage invalid.

In the United States, most bishops seemed less curious and less open about the view from the pews.

An exception: Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., reported on his diocesan website that more than 6,800 members of his flock weighed in.

On birth control, Lynch wrote, “the responses might be characterized by saying, ‘That train left the station long ago.’ Catholics have made up their minds and the sensus fidelium (the sense of the faithful) suggests the rejection of church teaching on this subject.”

So, what about the 46-county Charlotte diocese, which has more than 140,000 parishioners?

Spokesman David Hains, who works for Bishop Peter Jugis, said details about how to fill out the survey were spelled out on the diocese’s website and in one November issue of its weekly newspaper.

All told, 300 people gave their opinions. Hains said he also heard from some local Catholics who were unhappy that they had not seen the survey notices and had missed the three-week window to participate.

And the findings?


“We are not releasing it publicly,” Hains said. “Our charge was to pass it on to the (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops). Our bishop … felt this was the best way to handle it.”

-- Tim Funk

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, so Jurgis only announced it on their website and a small ad.

How many catholics log onto the bishop's website? Do they provide details on that as well?

There is a reason for the poor turnout, is that Jurgis did not want to hear from the catholics that do not agree with him

Jurgis is a joke. A couple of years ago, he sent out an appeal for the retired preists fund, with a picture of him in front of a gaudy gold cross.

How much money could have been raised by selling off that cross?

The current Charlotte Diocesse has no connection to any people

Archiguy said...

In other words, the results were what most everyone expected: 99% of Catholic women use contraceptives (not always for its primary use) in spite of the Church's prohibition against it. And they would presumably like their insurance policies to cover it. And their husbands agree.

So who, exactly, are those righteous bishops protecting by fighting the President on this issue? Could it be their own stubborn male-centric, 15th century, long outdated power base?

Well, duh.

par said...

Bottom line. Marriage is one man and one woman. If mixed couples want to live together so be it. Leave the institute of marriage alone.

Anonymous said...

An ideal Bishop is about 50% Priest and 50% Politician. Peter Jugis is utterly and completely unpriestly. He is the most politically ambitious Catholic Cleric since Cardinal Richelieu.

Anonymous said...

NOT a fan of Jugis. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised that the survey wasn't more widely spread around. I never saw it, never knew it existed until now. This is really frustrating. How are 300 people supposed to represent 140,000?

Anonymous said...

Jugis is a total joke and his henchman, David Hains, even more so. Well guess what, boys, life goes on in the 21st century even though you two are stuck in the 17th.

Anonymous said...

Tim: My understanding is that the vatican's request for this informations is not to sway in the breeze of public opinion but rather to be able to better catechize the flock around the proper understanding of these teachings.

We all learned in kindergarten (or we at least should have learned) that, just because 'everyone' is doing it, doesn't make it right.

Jesus, most decidedly, taught and commended the exact opposite of public opinion. Just look at today's Gospel reading (MK 10: 1-12)

Anonymous said...

The only reason I can think of for this survey is so the priests will know what needs to be preached. Are they letting the whims of culture dictate eternal doctrine? Scary. I am glad I am not Catholic.

Anonymous said...

If you (Anon 11:22 a.m.) are not Catholic, you have no reason whatsoever to comment on this.

Anonymous said...

My great aunt, a catholic nun in the northeast, forwarded the survey to me which I responded to, so not sure the local diocese got credit for my response. Also saw it in the local catholic weekly, which ALL local registered Catholics receive. I also recall it was very obvious in the newsletter, FYI. Although it's great to solicit input from laypeople, seems fair that Church teachings take precedence over lay opinion. I certainly disagree with many Church teachings but it is not my calling to claim righteousness. Again, am glad the Church is attempting to better understand where its believers stand on such issues.

Anonymous said...

Since Bishop Jugis obviously didn't want a lot of people responding to the survey, it's pretty obvious that any results resported from the Charlotte diocese cannot be trusted to be accurate.

John said...

Memo to those commenting... Church teaching is not a Democracy, it was never supposed to be. If Jesus had taken a vote, the disciples wouldn't have let him die on the cross, yet that was exactly what He did. "You think as man thinks, not as God thinks.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church is not an evolving church. I appreciate the doctrine and the efforts of the Priest and Bishops to uphold the teachings of the Church in this secular age of do what feels good and somehow it should be justified. Keep going Bishop Jurgis.

Anonymous said...

I thought the church was to provide direction and leadership to the people , not for the people to tell the church we will or we wont follow you, its like children telling adults whats good for them.

Jennybuckets said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that it is a survey that was SUPPOSED to go out to the parishoners. Whether it is just gathering our opinions or determining what to preach, it was NOT widely advertised and therefore Charlotte Diocese did not follow through with what the Vatican requested. We don't know for sure how it will be used. But we do know that particular survey is of no use in Charlotte because it doesn't represent Charlotte's Catholics. 300 is not even 1% of our representation. Whether you are a liberal Catholic or a conservative Catholic that should bother you.

Tvan said...

The Church was never intended to be a static entity, but rather a living, breathing and evolving entity that listened to the flock. However, the Holy Roman Catholic Church has done the exact opposite. As we have seen with the Great Schisms and the Protestant Reformation, our fellow Christians realized this and left the Vatican behind. The Curia believed then, like today, "We're right and everyone is wrong." However, this is not true.

I spent my entire educational career in Catholic schools, including 9 years with the Jesuits. I think another Vatican Council or something similar will happen soon as the Vatican can ill afford to sit there and remain stubborn. We're losing priests, nuns and other clergy members as well as parishioners. There will always be a Holy Roman Catholic Church, but will it carry the same weight as it once did with the current decline of numbers?

WestNDNBeauty said...

It doesn't matter that the flock thinks a ban on homosexuality and birth control is wrong. When Jesus walked the earth, people living in sin thought they were right too. He called them out of their sin and showed them the right way. I too struggled with the Church's doctrine on birth control, but I accepted once it was explained by my spiritual director and lots of prayer. Please pray for the Church and our Pope and Bishops that they find strength to lead their flock according to Christ's teachings and the a Tradition of our Faith. Peace!

Anonymous said...

Matrimony is between a man and a woman and is a religious sacrament. Marriage is between two adults and is a civil contract/union. Two totally different things. The church has every right to say you can't be wedded in matrimony in the church if you don't meet their standards of what they consider for matrimony, thats why people who are agnostic or atheists don't have matrimonial services. They have a civil service called marriage, done in a court house or on a beach or at a hall, any where but a church.
That being said, Bishop Jugis is so far out of touch with Catholics in his own Diocese it's disgusting. Bishop Curlin was good. Bishop Jugis is slowy but surely ruining anything good that was going on in this Diocese. If it weren't for the Catholic Schools being so much better than the public schools here you would see at least a 30 to 40% drop in the number of people going to the Catholic Churches here.

Anonymous said...

WestNDNBeauty, Amen!

WestNDNBeauty said...

There is no liberal Catholic or conservative Catholic. One is either a Catholic or a heretic. Peace!

Anonymous said...

...or...a Catholic living under a rock.

Samuel Chapman said...

The death of magical thinking (i.e. religion) is inevitable as people become more educated in the world around them. Nothing hastens that death more quickly than the relics of the various religions that insist that the fundamentalist view is the one true way and that everyone else is a heretic. Frankly, as an Atheist, I'm not sure whether to cheer these fundamentalist relics on, or fear them. People backed into a corner can be the most dangerous.

WestNDNBeauty said...

Not living under a rock at all, living my Faith. Catholics today get caught up with titles ... liberal vs. conservative Catholic, etc. Just pointing out if you're living the Faith (which is hard enough) you don't have time for that. You're simply a Catholic or a heretic pretending to be a Catholic. Peace!

Anonymous said...

Catholics don't get "caught up with titles." OTHERS are the ones who label them, and often those others are fellow Catholics. We all need to face it that every Catholic does not think or act like every other one. In other words, there is no single "way" we have to be. And that's OK, that's how it should be.

I agree that this so-called survey probably got a small turnout, and you can guess what those results were, After all, the kind of person who frequents the Diocese's website is likely someone who's totally on board with the Diocese's word. Put the survey in the pews at every Mass for a week or two, and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

"If you (Anon 11:22 a.m.) are not Catholic, you have no reason whatsoever to comment on this."

As long as your pedophile-protecting priests are living in the US off tax-free money, on tax-free land we do.

Those freebies come at a cost.





WestNDNBeauty said...

Really!?? I thought we were all intellectuals (to varying degrees) on this forum. Stooping to the name-calling and generalization of priests is so 1999!

WestNDNBeauty said...

Agreed, we don't and shouldn't all think alike. That's part of the beauty of the Church...it is an organism, not a club so we won't always agree and that's fine b/c we have the Magisterium and Tradition (among other things) to guide us. We all know there's work to be done to catechize the laity and evangelize parishes so we can in turn evangelize the community with our lives as an example.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for the Charlotte Diocese, the 300 who responded WILL be used to represent the entire diocese. The Diocese of Charlotte uses this strategy for many issuses, then uses the information gathered as a "vote" for the whole diocese, even if only a few parishes respond. And none of the negative responses are counted for anything. If you don't agree with the diocese, you're wrong.