Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Il Senso dei Fedeli

It's funny: if you read the other forums, you'd think that Catholicism stops at the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, that only Republican Americans are Catholic and that the other 94% of the global body is just, well, a nonentity.

Well, just in case you've been snookered into the American Calvinism (Manifest Destiny?) which claims to be The Faith in these days, there's more in Rome than just the Vatican and the swarms of seminarians, and there's more -- much more -- to the Universal church than these fifty states (Thank God.)....

I was talking with a friend over there the other morning, and he was on a rail about how, even now, the Italian papers are so wrapped up with the hierarchy's reaction to things. This was in response to the Pope's speech to the Lazio politicos, which was splayed with enormous articles and pictures all over the national front pages on Friday, as if B16 had invented the wheel or something.

In the wake of the weekend's contentiousness over the Pacs (civil partnership) legislation and other political hot-buttons which have attracted the attention of the Holy See and the CEI (the Italian Bishops' Conference), Corriere della Sera, the top Italian daily based in Milan, ran a poll in today's edition on the opinions of declared Catholics on their positions about the church's chosen issues.

87.8% of Italians call themselves Catholic, but only 36.8% practice it.... [The survey shows] an increase of 8% who have returned to Catholicism compared to the same poll 15 years ago.... [T]he crisis is not one of religion, but of religiosity. 65.6% of Catholics support divorce. 77.8% are either slightly or not at all in favor of the barring of remarried divorcees from communion. 66% deem as unjust the position of the synod of bishops which would seek to deny the Eucharist to politiciand who support laws which do not conform to God's law.

ABORTION -- 83.2% of the country favors it in cases in which the mother's life is in danger, 72.9% in cases of grave anomalies and the malformation of the fetus, 65.1% in cases of sexual violence. The figures drop notably to 23% and 18.6% [respectively] when economic conditions or the wish of the mother to not have children are at issue.

PACS -- 68.7% of Italian Catholics polled by Eurispes support the introduction of Pacs, the civil union partnerships....

ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA -- 58.7% of Catholics support assisted suicide. 38.1% support euthanasia, 48.1% is opposed while 13.8% are undecided.

YOUTH -- 30.8% of those interviewed between 18 and 24 years of age attend Mass every Sunday, compared to 22.4% and 28.5% of those questioned in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups.

PRAYER -- For 76.2% the prime reason to come to church is prayer. 16.4% goes only due to family tradition and 14% shies away from the need to find strength in the most difficult moments of life....

SACRAMENTS -- The most deeply-held sacraments of Catholics are those of baptism, important for 86.8% of the country, and matrimony (85.3%). Following in importance are the eucharist and confirmation. Confession is given a decisively low level of importance. Only 54.3% of the interviewed (Catholics and non-Catholics) believe in miracles, which are absolutely disbelieved by 37.2% of those polled....

POLITICS -- For those who keep appraised of political affairs, voters of the left (71.1%) and the center-left (50%) believe that the Church intervenes more than they would like on ethical questions, while the adherents of the center and center-right are particularly numerable those who consider "in just measure" the interventions of ecclesiastical institutions on such issues (respectively 66.7% and 48.6%).
Make of it all what you will.