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US survey finds young Catholics prepared to stay with the Church

The vast majority of young Catholics have remained Catholic, and probably will stay Catholic, even if they're unhappy and even if they're disconnected entirely from parish life, according to a new study from the United States.

The study, titled "Young Adult Catholics" and recently published by the University of Notre Dame Press, tracked down a representative sample of more than 800 Catholics in their 20s and 30s and interviewed them about their religious histories and their beliefs and practices.

Compared with mainline Protestants, the study concluded that Catholics "have a kind of glue holding them closer to their church". It found the number of young Catholics leaving the Church relatively low, at about 10%.

Furthermore, when it came to core beliefs about the divinity of Jesus, the presence of God in the sacraments and a life after death involving judgment, reward and punishment, 80% to 90% of these young adults adhered to the church's traditional teachings.

The study also found that these Catholics overwhelmingly supported expanded roles for women and lay people in the church more or less the liberal position in many church disputes and that this was even more true of those who attended church regularly, were active in their parishes and held more traditional beliefs than of those who did not.

Young Adult Catholics (University of Notre Dame Press)

New York Times