Research contrasts Catholic parents and adults

EASTON, Massachusetts — A new study on Catholic parents conducted by CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, found “remarkably different” data for Catholic parents and adults.

Holy Cross Family Ministries, the organization that commissioned the research, released the study recently at the Catholic Media Convention, in Buffalo, New York. Titled, “The Catholic Family: 21st Century Challenges in the United States,” the first of four special reports shares an overview of the entire study. Three additional reports will be disseminated over the next three months, leading up to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in September.

“It’s important we deeply understand these young families to best serve their needs,” said the Rev. Willy Raymond, president of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “They are the future of our church.

“Some of the data is remarkably different than the studies on Catholic adults as a whole. This information is invaluable as we plan and grow our outreach to families. It will also be of great benefit to all those who are ministering to these young families.”

Holy Cross Family Ministries has been serving families for more than 70 years. The ministry helps families pray through face-to-face events as well as with many forms of media. Its planning for reaching contemporary families will be rooted in the survey data.

In fall 2014, Holy Cross Family Ministries commissioned CARA at Georgetown University to conduct a national poll of adult Catholics, ages 25 to 45, who are parents of a minor child to measure the practice of faith and use of media in families. CARA conducted the survey in September and October 2014 with 1,014 randomly selected respondents resulting in a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Sixty-nine percent of respondents took the survey in English and 31 percent in Spanish. Similar questions to those used in other recent CARA Catholic Polls (CCPs) were utilized making comparisons possible between Catholic parents and all Catholic adults. The reports to be published on this survey include, where possible, comparisons to findings from other recent national surveys of self-identified Catholic adults.

“This study gives us specific insight into what is happening in Catholic families today,” said Mark Gray, CARA senior research associate. “We don’t often have the opportunity to do an entire survey on one sub-group of the Catholic population. However, doing this research during the Synods on the Family seemed especially important. I’m glad we were able to do it because we ended up being surprised by many of the findings.”

To subscribe to the reports or for more information, go to