‘c’atholic Left circulates survey on Church life and collects the data. What could go wrong?

Do you know about the group called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good? Are alarm bells ringing? Read about them HERE. And HERE. Sharing staff with catholics United… HERE.

This is in from the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter):

Group steps in for US bishops, collects Vatican-requested data

WASHINGTON A Catholic nonprofit in the D.C. area is offering to collect responses from Catholics to a Vatican survey asking their opinions on church teachings on contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce. [Sure!  Let them circulate the survey and then let them have the raw data.  What could possibly go wrong?]
The survey was sent by the Vatican in mid-October to national bishops’ conferences around the world. An accompanying letter signed by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri asks that the conferences distribute the poll “immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received.”

But it is unclear what steps the U.S. bishops’ conference, currently headed by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, will take to pursue such an effort.

The nonprofit, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, has made a survey based on the Vatican’s questionnaire available online.  [So, let’s be clear about this.  The catholic Left is driving their readership to the survey, and then a catholic Left group is going to handle the data.]

Christopher Hale, a senior fellow with the group, said in an email that his organization sent a link to the survey via email to its some 30,000 members Friday morning. Within two hours, Hale said, the group had seen more than 300 responses.

“Our response has been overwhelming,” Hale said. “We’ve already hundreds of people answer the survey with beautiful or distressing stories about their experience with their local church life.”


Who can guess what happens next?

You can imagine what they might think were thousands of people to chime in saying that they want more celebrations of the older, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  I’m just sayin’.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Liberals, POLLS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sword40 says:

    Vote early and vote often. Hmmmmmm. where have I heard that before?

  2. OrthodoxChick says:

    Oh, well that’s nice of them. How ’bout we all fill it out?! Found the link to their survey from their facebook page:


  3. jameeka says:

    What could go wrong….indeed.
    Good thinking, OrthodoxChick.

  4. mamajen says:

    Why would the Vatican want people’s opinions on such matters? What on earth does that matter?

  5. stuartbreaux says:

    Fr. James Martin, SJ is already talking about the “sensus fidelium.”

    Nothing good can come of this. Doctrine won’t change, but the left will have another talking point.

  6. acardnal says:

    So. . . opinion and voting determines God’s revelation and Truth? Dumb.

  7. Muv says:

    When are teachers going to circulate a questionnaire seeking children’s opinions on the seven and eight times tables?

  8. tzard says:

    Notice the survey by this group is reportedly “based on” the vatican survey – yea right….It’s totally different (you can lookup the actual vatican questions online if you wish)

    The phraseology in this survey is leading and manipulative. “How does your parish community welcome same-sex couples” – no such implication or vagueities in the vatican survey.

    I’m not going to waste my time on the CACG “survey”.

    As for the vatican survey – I can see it as being useful to gather information independent of polling organizations or the usual media. Some of the real questions start out like: Describe the Church’s teaching on X then it asks whether the person has difficulties in accepting or putting it into practice – also question on how the teachings are being promulgated…. Good questions all. (source: The England/Wales Surveymonkey questionnaire)

  9. BBJohn says:

    I have a feeling they are just trying to pull an argument along Sensus Fidei to try and change the Church positions.

    To be honest, the way Church POLICY/traditions/laws keeps changing, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Church suddenly said tomorrow that “Abortion/contraception/euthanasia/Gay marriage are still wrong. But we are not going to talk about them often from now on. We must adopt a policy where we tolerate such things rather than speak out against them”. It seems to have been adopted by most of the Church today without written permission anyway.

  10. Magpie says:

    Sure the Vatican is doing their own survey so this survey is simply aping that one. See here for the coverage from the dissident Irish Ass. of Catholic Priests coverage of it: http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2013/11/consultation-on-synod-of-bishops-on-the-family2014-uk/

  11. ray from mn says:

    Who gets the job of reading, tabulating and making sense out of thousands of those four open-ended individual essay questions?

  12. JKnott says:

    Connecticut Catholic Corner has a good perspective on the survey.
    “The “poll” is find out where all the uneducated Catholics are and to figure out how better to educate them.” Hope it works out that way.

  13. McCall1981 says:

    This isn’t the first survey of this kind , they did the same thing before the last synod. The statement that came with the survey was pretty good too, check it out if you haven’t read it.

  14. pannw says:

    I hope they get loads of dissident and heretical responders and send every last one of them straight to the Pope. He needs to know just how bad things are out here, if he doesn’t already. I can only hope it will lead him to change his view that we can’t talk about it all the time and that he will talk long and loudly to clear things up.

  15. Elizabeth D says:

    Maybe the people in Rome are not aware of the history of Call to Action and the completely inevitable way this would be perceived and abused in our country.

  16. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I took the survey. I answered that same-sex couples in my parish are celebrated in my town’s parish and have even been held up as an example of Christian charity, for (illegally) adopting children. (They were from countries that forbid gay adoptions, so the couple pretended to be two single people.) I said my parish did most everything Pope Francis preaches against in terms of sexual morality and the reality of the devil. This is all sad and true. I’m sure my answers will hearten “Catholics United…”

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    I noted it said responses would be “forwarded”, and so a middle man is going to decide if a response “gets forwarded”. No thanks.
    It is shocking really, that a poll would be taken by the Vatican. A poll encourages the too-present concept of “theology by ratings” mindset. This is damaging.
    The open-ended questions are absurd. As was pointed out, who is going to read them.
    Having an essay question for homosexual couples is outrageous.
    We are circling the bowl.

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes

    When did “to deaneries and parishes” start to mean “directly to individual Lay Catholics” ?

  19. Joseph-Mary says:

    No bias here; move along.


  20. tzard says:

    Remember folks, these questions are not the Vatican’s questions.

  21. VARoman says:

    Ugh. Well, I filled out the “survey”. Even knowing my responses won’t get forwarded anywhere, maybe it will do the person sorting them some good to see authentic Catholic doctrine in print.

  22. jhayes says:

    Here are the questions from the Vatican (official version)


  23. benedetta says:

    Hilarious! Here’s ‘Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good’: “Here, answer our made-up questions and we’ll pretend that it is the same survey that the Vatican is conducting!” Nothing like good old dishonesty to promote an agenda.

  24. McCall1981 says:

    As tzard and benedetta said, this is not the survey the Vatican sent out. For those getting upset here, read the actual survey and the statement it came with, you’ll feel a lot better about it.

  25. seattle_cdn says:

    I notice more people have filled out the survey than have enrolled in the Health Care Exchange

  26. Emsley says:

    I am encouraged by the real survey, though it seems way too high level for the average Catholic. For instance: “What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on the natural basis of the family?” I don’t think most people would know what to say at all. Maybe that’s the point.

    I filled out the CACG survey. Very distressing. But I don’t really see the Vatican paying any attention to it, since it barely deals with the large number and depth of questions the real survey does.

  27. majuscule says:

    I completed the survey in the link.

    I approached it as if it was being asked by a capital “C” Catholic organization. And I told the truth about our (small) congregation.

    I bet they will be shocked. And disappointed.

  28. Tantum Ergo says:

    Shocked! Shocked, I say! They’ll be shocked at what I put on their survey also. And they’ll be facepalming at all the other Neanderthals like me, too.

  29. donato2 says:

    I responded to the faux poll. I reported the lack of support in my parish for traditional marriage and the need to reinforce the Church’s teachings on contraception, abortion and marriage and to do so with charity.

    Here is the link again to the faux poll:


  30. lana says:

    Mamajen, perhaps the bishops are checking to see how much catechesis is needed and where.

  31. Bea says:

    I too, responded. Had I known it was what it was, I would not have.
    I noted the difference between the USCCB (which seemed to be aimed at the hierarchy and not the laity, anyway) and the CACG survey, but responded anyway. They don’t ask for email address ID, which I thought was kind of curious as most websites and blogs, do, that request input from individuals.
    I imagine the survey will be screened to meet their agenda and what does not will be deleted, if indeed, they intend to forward this to the Vatican. Of course, my responses won’t meet their “standards” AKA agendas.

  32. Lin says:

    At the end of mass on Friday our pastor announced that Pope Francis had made an historic announcement of a synod that would be held to focus on the family! And even more historic was that the Vatican was asking for the opinions of members of parishes worldwide! Finally, the Vatican was going to listen to the Church! His words, not mine! He was absolutely GIDDY over the prospect of changing church teaching on contraceptives and divorce! Finally, the spirit of Vatican II will be implemented! Once again, his words, not mine! Very, very, very sad!

  33. jhayes says:

    mamajen wrote: Why would the Vatican want people’s opinions on such matters? What on earth does that matter?

    “I feel as if Jesus is locked inside the Church and is knocking because He wants to get out, wants to travel around outside. (Cardinal Barbarin quoting “verbatim” part of Francis speech in the general congregation before the conclave)

    Ha detto testualmente: “Ho l’impressione che Gesù è stato rinchiuso all’interno della Chiesa e che bussa perché vuole uscire, vuole andare via”.


  34. Peter Damian says:

    If you read the actual questions, they are orthodox. Fr. Jim Martin was quite wrong in stating the responses will be used to show that there is a sensus fidelium against currently held Catholic social & moral teaching. If anything, they will show how incredibly religiously illiterate and poorly formed Catholics (especially well-educated Catholics) are. The survey will show how few clothes the Emperor is wearing

    Catholics ignorant of their faith are not ignorant through their own fault. Many people have worked very hard to destroy the Church’s ability to convey its authentic teaching.

    Here are the questions:

    Question 1a: Describe how the Catholic Church’s teachings on the value of the family contained in the Bible, Gaudium et Spes, Familiaris Consortio and other documents of the post-conciliar Magisterium is understood by people today? What formation is given to our people on the Church’s teaching on family life?

    Question 1b: In those cases where the Church’s teaching is known, is it accepted fully or are

    Question 1c: How widespread is the Church’s teaching in pastoral programmes at the national, diocesan and parish levels? What catechesis is done on the family?

    Question 1d: To what extent — and what aspects in particular — is this teaching actually known, accepted, rejected and/or criticized in areas outside the Church? What are the cultural factors which hinder the full reception of the Church’s teaching on the family?

    Question 2a: What place does the idea of the natural law have in the cultural areas of society: in institutions, education, academic circles and among the people at large? What anthropological ideas underlie the discussion on the natural basis of the family?

    Question 2b: Is the idea of the natural law in the union between a man and a woman commonly accepted as such by the baptized in general?

    Question 2c: How is the theory and practice of natural law in the union between man and woman challenged in light of the formation of a family? How is it proposed and developed in civil and Church institutions?

    Question 2d: In cases where non-practising Catholics or declared non-believers request the celebration of marriage, describe how this pastoral challenge is dealt with?

    Question 3a: What experiences have emerged in recent decades regarding marriage preparation? What efforts are there to stimulate the task of evangelization of the couple and of the family? How can an awareness of the family as the “domestic Church” be promoted?

    Question 3b: How successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?

    Question 3c: In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been able to fulfil their vocation of transmitting the faith?

    Question 3d: In what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?

    Question 3e: What specific contribution can couples and families make to spreading a credible and holistic idea of the couple and the Christian family today?

    Question 3f: What pastoral care has the Church provided in supporting couples in formation and couples in crisis situations?

    Question 4a: Is cohabitation ad experimentum a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage?

    Question 4b: Do unions which are not recognized either religiously or civilly exist? Are reliable statistics available?

    Question 4c: Are separated couples and those divorced and remarried a pastoral reality in your particular Church? Can you approximate a percentage? How do you deal with this situation in appropriate pastoral programmes?

    Question 4d: In all the above cases, how do the baptized live in this irregular situation? Are they aware of it? Are they simply indifferent? Do they feel marginalized or suffer from the impossibility of receiving the sacraments?

    Question 4e: What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation? Among those persons who find themselves in these situations, how many ask for these sacraments?

    Question 4f: Could a simplification of canonical practice in recognizing a declaration of nullity of the marriage bond provide a positive contribution to solving the problems of the persons involved? If yes, what form would it take?

    Question 4g: Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases? Describe this pastoral ministry? Do such programmes exist on the national and diocesan levels? How is God’s mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for them in their journey of faith?

    Question 5a: Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?

    Question 5b: What is the attitude of the local and particular Churches towards both the State as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?

    Question 5c: What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?

    Question 5d: In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?

    Question 6a: What is the estimated proportion of children and adolescents in these cases, as regards children who are born and raised in regularly constituted families?

    Question 6b: How do parents in these situations approach the Church? What do they ask? Do they request the sacraments only or do they also want catechesis and the general teaching of religion?

    Question 6c: How do the particular Churches attempt to meet the needs of the parents of these children to provide them with a Christian education?

    Question 6d: What is the sacramental practice in these cases: preparation, administration of the sacrament and the accompaniment?

    Question 7a: What knowledge do Christians have today of the teachings of Humanae vitae on responsible parenthood? Are they aware of how morally to evaluate the different methods of family planning? Could any insights be suggested in this regard pastorally?

    Question 7b: Is this moral teaching accepted? What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couple’s accepting this teaching?

    Question 7c: What natural methods are promoted by the particular Churches to help spouses put into practice the teachings of Humanae vitae?

    Question 7d: What is your experience on this subject in the practice of the Sacrament of Penance and participation at the Eucharist?

    Question 7e: What differences are seen in this regard between the Church’s teaching and civic education?

    Question 7f:How can a more open attitude towards having children be fostered? How can an increase in births be promoted?

    Question 8a: Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?

    Question 8b: What critical situations in the family today can obstruct a person’s encounter with Christ?

    Question 8c: To what extent do the many crises of faith which people can experience affect family life?

    Question 9: What other challenges or proposals related to the topics in the above questions do you consider urgent and useful to treat?

  35. Geoffrey says:

    Are these questions designed for pastors of parishes? They don’t seem to need to be answered by the average lay parishioner…

  36. Gaz says:

    ‘Save the Liturgy Save the world’ came to mind when I read q9.

  37. Lin says:

    Catechesis, catechesis, catechesis! Does anyone know how we went from the Balitmore Catechism to mush?

  38. The Masked Chicken says:

    There is a sense of defeat in some of these questions. Instead of simply demanding that clear teaching be presented to the world and letting those who refuse to accept it leave (which is what Christ did regarding the Eucharist and if it it is good enough for God, well, should the Church not follow?), it seems as if the Church is asking questions it already knows the answers to. I can send them the answers to these questions and save them postage. In short, few people and few Catholics, today, know or care about what the Church teaches on these matters. After all, since we live in an age of Ecumenism, one teaching on these subjects by a Christian is as good as another, right, so if the Protestants can refuse to accept Natural Law arguments and believe that Marriage is a legal contract and that sex is a natural good for the expression of love, independent of marriage, well, that’s good enough for most people.


    Let the Vatican appeal to other documents than Vatican II to discuss marriage and homosexuality (hint: there is that pesky Bible thing). I say this and I wish someone would listen: there is nothing special about Vatican II. It contains no new truths. It should not be cited for ANY doctrinal issues as a primary source, since it merely cites the older sources, themselves (except, of course, for the truly controversial and ambiguous issues). Scripture and dogmatic Councils should be enough. You want to fix the Church, your eminences, I’ve got a proposal: impose a moritorium, under pain of sin, on any speaking of the words, “Vatican II, ” for 50 years.

    Other than that, simply tell people about mortal sin and the Four Last a Things. There just isn’t enough fear in the Church, anymore. Servile fear is not always a bad thing, especially with regards to sin.

    As for this question:

    Question 3b: How successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?

    I have no idea what that even means. Exactly how is life more complex, today, that prayer needs to be changed? Prayer is, “an intimate conversation with One we knows loves us,” (St. Teresa of Avila, quoted in CCC). Complex times do not demand more complex prayers. It demands purer prayer. Actually, it demands a purer life. This question does not, it seems to me, reveal a proper understanding of what prayer is. Has the Rosary become too, “simple,” for today’s culture or, rather, isn’t it that today’s culture become unworthy of the prayer? Cannot quiet meditation withstand life’s complexities, or that form of prayer not loud enough?

    We already have the answers to these questions. What we don’t have is the will to do what we know we must. St. Teresa said that, “Determination, Determination, Determination,” is what the Devil fears and it is exactly that which we do not have, but the other side does. Unless our will becomes the equal to our truth, we will forever be stumbling from one apology to the next.

    The Chicken

  39. The Masked Chicken says:

    Just a note from your friendly academic: if I remember, the Vatican changed its copyright policy a few years ago, so that its documents are, now, copyrighted. If that is the case, one ought not post the entire survey in a comment box. Berne Convention and all that…

    On the other hand, if this is in the public domain, I will, happily, copy massive volumes of theological texts for the theologically starving people in various countries affected by the modern blight of common sense. :)

    The Chicken

  40. Titus says:

    First, I endorse what the Chicken said.

    Second, the people who have observed that the questionnaire from the Holy See is not a “survey” are correct. The point of those questions is not to collect statistically relevant data about what general Catholic populations think about the teachings, disciplines, and doctrines of the Church. It is to obtain an assessment from bishops and pastors about how various methods of proposing and living the faith are or are not working in various places.

    After all, this is coming out of the P.C. for the New Evangelization. These people aren’t here to change things, they’re here to pass on the old things more effectively. We hope.

  41. Lin says:

    I totally agree with you, Titus. But that is not they way it is being presented by progressive priests and others. Please see my previous post. I did not make that up. And I can almost guarantee that the majority of people in my parish are not doing their homework! We need much prayer and fasting! God bless you!

  42. Patti Day says:

    Chicken, well said.

  43. Sonshine135 says:

    Well, I gave my two cents on the survey. I agree, it was poorly structured and the questions open-ended. They are questions the Vatican should already know the answers to already. Yikes! This has train-wreck written all over it.

  44. A.D. says:

    You are one smooth customer! I’m just saying!
    I went to the survey. Wow! Have they got an agenda or what!
    I was very respectful and objective, and true to Catholic teaching, which means it will probably end up in the circular file. However, if even one of “them” reads it, I hope it gives him pause for thought or at least that he repents just before he passes on from an apoleptic fit.

  45. gracie says:

    Masked Chicken,

    Your succinct remark that, “There is nothing special about Vatican II . It contains no new truths. It should not be cited for ANY doctrinal issues as a primary source, since it merely cites the older sources themselves”, hits the nail exactly on the head. I knew it in my head but your comment put it into words for me. Thank you for posting it.

  46. jhayes says:

    The Masked Chicken wrote there is nothing special about Vatican II. It contains no new truths. It should not be cited for ANY doctrinal issues as a primary source, since it merely cites the older sources, themselves (except, of course, for the truly controversial and ambiguous issues).?

    It includes no new truths but it includes many new ways of interpreting previous statements of the Magisterium. Bp.Fellay rejected Benedict’s requirement that the SSPX accept that Vatican II “is an integral part of Tradition.”

    For Benedict, in resolving conflicts between the facial language of Vatican II and previous statements ,it is necessary to distinguish between basic principles expressed in pre-Vatican II statements and the “contingent” application of those principles to issues of those past times. The principles continue to be valid, the “contingent” applications can change – as they have in some of the VII documents.

  47. McCall1981 says:

    This is good. They’re at least trying to clear it up:
    “Vatican rejects claims of Pope ‘polling’ Catholics on marriage”

  48. Cantor says:

    Sorry to be a dissenter, but if the USCCB will not do its job, what can we/they expect? They were directed/requested by the Vatican weeks ago to disseminate the questionnaire immediately and do not appear to have done so. In this day and time, others will gladly relieve them of that responsibility and do so to their own benefits. (And reword questions soas not to conflict with the Vatican’s self-declared copyright rules!)

    Centuries ago — mere decades in some places — missives from Rome were stuffed into bags and sent out to the world on the backs of jackasses. The rest of the world has recognized the speed, availability and advisability of modern means of communications. Our Church seems to be stuck in its old ways.

  49. Priam1184 says:

    @The Chicken If we want to clear up the confusion surrounding Vatican II why doesn’t the Holy Father call a third Vatican Council, or just for fun we could have a third Council of Nicaea since maybe the weather will be better on the Bosporus. Or we could honor Our Lady and possibly call a second Council of Ephesus? In any case the Church is desperately in need of an absolute clarification of its dogma and doctrine like at few points in its history. This would be the moment. Maybe it doesn’t seem like we have the personnel for the task, but really, when have we ever? In any case we always have the Holy Spirit to rely on.

  50. Priam1184 says:

    Listen to me when I wrote that ‘we could honor Our Lady and possibly call a second Council of Ephesus.’ I meant of course that the Holy Father should call a second Council of Ephesus. The spirit of Vatican 2 strikes again. I wonder what the Turks would make of all this…

Comments are closed.