K of C: Young Catholics interested in faith, but open to relativism

I am always way leery of polls or surveys done by special-interest groups or groups with a clear point of view.

Almost every time, the poll happens to show public support for whatever point of view the group has or promotes.

That’s life, right?

So when I got an email promoting a “new survey of young Catholics” from the Knights of Columbus, I expected to open a press release proclaiming that all is right with the Catholic world from the point of view of young Catholics.

But no.

When I clicked on the email, I got this headline:

“New Survey of Young Catholics Shows Promise and Challenges for the Catholic Church: Believe in God, interested in the faith and clear on personal morality, but see morality overall as relative”

The release explains that high percentages of Catholic Millennials (ages 18-29) believe in God, see religion as at least “somewhat important” in their lives and believe that “commitment to marriage is under-valued.”

At the same time, pretty high percentages accept the kind of religious relativism that Pope Benedict has railed against.

61% believe “that it is all right for a Catholic to practice more than one religion (although 57% of practicing Catholics disagree). And 82% of Catholic Millennials see morals as “relative” (with only 54% of practicing Catholics disagreeing).

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson says: “It is very important for the Church to understand the outlook of the next generation of adult Catholics. Catholic Millennials support Church teaching in a wide variety of areas, including contentious issues like abortion and euthanasia. In other areas, the cultural relativism that Pope Benedict XVI has spoken so much about is very evident, and it confirms the wisdom of his attention to this question as central to the New Evangelization.”

So, congratulations to the K of C for being direct and honest and producing a poll that seems to jive with what’s going on out there.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.