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.

Going to church on Easter, Twittering on Good Friday

Who’s going to church on Easter?

According to a new Marist Poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, 63% of Americans and 74% of Catholic Americans plan to attend church on Easter.

In addition, 86% of Americans and 89% of Catholic Americans correctly identified Easter as the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

About the 11% of Catholics who don’t know what Easter is about, can we go ahead and call them lapsed? How about super-lapsed?

Also, Trinity Wall Street, the famous downtown Episcopal church, plans a “Twittered Passion Play” at noon tomorrow. What is a Twittered Passion Play, you ask?

Their website explains:


What Would Jesus Tweet?

In addition, Trinity will put on a unique Passion Play that marries this timeless Christian tradition with the latest in social networking trends.

The play begins on Good Friday, April 10, at 12 noon.

Lasting 3 hours, you can become an audience member by following twspassionplay on twitter and enabling direct messages. Have the feed delivered to your cell phone, blackberry, or email address.

You will receive Tweets from the main characters as the events of Christ’s passion unfold. Experience the passion wherever you are in your day, and feel free to forward it on to friends.


Trinity will also have an “Online Stations of the Cross:”


Stations of the Cross

A contemporary recreation of Christ’s Passion, the online Stations allow you to meditate on Christ’s final hours at your own pace. Experience the Stations in a modern dramatic recreation including photos, scriptural passages and prayers, and meditative music.

Users will find a main image that consist of a cross made up of 14 squares, taken from black and white photos of a recent staging of the Stations in Lower Manhattan. When clicked, each square will open to reveal one station of the cross.

Loving thy neighbor during hard times

Donations to non-profits are way down. No surprise.

On Friday, Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life and the Knights of Columbus are together hosting a “summit” on the role volunteers can play in helping their communities to recover from the financial crisis.

It will be at the Marriott East Side in NYC from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Among those groups sending representatives: Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the National Fraternal Congress, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, General Electric, the Foodbank of Greater New Jersey, Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Goldman Sachs and Volunteers of America.

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, says: “A lack of concern for our neighbors within our financial system contributed greatly to the critical economic situation we face today. By sharing our ideas, experience, and creating a solid plan for the future of volunteerism, our nation’s volunteer-promoting organizations, from a variety of sectors – have the ability to be a wonderful force for good as they facilitate neighbors helping their neighbors to rebuild their lives and their communities.”

And Fairfield President Jeffrey P. von Arx, a Jesuit, says: “The global economy is facing one of its biggest challenges in a generation. While this economic crisis is still very much in its early phase, what seems indisputable is that we are about to enter an extended period of increased hardship within our communities, and increased poverty of resources in communities and nations around the world. It is certainly incumbent on our governments to respond to this crisis with alacrity, but we also know that governments can only do so much, and that we will have to look to our religious institutions, to our Universities, and to the non-profit and volunteer sectors in general to rise to the occasion and find creative solutions to the problems that we need to confront.”

And he didn’t even get here yet

Americans like Benedict XVI — by a margin of 4 to 1.

According to a new poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, 58% view the pope favorably and 18% unfavorably.

66% of Catholics said they would like to attend a papal event in the U.S. — and 42% of everyone, Catholic and non.

tjndc5-5jaa71la5a1dokguab2_layout.jpgLarge numbers want to hear the pope talk about: “allowing God to be a part of their daily lives (73%), finding spiritual fulfillment by sharing their time and talent (71%) and how they can make a positive difference in the world, their state, and communities (70%).”

As far as the Catholic Church goes, 65% have a favorable view and 28% a negative view.

The numbers were released today by KOC Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who was speaking at the National Press Club about his new book Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World.

Anderson said:

The bottom line is that, despite years of very negative stories about the Catholic Church scandals, and dissenting view of the Pope as some sort of ‘panzercardinal’ determined to pursue the unorthodox to the ends of the earth, the American people have a very sensible and balanced view of Benedict and the Church. And they are very open to hearing his views on matters of how they might live their faith and put it into action in their daily lives.