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Survey of German synod reveals mixed feelings from the faithful

Catholic Mass Pews hand raised


J-P Mauro - published on 12/09/22

While the majority of respondents agreed that the clergy should work with the laity, less support was shown for the rest.

The German Bishops’ Conference has released a new study that seeks to gauge the perspectives of Catholics around the world on the “synodal way.” The study is based on answers from 599 Catholics from 67 countries on the four main points of discussion, mainly the role of the laity, priestly celibacy, the role of women in the Church, and the Church’s views on homosexuality.

The Pillar notes that although respondents were all either current or former beneficiaries of German scholarships, the results of the survey were varied. The report, titled “Synodal Path – World Church Perspectives,” found overwhelming support for some of the synod’s ideas, but the levels turned scant on others. 

While the survey group is quite small, according to the data, more than two-thirds of respondents, and 90% of Catholic respondents, agreed that the Church is aided in its mission when the laity and clergy work together. While the German bishops can be proud that so many agree with this sentiment, other topics did not benefit from such overwhelming support. 

On the topic of abolishing mandatory celibacy for priests, less than half (44%) said they support the notion. Furthermore, only 42% said they support the ordination of women to the diaconate or priesthood. These figures fell further when asked if the Church should reassess its stance on homosexuality, with fewer than 38% responding in support. 

The German bishops note that this is only the first of two phases of the study, which is considered a quantitative phase. In the second phase, the qualitative phase, they will interview focus groups from various regions of the world with questions based on the responses of this initial report. Results of the second phase are forthcoming. 

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