A recent survey conducted jointly by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and NORC, under the guidance of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame University, has shed light on the beliefs of self-identified Catholics concerning the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.
The research, which took place between July 11 and August 2, 2022, used a combination of online and telephonic interviews. Over a thousand participants were surveyed, giving the results a margin of error of ±4.45 percentage points.
According to the findings, attendance at Mass has seen a decline since the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 17% of adult Catholics claim to attend weekly services now, compared to the 24% who did in 2019. However, interestingly, 5% have turned to online or televised versions.
Delving into sacramental milestones, an overwhelming 93% of respondents said they have received their First Communion and 86% have been Confirmed.
Yet, when it came to understanding the doctrine of the Eucharist, results showed a mixture of clarity and confusion. “Forty-nine percent correctly believe that the Church teaches, ‘Jesus Christ is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine'”, the study noted. But a surprising 51% were mistaken in thinking the Church only symbolically recognizes this presence.
Despite these numbers, of those attending weekly Mass, almost 90% got the teaching right.
Most respondents (53%) credited their parents as their primary source of religious understanding, followed closely by parish teachings and Catholic schools.
The survey also highlighted that “seventy-eight percent of those who said they learned from the Bible believe in the Real Presence.” But relying solely on parental guidance seemed less effective, with only 67% holding this belief.
Pray for clearer catechesis or educational programs within the Church!