“What British Catholics Believe About Sex” (It’s Not the Catechism!)

At Bilgrimage, Bill Lindsay has a discussion about Linda Woodhead’s article for Religion Dispatches, on her professional survey on “What British Catholics believe”. His title accurately reflects the core finding in this survey – that magisterial teaching is a “big con”, not accepted by the Church as a whole. This will be of major importance when the bishops assemble next year for the “Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family. In his first encyclical, “Evangelium Gaudium” (just released), Pope Francis notes that “infallibility” applies to what is believed by the Church “as a whole”, reminding us of the important concept of the “sensus fideii”. In the same document, he also reminds us that there exist different levels of teaching, not all of which are equally important, or require the same degree of assent. In the entire, lengthy encyclical, touching on a wide range of issues, there is not a single word about sexual ethics. Do we need any clearer indication that in Francis’ thinking, these occupy a low level of teaching, about which we are not required to agree fully with the Catechism?

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In his introduction, Bill notes the contrast with the poor methodology of the “survey” launched by the bishops:


More on Linda Woodheads Survey of What British Catholics Actually Believe:

The “Big Con” of Magisterial Teaching about Sexual Morality

At Religion Dispatches, Linda Woodhead reprises the summary of her recent research findings regarding what British Catholics actually believe as opposed to what theyre told to believe that I discussed last week. She frames her presentation of her findings by noting that the questionnaire the Vatican is circulating, which asks for lay input prior to the synod on the family, is unlikely to obtain a clear picture of what lay Catholics believe, because its methodology is so cumbersome that it will elicit “hydra-headed” replies that arent susceptible to easy interpretation.By contrast, her scientific survey of British Catholics on the same issues on which the Vatican questionnaire focuses offers the first reliable profile of what Catholics in England, Scotland, and Wales actually believe about these issues.

via Bilgrimage: 

Bill continues with a summary of her findings, and reference to Colkoch’s commentary at Enlightened Catholicism. Read Bill’s full post here, and also his previous piece on the same subject.

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