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Bishop Galante calls faith study results ‘disturbing’


Nearly 60 percent of practicing Catholics in South Jersey believe that Jesus sinned while he was on Earth, according to a study released by the Diocese of Camden.

That finding, which is contrary to the church’s fundamental doctrine, and others are both “disturbing” and “intriguing” to Bishop Joseph Galante, who spoke about the study Thursday morning.

“The number of Catholics who have a very flawed, a seriously flawed, understanding of who Jesus is, that’s troublesome,” Galante said. “We’ve got to re-focus on how we teach and inform people. Jesus is the foundation of who we are as Catholics.

“If we’re not getting that through to people, that’s part of the reason why we’re having problems.”

Those problems, Galante said, include low attendance at weekend Mass, the lack of an inviting and welcoming atmosphere in parishes, and the reasons why Catholics stay away from the church, are borne out in the faith survey.

The study, done for the diocese by the Barna Group, a California-based firm known for its work on U.S. religious attitudes, took an extensive look at the beliefs and practices of residents in the six South Jersey counties that form the diocese.

Telephone interviews with 621 people, 18 and older, were conducted by Barna in February. The study cost the diocese $25,000. “A worthwhile investment,” said Galante.

“Too often we work on anecdotal information from within the church. We wanted something more solid than that.”

Results of the study indicated that four out of every five South Jerseyans identify themselves as Christian, with a third identifying themselves as Catholic.

Another third are Protestant, and the rest are not identified with a specific faith tradition.

Other findings from the study: The proportion of Catholics residing in the diocese (34 percent) exceeds the U.S. average of Catholics (23 percent) and among all residents in the area, 43 percent were raised Catholic. This compares to only 34 percent of adults who consider themselves Catholics today. [More]


Courier Post



  1. Jane Yavis says:

    Do yourselves a favor and look up the Barna Group – They are an Evangelical Christian Polling Firm whose founder graduated with Deal Hudson from Dallas Baptist University. They are POLITICALLY connected religious who use faith for a political purpose. I simply CANNOT believe at a time when parishes and schools are closing and a vocal mouthpiece like Bill Donohue from the Catholic League carries political waters in the name of the Catholic Church for personal gain and a spot on the Evngelical Political Stage this election time we spend the equivalent of three Catholic Hich School tuitions for this survey,,,,,but then again, when we can read a Billboard that touts Catholic Eduction as the “affordable” private eduction, respectfully,,,what does the Bishop expect would happen next?????


    Ofcourse, Jesus never sinned, nor could He, since HE is GOD THE SON!!
    Sinning would be against His Divine
    nature!!God Bless…

    • Jane Yavis says:

      Again what was left out is the background of the Barna Group. – It depends on how the question was asked and how the surveyor took the response. Human and Holy means without sin. I am not concluding the survey is all wrong,,,,,I just don’t understand WHY they did it, and would like to know how the questions were asked. Barna Group is politically active and who the Bush Campaign used during the 2004 election at the direction of Deal Hudson— to secure the Catholic Vote. I amm not comfortable with the whole thing.

  3. DonE says:

    When I taught Religious Ed classes, I thought the test books were extremely watered down and supplimented the material from my own library of Catholic catechisms. Even the children thought the text were too “soft and fuzzy” and appreciated the additional material. DREs, please take note – no more Kumbaya!

  4. James Francis says:

    Part 11. I ask them when was the last time they attended mass on Sunday? I tell them about “Sister Dorothy Marie Syndrome” What is Sr. Dorothy Marie Syndrome? When I was in the fourth grade in Catholic school, Sr. Dorothy Marie told me, “James, if you miss mass on Sunday and die, you are going DIRECTLY to Hell.” I don’t remember anything else that sister taught me but I carried that statement with me for years. Question- How many of you once and a while will attend mass, set there not particpting but looking at the clock, thinking about the day ahead of you and what has to be done? As you leave the church you think to yourself, Well, if I drop dead today at least I woun’t go to Hell. They all responed Yes. What about the “Priesthood of the faithful you recieved at your Baptism? So many thank me as that see thing differently.

  5. Amy says:

    This study reveals that most people want religious relativism; not authentic truth. A good resource for truth is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Anyone who does not absolutely know that Jesus never sinned is not living in the truth.

  6. The old adage about leading a horse to water seems to apply here. I find that when people are exposed to evangelization and theological studies at Mass, they are annoyed at the extra time they have to spend away from their secular activities. We have lost a generation and the religious education programs that are in place at present are nothing more than one hour arts and crafts sessions for the most part. Text books that mention nothing of the divinity of Jesus Christ and liken Easter to the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly aren’t helping things. Like it or not, there needs to be a major step back in time and serious teaching of the faith must, once again, emerge.
    As a teacher in a Catholic high school, I can tell you that not even a third of my students attend Mass every Sunday and think nothing of it; after all, “God understands”. What a sorrow!

    • Recovering Catholic says:

      I learned that I had to go out and find the truth myself through my own reading, seeking and meditation. I never felt that any of the people in the Catholic Church who were supposed to be “teaching” us ever really cared. So, it is wrong to just sit there and expect someone else to magically put the knowledge of truth into you; you must become a “seeker” and find it for yourself. [Isn't that something like what the Good Witch of the North told Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz?]

  7. Recovering Catholic says:

    Only Jesus would know the answer to whether he ever sinned or not. I’m fairly sure, according to his conscience, he didn’t.

  8. Janet says:

    Years ago, my daughter after 12 years of Catholic school education said: “I dont’ get it. They keep saying Jesus died to save us. Save us from what?” People in no need of redemption have no need of God. Catholic education is moving in the right direction but the current generation of teachers has not had very good formation. Bishops who are paying attention to this are to be commended.

  9. francis Joseph says:

    This does not surprise me. I facilite the Baptism class each month at my parish. I ask two quetions, the first, “why do you want to have your child baptized? The response,’dead silence! then I answer for them. “Because grandma is still alive and she’ll blow our brains out if we don’t or have a heart attack. Question two: What is baptism? response, dead silence! I use that time with them to evanglize them as to what they recieved at their baptism, Adoption into the very life of God. How they are loved by God as a daughter/son, the word Abba-Daddy. Secondly, the “Priesthood of the faithful, the same oil used for the ordination of men to the ministerial priesthood being placed on their heads as a child. That there are two sacraments that address the “priesthood” the first being Baptism. This is why the church encourages you to attend mass on sundays so that you can offer the liturgy with the priest as the whole “Priesthood ” is present. This opens a whole new understanding for them.

  10. Tony says:

    The “religious educations” programs of most parishes are nothing more than warm bodies gathered together under the direction of a baby sitter for an hour a week.

    • Recovering Catholic says:

      These programs give out nothing but the rigidly-constructed church propaganda — no critical thinking allowed!

      • DonE says:

        What rigidly-constructed Church propaganda? The books are not rigid enough in that they don’t state the Truth in a clear and straight forward manner from the Magisterium. The text books are too soft & fuzzy, which leads to error and confusion since it leaves the student to simply make it up themselves to fill in the gaps as they go along.


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