Well, that was interesting. I just completed the online “World Youth Day ‘Have Your Say’ Survey”, a special individual survey for WYD participants.
There should be some really good data generated from this survey. Australians are already world leaders in the matter of collecting data relating to religion (eg. we are one of the only countries in the world that include questions relating to religion on the nation census, and we have our own National Church Life Survey conducted in the same year as the five yearly national census by the churches themselves), and this survey should return some significant results regarding the world youth day participants. This particular survey is being conducted with the authority of the Sydney WYD office, but under the auspices of Australian Catholic University.
Nevertheless, there were some oddities among the questions. Consider the bias towards charismatic/evangelical spirituality in this question:
How often have you experienced the following (if at all)?
- Being ‘Baptised in the Spirit’ / spoke or prayed in tongues
- A dream or vision with a spiritual meaning
- Being ‘Born again’
- Making a decision to accept Jesus as my personal Saviour
- A clear answer to prayer
- Being healed by God’s power in body, mind or spirit
- God calling or guiding me to act in a particular way
- God using me as an instrument for others
Let me predict that the results of this section of the survey may be surprising to our evangelical and pentecostal friends!
Or, try this one out (the range of responses was from strongly disagree to strongly agree):
Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
- The church law that priests must be male and unmarried
- Church teaching on not having sex before marriage
- Church teaching opposing the death penalty
- Church teaching opposing abortion
- Church teaching opposing euthanasia
- Church teaching opposing same-sex marriage
- Church teaching supporting workers’ rights to unionise and to take industrial action
I reckon that last one was a trick question to catch us conservatives off guard!!
And I know where this one is coming from. Surveys in the past here in Australia have indicated that the spiritual life of the father may in fact be much more significant than the spiritual life of the mother in the formation of the faith life of children–more significant to than the joint witness to the faith of both mother and father. Anyway, we will wait and see:
Your family helped shape you in your beliefs. To whom were you closer:
- Closer to Mother
- Closer to Father
- Equally close to both
But then you get these surprising ways of setting out the questions in regards to personal marital status:
Personal relationships: are you:
- Not in a relationship
- In a relationship
- Living with a partner or spouse
Does it surprise you that the last category was not listed separately, ie. “living with a partner” or “living with a spouse”? Wouldn’t that have given us a more accurate understanding of what is going on among young Catholics? I mean, I recently participated in a meeting of Catholic and Muslim young people. A large proportion of the Muslims were married. Few of the Catholics were. How many of the Catholics were living with “partners”? No idea.
The whole problem is repeated in the next quesiton:
Who do you live with? Please check all that apply.
- Brother(s) or sister(s)
- One or more grandparents
- One or more uncles / aunts
- your partner / husband / wife
- Your (or your partner’s) children
- Unrelated adults
- No one — live alone
Again “partner/husmband/wife” lacks specificity.
Any way, all very interesting. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a rating at the end, such as “Score 75-100: You are a perfect Catholic. You get to attend WYD for free!”