RESULTS: 98% Of Non-Mass Going Women Who Identify Themselves As Catholic Contracept – Where Do The Faithful Fall In Line?

If you participated in the poll, thank you! In 17 short hours, we were able to collect 1000 surveys from Catholic women around the US without being picked up by any major news agency.

The point of the poll? The point in all of this was not necessarily to prove the other poll wrong, but rather seek to two things. First, give a voice to Catholic women who attend Mass and do not contracept. Second, we wanted to make people think. The mainstream media paints the Church as being outdated and “behind the times” and challenges the teachings of the Church with no more authority than you are I have. Yet despite the many Catholics who falter in their faith, we can be confident that the Church’s teachings never have–and never will–rely on the holiness of its followers.

Just because the vast majority of Catholics use contraception (often throwing out what I call “the Catholic resume” in advance of their dissent), this doesn’t change what the Church teaches.  The Church is both human and Divine and it’s no surprise that the humans who make up the Church are flawed and imperfect. The Divine part of the Church, however, which is rooted in Christ’s own teachings and protected by the Holy Spirit, is not. We would do well to remember that.

So…like myself, if you are one of several generations who were not taught why the Church teaches what She does about contraception, I challenge you to make today the day that a new chapter begins. Resolve to at the very least understand the teachings. Struggling with a teaching does not make you less Catholic, because most Catholics struggle with some teachings of the Church. Let me say that again: Struggling to understand is not the issue. Defiance is. Deciding that we know better than the Church, which speaks with the voice of Christ, is self-serving and the epitome of moral relativism.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

The survey asked five questions. The answers are shown below. A direct link to the actual survey is below the pictures of the questions for you to view as well.


The direct link can be found here.

A friend who conducted the survey had a few words to share about this experience. Read below:

So…98% of Catholics contracept? Really? Wait a minute.  First of all, what defines being Catholic? If a statistic is being circulated through the public sector  as “what Catholics believe and do” it had better accurately represent those who, at the minimum, practice their faith regularly.   So, where do women stand who practice their faith regularly on contraceptive use?  
The results of this survey are revealing.  In a population of about 1000 women, fairly evenly distributed across age groups and generations, we found that of these women, 96.4 % of whom AT LEAST attend Mass weekly, only 18% were contracepting.  We found that a large percent of our readers use a “natural method” of family planning.
First, 8.4% of  the Catholic women polled claim that they are single and not genitally active. Don’t tell me these women don’t count in the stats on Catholics. Of the total population 5.8% (N=58) used the pill, IUD, or other hormonal contraceptive, 4.9% (N=49) used a barrier method, and 7.3% (N=73) had been sterilized or had their partner sterilized. Just 2% cited a medical reason for using the Pill. As an interesting addition, of the 73 women who used sterilization as birth control, more than half of them (44) regretted it.  Something to consider.
Many of these women claimed to use one of three modern and highly-researched methods of natural family planning: The sympto-thermal method, Creighton Model FertilityCare System, or the Billings Ovulation Method. The total percent that claimed to use a natural method was 58.6%. Others claimed that they used no method of family planning at all (13.6%).
Some may say natural family planning is a form of contraception. It’s not.  Even many Catholics are not educated in the difference between contraception and “responsible parenthood” as described in the document Humanae Vitae. If you’ve never read the document, it may be a perfect time.  It may even be an interesting topic for a separate future blog post.
I’m a practicing Catholic who loves my country and the freedom I have to be fully and completely Catholic.  In my opinion, the secular stats don’t legitimatize the mandate.  Most definitely, non-practicing Catholics should not be integrated into a “Catholic” poll when freedom of religion is at stake.
I’ve never been one to succumb to peer pressure, but the 98% threw me for a loop. I have no desire to debate it out. Yea, we did the survey on surveymonkey.  It is what it is.  Even if our stats are slanted because our population is more devout, it leads us to reconsider what really matters.  Didn’t Albert Einstein say, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”?
Certainly this poll may encourage some of us that we are not alone.

42 Replies to “RESULTS: 98% Of Non-Mass Going Women Who Identify Themselves As Catholic Contracept – Where Do The Faithful Fall In Line?”

  1. I am impressed! A thousand women is absolutely enough to get accurate results!
    The original survey may not have been picked up, but I bet this results one will. Great job!

  2. Can you forward this to, and to the RNC and the DNC for that matter? Great survey. I am NOT surprised at the outcome. Thanks for making the effort to do so!

  3. I found this survey data to be interesting. I would guess the reason it has not been picked up by the media is there are a few potential issues. First it is difficult to be sure of how random of a sample of Catholic women this is. The women who read this blog most-likely have somewhat similar views on birth control. It maybe have been helpful to get the demographics of where the these women live- what part of the country-city vs rural, ect. Second- on the question of how often they attend church, there seems to be quite a jump between weekly + days of holy obligation and once a month. It maybe of been also interesting to know why those who attend less than weekly do not attend- Proximity to church? Health reasons of their own or family members? Disagreement with Church views? Jobs?
    And out of curiousity what percentage of people who consider themselves Catholic attend mass regularly?
    Lastly,the other poll with 98% of Catholics contracepting seems really off too.
    Some interesting things to think about.

  4. 1000 respondents (who most likely read this blog)?? That is not a random sample. Therefore your results are tainted and cannot be trusted. You need to be sure to offer the survey to devout Catholics who may view things differently than you do to get more accurate results.

    1. If you look through the blog posts, you won’t find ANYWHERE that says we were looking for a random sample. In fact, I go out of my way to state we are looking for the voices of the women who are faithful to the Church {in the matter of contraception} to have a voice, which was not given to them in the initial laughable post by the White House.

      I even go so far as to say to spread it to their friends and family, which as we all know we have friends and family whose views differ from ours. So while I appreciate your concern, you need not be upset that the poll was not “random” according to your standards, but rather was primarily seeking to find a different population of Catholic women in the first place that welcomed input from all Catholic women.

      As for offering a survey to “devout” Catholics who may view things differently? You can’t be a devout {fwiw, I STRONGLY dislike the use of the word devout in nearly all circumstances} if you do not submit to the Church’s teachings…all of the teachings. Those who are dissident on Church teaching, especially contraception, would not be considered devout.

  5. All,
    I think what Martina was trying to say about not being picked up by a major news agency wasn’t that nobody’s paying attention.

    Rather it was a joke on how quickly the survey got filled by a 1000 people. (17 hours is VERY impressive. That’s one person every 1.02 minutes!)

    I think that short amount of time speaks volumes to how dedicated the catholic sistas community is and how important we find this topic. Good job ladies!

  6. Please consider CHANGING THE HEADLINE of this piece!! It is all over Facebook, and all you see is the bad 98% conclusion you are trying to refute!! You are just reinforcing the wrong idea….PLEASE change the title/headline of this article!!!

  7. So, by your logic and definition above, there is no need to even offer such a survey in the first place. If a woman is “devout” by your definition she should automatically use NFP in some form. I wonder how this survey would come out if we asked how she cares for the poor and marginalized in our country…or how she supports the dismantling of the death penalty. There are church teachings on these subjects as well and they often get politicized too. You crack me up with your narrow view…I can’t help but wonder if you have a personal relationship with Jesus or if your faith is all about following a bunch of rules that were man made.

  8. “Where do the Faithful fall in line?” By your defintion, the faithful are the ones who submit to church teaching with an emphasis on the abortion/contraception teachings right? Uh see that part about the emphasis? That came from YOU and how YOU look at the world. There are plenty of faithful Catholics out there who concern themselves with real faith, by following things like the Beatitudes in their every day lives, praying, confessing, and listening to God as He speaks to them by allowing the quiet moments. If one is constantly on a soapbox about issues that are entangled in today’s politics, how does one find that solitude to truly know God? One would have to live under a rock, not to see that there is a strong conservative religious agenda in this country. Be careful not to get so swept in that, that you miss what FAITH is really all about.

  9. The question you pose about “devout” vs. what I posted is a matter of orthodoxy vs. heterodox.

    The question is not about struggling with Church teaching. It’s a matter of do you follow the Church teachings {which are not a matter of my opinion or “narrow view”} but rather a fundamental desire to follow Christ even when it’s not popular.

    The reality is that the Church has infallible Dogma and Doctrine concerning contraception. I stand by what I said, not as an opinion or, again, as a “narrow view” but rather upholding what the Church teaches in spite of what my personal, flawed, understanding may be. {You can read that to mean that I, along with every other sinner who calls themselves Catholic, struggle with Church teachings because I am imperfect and human and realize that the divine authority of the Church supercedes the sinful interpretation of Church teaching}.

    A thought to consider might be the following, as was brought to my attention:
    You can be Catholic and sin but you cannot be Catholic and deny the fact that you are sinning.

    Essentially, what you are trying to tell me that it’s ok to basically diss Church teaching, knowing that it is an intrinsic evil to use contraception and consider yourself faithful to the Church {and you can replace “contraception” with any other teaching the Church speaks against to see it’s not just a matter of contraception, but all the teachings of the Church that I’m referring to}.

  10. I look forward to your next article on how the priests and bishops followed the Church’s teachings when the sexually molested CHILDREN and covered up such cases. Yes, I love the part of the bible where Jesus speaks about contraception. If you accept infallibility, then can you also say you fully embrace Vatican II??…it is the big anniversary year, after all. I look forward to an article joyfully celebrating Good Pope John XXIII !!

  11. What I found interesting in the poll was the sterilization data.
    7.3% of the respondents mentioned either they or their spouse were sterilized… and of those, over 60% REGRETTED that decision. You don’t hear that data in the news media.

  12. No, I am sincerely saying that I look forward to an article celebrating Vatican II and Good Pope John XXIII! It is the big aniversary year of Vatican II, so any Catholic website worth it’s salt should be covering that.

    Thank you for pointing out ALL the areas where I am confused. I will heed your wisdom, take it to heart, and pray on it. And I would say thank you for your charity…but to be honest, I think you could use a dose of humility in your approach. You seem kinda mean.

    1. You will have to forgive me that I immediately sensed sarcasm in your tone. However, if you look at the pattern of accusations and baiting comments you’ve made leading up to this point, you will understand why I concluded that your tone of that sentence was not charitable.

      I have not pointed out areas where you are confused, but pointed out the inconsistencies of your statements. There is a big difference. You feel you know the Church, but you also feel you know me and have made some sweeping generalizations about me that were unwarranted and totally lacking charity. I simply corrected your points regarding Church teaching and ignored your personal slams.

      And I seem kinda mean? Hmm…

  13. I am suspicious of all people who feel the need to bring up the molestation issue in EVERY conversation, as a way to tear down the Church/sew seeds of doubt. That speaks to a complete lack of respect for the Church and a fundamental misunderstanding about the difference between the Church as a Divinely-inspired Institution and the Church as the group of sinners that compose it. It also shows an inability to have an honest discussion and stick to the issues at hand rather than muddying the waters.

    You (general “you”) cannot reject the teaching on birth control and still embrace the core principles of the Catholic faith. You just can’t. In order to reject the teaching on birth control, you have to reject the infallibility of the Church. You have to reject the Inspiration by the Holy Spirit. You have to reject the idea that the Church was established by Christ Himself, who speaks through her — the “rules” are not man-made, they are God-made and spoken by Him through His Church. THIS is our faith. Our faith can’t be boiled down to serving the poor and working to dismantle the DP, or “having a personal relationship with Jesus” (nor can it be boiled down to issues such as contraception or abortion). How can you have a personal relationship with Jesus while you reject and show disdain for the Church He established for YOUR salvation, and the men that he CHOSE to put over you as authority (priests, bishops)? If you reject that Jesus established the Catholic Church as the primary vehicle of grace and the mouthpiece of his teachings, then you reject Catholicism, period. The Episcopal church has all the trappings of Catholicism with almost none of the rules. It has all that “tolerance” stuff that makes people feel really good about themselves, and few moral expectations of its followers. That seems to be what so many want our Church to be like… but it’s not gonna happen. That’s why there’s an Episcopal church in the first place. So, it’s best that people start accepting that and stop trying to change my Church to suit their whims.

    Finally, it’s *incredibly bizarre* to me that birth control is painted as a “policitized issue” yet the death penalty and service of the poor are supposed to be apolitical? Yeah right.

  14. For what it’s worth, your argument is the same for “vegetarians” that eat meat on occasion. It’s completely hypocritical. I understand the temptation to use artificial birth control. I feel tempted to use it everyday. I have had 2 very traumatic childbirths, the last just yesterday. Do I want to think about more children? Heck no. Will I defy Church teaching to prevent children just because of my severe health issues and abnormal pregnancies? Heck NO. This isn’t pick and choose what I like. This is “do I call myself Catholic and use birth control?” We aren’t making this stuff up for sh**s and giggles. This is Catholicism 101. The Church has given us a very clear means to space children while maintaining the integrity of the marital unit and purpose of sex.

  15. I agree with Martina 100% and I agree with you Jean that any Catholic worth their salt will be celebrating the anniversary of what was a gift of the Holy Spirit to our Church. I would like to point out that PJP II said the central passage of all of the documents was Dei Verbum 5.
    “The obedience of faith” (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) “is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals,” (4) and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving “joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it.” (5) To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts.
    I would like to point out the key words “obedience of faith”. Anyone whose ecclesiology is worth a darn gives obediential faith of his whole self including his/her body to what the Catholic Church teaches as the truth and realizes that it does so by the help of the Holy Spirit and this does not produce oppression but rather joy and freedom.

  16. Well, as a woman of menopausal age, I can officially say, that I am glad that I got rid of the stupid chemicals and contraptions that were patented by the Rockefellers and shoved down womens throats to make their bodies behave like a mans. At 35 I read Humanae Vitae and that changed my life…Sorry so many women feel so enslaved to these chemicals that cause breast cancer, stroke, heart attack. I have been free of it all for 37 years, and I do not have the regret that I hear so many women say in my peer group. “I wish I had had ONE MORE BABY”…I will die with hardly a space around my bed, and a legacy that I will enjoy all of my days….

  17. Devout is devout. You either are Catholic or you are not. If you feel personally you should use birth control, it shoudln’t be forced upon other people who desire to follow the teachings of the Church.

    All people who “feel” they are Catholic.. but then disagree with this, and this, and that, and this other thing… I believe they are called Episcopalians.

    I try to follow my faith… do I question things sometimes? Sure… but I learn about it.. read about it.. pray about it. I learn why the Church teaches a certain way on certain things. I don’t take my struggle with faith as an opportunity to tell others what they should “tolerate” from me. The Church has beliefs and doctrines on certain matters, and because I respect my Church and faith, I respect those doctrines and closely held beliefs. Whether or not I personally struggle with them is my business alone… and not to be pushed on anyone else who is trying to follow in the path the Church sets out for us. Matter of fact, the devoutness of our faith is what allows us to get through those very struggles.

  18. I agree with Tamara Moravec! If you can, please modify the title. Off the bat I thought I was reading the results of your poll, I reread it and realized it wasn’t (and I wasn’t expecting it to be). I think it could be confusing to some.

  19. Hey, I know I’m late, but it’s been bugging me since I read it the other day.

    This comment needs to be addressed, though Martina already did, I want to add something.

    “1000 respondents (who most likely read this blog)?? That is not a random sample. Therefore your results are tainted and cannot be trusted.”

    There’s nothing to apologize for about the sampling. Martina did it right – she sampled practicing Catholics. That *should* be the population sampled. That is the only way to get reliable data. It would be biased to sample practicing and non-practicing and then try to conclude what practicing Catholics do (which is what AGI did).

    And polls with 1,000 participants answering a direct question (as opposed to a loaded one) are statistically reliable polls.

    Great job ladies!

    Dr. Stacy (chemistry) wife of Dr. Jose (numerical mechanics)

  20. I really thought that original poll that was published and cited so many times was wrong. At least with all the women I speak to. During my childbearing years I only used NFP and it was very accurate to either conceive or not to. The Church approved this method because it brings a husband and wife together in many ways.

    The pill and other forms of contraceptive methods hurt women and can kill them.

    I am so glad that you decided to do this survey and am very happy with the results. This from women who actually attend mass.


  21. There is a big difference between attending church weekly and on Holy Days and only attending once a month. I just took a tour through this blog and feel like you all belong to an entirely different church than the one I’ve been attending for the past 40+ years. It’s like you are the Fundamentalist Catholic Church. Interesting, but not normal Catholics ’round these parts.

  22. Jenna,
    We belong to the same Catholic Church that obliges us to attend Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation (which are aptly named).
    “Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.”
    … and while this may not be “normal” ’round your parts, the Church isn’t a democracy where it’s teachings are based on the opinions of the majority.
    Actually, I bet you’d be surprised at how many faithful Catholics actually DO follow all the teachings of the Church ’round your parts! Going to Mass every week may open your eyes to a new sense of “normalcy”.

  23. Jenna I understand that most people who call themselves Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of the Church, a sad but true reality that comes from people saying that the documents of Vatican II said things that are simply not there. There is a hermenuetic of continuity that flows through the doctrinal teaching of the Church for 2000 years. When Jesus taught about the Eucharist most of his disciples left him. 2000 years later most of the Catholics are leaving the Church over contraception. It is a hard saying, who can accept it? I for one can because the Church is a seamless garment and to reject part of it is to reject all of it. Fundamentalist? No. Faithful? Yes.

  24. Jenna,

    The Catholic Church differs from Protestantism in that there isn’t different sects or branches of the Church with different rules, guidelines, or beliefs. The Catholic Church is one, unified body under one central teaching authority. It is also lead by the Holy Spirit, and thus infallible as an institution and in its Teachings. Of course, the humans that comprise of the Church are fallible, and may not always follow the Church like they should. That does not negate, however, the Teachings. It is a shame and very saddening that in your area, most Catholics do not follow the Teachings faithfully. But their lack of faithfulness does not change the Truth or the Teachings that have been put in place by Christ’s Church.

  25. Pingback: Truth & Charity
  26. We all belong to the same Church. Some of us believe her claim that she is THE Church founded by Christ, and that he leads her into ALL truth and protects her from binding the faithful in error. Therefore, we profess everything she teaches (even if it is a struggle to do so at times). Some of us, unfortunately, pick and choose what we wish to believe and practice out of what the Church teaches. It makes me so very sad that those of us who fit into the first group are labeled with nasty labels and marginalized as freaks or something. The martyrs DIED to protect and uphold the tenets of the faith that many so casually toss aside. If standing with the martyrs, saints, and intellectual giants of history makes us “fundamentalist Catholics” then I will proudly wear that label.

  27. I do go to Mass every week, except when I am working. Ditto Holy Days (I work 24 hour shifts). I’m not sure how you can say the church is one, unified body when parishes do things different ways and dioceses do things differently, too, even in the order and form of the Mass (just one example: some parishes here kneel after the Sign of Peace and others stand). And I don’t know how you can possibly know what each individual person, forming the whole of the Catholic experience, can believe in their heart. I think there is room for many variations in the faith. It’s you who think the church is ‘my way or the highway’ and I know you will all post a boatload of stuff to back yourself up. But what I am saying is that I am active in an active, vibrant parish of more than 500 families, have served on the parish board, and had kids in the school… and the stuff you post (veils?!) is as foreign to me as if I were to attend a Mormon service next Saturday. What is really important to THIS Catholic is that I live in a way that loves God and loves my neighbor. And I am Catholic, just as much as you are. Peace.

  28. I’m not going to pull out a boatload of stuff to back myself up, but I want to point out that what you are talking about and what we’re talking about are not the same thing.

    Cultural differences, or liturgical abuses in some cases, are not the same thing as the actual framework that Christ gave us.

    Look at it like this. Christ gave us the framework for the Church He established. We are saying we uphold that {through and despite our own personal struggles} even if some churches choose to ignore that. If a Catholic parish chooses to ignore Dogma and Doctrine {again, not the same thing as wearing veils or kneeling, etc. with things that have nothing to do with Dogma and Doctrine} they have in essence, decided to teach something that is *not* what Christ left us. I’m sure that happens in some churches.

    Again, let me restate that so I’m not sounding too confusing.

    1) There is the Church and the framework that Christ left us that is defined through the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed and
    2) There are the practices that vary from country to country and continent to continent that reflect cultural differences but do not alter the framework that Christ set up.

    As for wearing veils or being active in your parish life…that sounds like reverse judgement to me. So what if other people aren’t involved or wear veils. I don’t wear a veil and I don’t feel inadequate around friends who do or I don’t look down my nose if people aren’t involved in things at church.

    I think there’s a time and a place for everything…but God calls us all to follow His Church without apology.

    If you read this blog and walk away with only a sense of “Fundamentalist Catholic” and pass judgment on us based on it not being *your* version of Catholicism, then consider yourself challenged. We welcome you to come join us and read along with us and learn.

    I’ve been in your shoes and lived your Catholicism. I *know* what it is that you worship each Sunday. I challenge you to understand how I came to the place that I am – a place that does not care about where others are in their faith as long as they are true to the Church above personal observations of what the Faith “should be.”

    I hope you’ll stick around.

  29. Loving your neighbor does not equal making snide comments to them on the internet. Calling us “fundamentalist” Catholics and implying that we are abnormal (because, dear God, some of us wear veils as the women in Church did for 1970 years!!!) is hardly what I call charity.

  30. I love this post! I agree fully that when they interview Catholics about religious matters they should also ask if they are full members (Baptized and Confirmed), if they attend mass at least every Sunday and Holy day, and if they try to follow the Church’s teachings.

    Keep up the good work!

  31. ****And I don’t know how you can possibly know what each individual person, forming the whole of the Catholic experience, can believe in their heart.****Speaking as a Catholic I do not know what every person who calls themselves Catholic believes in their heart. They could believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus for all I know. I can tell you in completely unequivocal terms that as Catholics we are called to confess what the Church teaches. Confession is different from belief in that it reflects that our faith is not something that is “ours” but a gift. There cannot be multiple Jesus’s so there can only be one faith that we confess because what we confess IS Him. At least 75% of nominal Catholics cannot legitimately speak as Catholics on human sexuality because they are not practicing it. Membership on a Pastoral Council does not legitamize your dissent from Church teaching.It just means you won an election. Church teaching is not up for a vote.

  32. I belive in life!In jesus christ’s days He said to woman go forth and plerish with many babies!thou did not say use contaceptive of any type…life is what jesus was about!no matter what genration were in….I think contaceptive is what lead to abortion!!

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