Online Data Archive

American Catholic Priesthood Survey, 1971

The American bishops commissioned the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) to conduct this comprehensive study of the Catholic priesthood in the United States and of American priests living abroad. The purpose of this study was to determine what priests at this time saw as the past, present, and future role of the priesthood and the Catholic Church in the United States. Scientific probability sampling methods were used to determine who would participate in the study. 5,000 active priests completed the survey, of whom 1,000 priests who had recently resigned from their positions or taken a leave of absence, were sent a slightly amended version of the questionnaire. Some of these former priests and priests on leave of absence were also invited to complete a 'Personal Orientation Inventory'. In June, 1996, this study was made public and freely accessible.

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