Report Into Young Catholics Publishes Findings

The new report, entitled ‘Complex Catholicism’, has examined the beliefs and feelings of 1,005 15-25 year-old Catholics in England and Wales.

It found that young Catholic adults go to Mass more regularly and have a better social conscience, but are also more stressed than eight years ago.

Regular mass attendance rose by 11% - increasing from 25% in 2009 to 36% in 2017.

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The report comes ahead of Pope Francis’s Synod on Youth, The Faith and Vocational Discernment this October.

Other finding from the study highlight that young people tend to prioritise moral behaviour above religious observance with "being a good person", "believing in God" and "following Catholic guidelines about helping others", considered the top three factors in being Catholic.

Meanwhile, just over half (52%) of self-identifying Catholics said: "I consider myself Catholic but it’s not especially important for me to go to Mass regularly."

Of those questioned, 40%, most of whom were older, did not identify as Roman Catholic (of these, 60 per cent come from a Catholic family and 40 per cent go or went to a Catholic school).

Young Catholics in 2017 expressed stronger levels of concern about local and global issues than in 2009, particularly about terrorism and "helping others".

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Female young Catholics say that they have taken more action on social issues in the past year than their male counterparts.

Despite 85% feeling happy or excited over the previous week, many also identified feeling stressed or worried over the same period, 72% over study/work, 71% about how they look and 69% about what others think of them. Female young Catholics reported feeling more stress than young male Catholics.

That said, over 8 in 10 young Catholics expressed confidence in their support networks, with 86% agreeing they feel valued by their family and 82% by their friends.

These results reinforce some of the early work being done by the YCW national action campaign on young people and mental health - called MIND! The Gap. This found that young people are expressing clear concerns about anxiety, depression and stress.

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The online polling was conducted by Research Now on behalf of the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation and strategy consultancy Camino House in September-October 2017 and launched at a Cafod reception on 12 June. Figures were compared to similar research in 2009 amongst 886 15-25 year old Catholics.