The Catholic University of America

Category: Religion & Culture & Society

Mar 23 2011

American Catholics and Same-Sex Marriage

Yesterday I was asked by the Public Religion Research Institute to comment on that institute’s newly released polling data on the attitudes of American Roman Catholics regarding same-sex unions.  The new numbers show continued momentum among Catholics toward support for such unions.

Among non-Latino, white Catholics 41% support same-sex marriage, 36% support civil unions, and 19% oppose any legal recognition of same-sex couples.  This represents an overall jump in support, especially for same-sex marriage.  Moreover, in comparison with other Christian denominations, Catholics have the highest numbers for such support—trumping not only Black Protestants and white Evangelicals, but even white mainline Protestants.  Given analysis of age-cohorts, this level of support should be expected to rise, inasmuch as there is dramatically higher support for same-sex marriage among younger Catholics than among older Catholics.

When looked at through the lens of Mass attendance, the results change, but neither as much as in previous polls nor as much as is true for many other public policy issues.  For Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly, support for same-sex marriage is now at 26% and for civil unions at 38%, which lumped together would mean 64% support for some kind of same-sex unions (an exact reversal of the 63% of weekly-attending Catholics who oppose abortion).  For those who attend Mass “once or twice per month” support for same-sex marriage is 43%, while another 43% support civil unions.  For self-identified Catholics who attend Mass less frequently, 59% support same-sex marriage and 19% support civil unions.

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2 comments - Posted by Stephen Schneck at 9:18 AM - Categories: Religion & Culture & Society

Feb 1 2011

Tiger Moms: Evidence from Sociological Research on Asian American Families and Success in Science

In recent weeks, the media and public have been giving attention to the issue of "Tiger Moms."  The discussion is a response to Amy Chua's new book BATTLE HYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER.  I have been doing research on the role of Asian families in understanding the "model minority" success of many Asian Americans in science.  The National Science Foundation provided funding for me to collect information from a nationally representative sample of Asian American youth.  The survey included quantiative measures of family and science experiences but also opportunities for the youth to talk about these family experiences in their own words.

Results show that many of the family resources that are thought to be important in science (family involvement, parent degrees in science, how good parents think you are in science) are associated with success in science for both Asian Americans and Whites. But the analyses which look at differences in level of these resources show that Asian Americans have the advantage (over Whites) on most of these family resources.  The research also considers these processes from the point of view of the Asian American youth. The youths' discussions of family experiences suggest that the "Tiger Mom" phenomenon is real.

The Asian American respondents talk about support and resources in the family.  But they also talk about pressures and these come from both parents. Respondents talk about parents being "obsessed" with grades and "forcing" as well as "pushing" and "pressuring" them to do well adacemically, especially in science.  One young person whose parents wanted them to go into medicine notes "they said 'Health or die'."  Another young person reported that the pressures from parents in areas of academics and science and the resulting stress were so considerable that the respondent had decided to not have children.  Thus the findings from the paper show an advantage for success in science among Asian American youth but also a disadvantage in the stress and anxiety that some of these family experiences involve.

1 comments - Posted by Sandra Hanson at 3:00 PM - Categories: Education | Religion & Culture & Society

Nov 5 2010

Strengthening the Virtue of Prudence

If we were to practice the virtue of prudence at its best, I believe we would have people flocking to our churches. In a beautiful lunette in the Library of Congress we have the proverb, “Wisdom is the principal thing, get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding.” Understanding and the principles of prudence are not only our best means for creating a strong, unified Catholic communities, but they are the very gifts of the Holy Spirit we have received and need to employ more earnestly.

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0 comments - Posted by Eugene F. Hemrick at 10:38 AM - Categories: Religion & Culture & Society

Apr 26 2010

Understanding the Hispanic Presence

On April 19, the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, in conjunction with university departments and institutes involved with Hispanic work hosted the conference, Hispanic Presence in the Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Region. As I listened to the presenters, I couldn’t help but recall all the Hispanics I see on a daily basis. Across the street from St. Joseph on Capitol Hill Church, which I serve, is the U.S. Senate parking lot. Most of its car attendants are Hispanic. Walking over to the Union Station to catch the Metro, I pass teams of Hispanic landscapers tending the lawns of the Thurgood D. Marshall Judiciary Building. And it never fails, when driving to work, that I see young Hispanic construction workers carrying their lunch boxes or repairing streets.  Even though this is a daily occurrence, I often feel we are like ships passing in the night...

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0 comments - Posted by Eugene F. Hemrick at 4:51 PM - Categories: Social Justice | Government & Civil Society | Religion & Culture & Society

Apr 23 2010

Dispatch from Edinburgh

I've been more or less nicely stranded in Edinburgh this week, courtesy of an 'act of God,’ or so the airlines demur when you ask them for compensation.  It's a good place to be (...) Still, it's fairly depressing for a Catholic to walk around this marvelous city, which, like so many others in Europe, is filled with old churches now operating as community centers, theaters, cafes, offices, art galleries, or simply boarded up.  (...) As I think of my distance from home, I’m reminded that in my diocese of Baltimore, priests are fewer and fewer, Catholic schools merge and close, and many parishioners are deeply troubled in a moment recently estimated by Hans Küng to be the Church’s ‘worst credibility crisis since the Reformation.’  (...) The way things are going, it's hard not to feel as if I'm on a walking tour of the Catholic future.  Küng's open letter to the Bishops last week has great merit in my opinion, but I'd prefer to offer a few reflections closer to my lay pay grade and academic métier, sparked not just by my dismay at the Edinburgh commercial real estate market, but by the news I’ve had time to catch up on in my geologically imposed exile.  I doubt I’m alone in finding that the Good Friday homily by Fr. Cantalamessa referred to by Küng--which has been understandably interpreted by many as entitling priests, the pope and the church to a victimary status on par with that of 20th century Judaism--was as historically in error as it was rhetorically deaf.  Not just tone-deaf, but simply deaf, uncommunicative...

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Posted by Stephen J. McKenna at 10:47 AM - Categories: Social Justice | Religion & Culture & Society

Apr 12 2010

Are Catholic colleges and universities doing more harm than good?

The question was raised by Dr. Mark Gray & Melissa Cidade, MA of Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University in a presentation to the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies [IPR] at The Catholic University of America. According to the data, no evidence exists that harm to a student’s Catholic faith or education is done. Although the study that reported this was not as far ranging as would be desired, the questions it generated were conscious-conscience-raising challenges today’s Catholic youth need to address. They ranged from attitudes on abortion, affirmative action/Call to Action, same sex marriages, improving the human condition, to attitudes on military spending, capital punishment, praying, reading sacred texts, attending religious services, and spirituality.

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1 comments - Posted by Eugene F. Hemrick at 10:09 AM - Categories: Social Justice | Religion & Culture & Society