Teachers Reject Some Doctrines, Study Says

Article excerpt

A majority of Catholic elementary school teachers are either unaware of, or disagree with, many church rules and doctrines, according to a study published by the National Catholic Educational Association.

On issues of "church discipline" -- matters such as divorce, women's ordination, who may receive Communion and the frequency of reception of penance -- only 37 percent of teachers, on average, reported that they "believed in" these rules.

Similarly, on "Catholic morality" -- including abortion, birth control, euthanasia, discrimination and premarital sex -- an average of 49 percent said they "believed in" church teaching.

Slightly larger groups reported knowing what church teaching was in these areas. Roughly 49 percent said they knew the teachings grouped under church discipline, and 78 percent knew those grouped under morality.

Results varied on specific questions; numbers reported above are aggregates for all questions in a particular category. A teacher could report "knowing" but not "believing in" a teaching, and similarly, could "believe in" something without "knowing" that it was part of church doctrine.

An overwhelming number of teachers, 93 percent, said they knew points of general Christian doctrine, such as the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus, and 89 percent said they believed in these teachings. Two-thirds, or 65 percent, said they believed in specifically Catholic doctrines such as the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and that both faith and works are required for salvation.

The study was based on a survey of 2,300 teachers in Catholic elementary schools across the country. …