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Journal of Religion and Society




In April 2003, the researchers conducted a survey of undergraduate students living in residence halls at Loyola University Chicago. The majority of Catholic students in the study expressed disagreement with the statement, “Women should not be allowed to be clergy (priests, pastors, imams, rabbis, etc.),” and the majority of them expressed agreement with the statement, “Sexism is wrong.” This was not a surprise to the researchers. What was surprising was the fact that the correlation of the responses by Catholics between these two statements was insignificant (r = -.089). The researches explored this question with focus groups made up of Loyola University Chicago campus ministers and Catholic undergraduates. Catholic college students see a relationship between Church authority and issues that touch their lives most directly, especially in the area of sexuality. They see Church authority in contrast to “the wisdom of the world” on these issues, and the majority are more likely to trust “the world.” While the majority of young Catholics in the study disagreed with the exclusion of women from the priesthood and agreed that sexism is wrong, they saw no relationship between the two. One was a Church matter, with which they disagreed (as they did on many of the “Church matters”), and one was a discrimination matter, on which they followed the common trends of the larger culture, indistinctly from non-Catholics.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.