I partnered with America to do a series of sidebars, looking through the data in the survey of 1500 Catholic women in America that the magazine produced in partnership with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. Here are links to my four short pieces:
We asked women about the circumstances in which they regularly prayed. A third (33 percent) of the women in our sample did not engage in any of the three practices of regular prayer that we asked about: prayer when waking up, prayer when going to bed and prayer before meals. A little over a quarter (28 percent) participated in at least one of these practices, and a fifth (19 percent) relied on all three.
Sustaining prayer practices of this type were correlated with age and Mass attendance. Millennials (44 percent) were twice as likely as pre-Vatican II Catholics (23 percent) to have none of these regular prayer practices.
We asked the women who had never considered a vocation to the consecrated life what factors had influenced their thinking—what were the barriers between them and this way of life? The most frequently cited reason was the desire for a different vocation: to be a mother. Over half (56 percent) of the women who had never considered being a woman religious said that the longing for children was “very much” related to their choices.
Participation in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) is also infrequent. A quarter of respondents (27 percent) went to confession at least once a year. A higher share (38 percent) reported that they had “never” been to confession. This is higher than might be expected, as confession in most dioceses is required prior to making one’s first Communion.
We asked the women who used N.F.P. about what factors were most important to them when they decided how to space births. Financial concerns were some of the most commonly cited: 38 percent of women said it was very important to them. The next most frequently cited reasons were not wanting more children (34 percent) and a woman’s relationship with her husband (33 percent).