Survey of American Catholic Priests, 2001

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Catholic > Summary


This 2001 survey of Catholic priests is a replication of two earlier surveys, the first being the 1970 study carried out by Andrew Greeley and Richard Schoenherr. American Catholic priests were surveyed about satisfaction with their training, their Presbyteral Council, and particularly their priestly ministry. Topics include their views on church authority, the role of the laity, the challenges of the priestly life, public perceptions of the priesthood, and sexuality.

Data File
Cases: 1,279
Variables: 144
Weight Variable: See Sampling Procedure for description of weighting.
Data Collection
Date Collected: April-July 2001
Funded By
"Pulpit and Pew" Project, Duke University Divinity School, with funds from The Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Collection Procedures
This study was a self-administered mail survey conducted between April and July 2001. 1,200 questionnaires were sent to a random sample of diocesan priests; 858 were returned for a 71.5 percent response rate (not counting undeliverable questionnaires). 600 questionnaires were sent to a random sample of religious priests; 421 were returned for a 70.2 percent response rate (these priests included overseas American missionary priests).
Sampling Procedures
This 2001 survey of Catholic priests is a replication of two earlier surveys, and the sampling procedures are based on those studies. In 1970 Andrew Greeley and Richard Schoenherr carried out a survey, in which they drew random samples of priests from a random sample of 85 dioceses and 91 religious institutes (orders or provinces). The institutes were randomly selected, but the dioceses were not. The large dioceses were oversampled for purposes of contextual analysis, then the researchers took similar random samples of all. The 1970 study weighted the data to eliminate effects of the oversample (N=5155, with a response rate of 71.0 percent). In 1993, the first replication was carried out. One-half of the dioceses and institutes studied by Greeley and Schoenherr were randomly selected, ending up with 44 of each. Similar samples were taken of all and the data were weighted to eliminate the oversample of large dioceses. We had N=1186 for a 69.5 percent response rate. In 2001, a secon In analyzing the data for this study, the same weighting formula for diocesan priests devised by Greeley and Schoenherr can be used (religious priests needed no weighting). The data set does not contain the weight variable, but using the SPSS program, it can be generated as follows:

RECODE VARIABLE "DIOCESE" (12,23,25,26,29,31,37=1.0)(1=1.2)(11,17=1.3)(5,45,46,99=1.5)(6,8,9,36=1.6)

(7,21=1.7)(15,35,38=1.8)(20,34=1.9)(2,16,19,27,30=2.0)(4,28,43=2.1)(33,40,44=2.2)
(10,18=2.3)(13,22=2.4)(3=2.5)(39=2.6)(14,41=2.7)(42=2.8)(24=2.9)(32=3.2)
INTO DIOWT.
IF ("DIOCESE" GE 1) FINWT = DIOWT / 1.534 /*diocesan, to keep N unchanged.
IF ("RELINST" GE 1) FINWT = 1 /*religious.
WEIGHT BY FINWT.
Principal Investigators
Main investigator: Dean R. Hoge, Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University, Washington DC Assistant: Jacqueline E. Wenger, Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University, Washington DC
Related Publications
Hoge, Dean R., and Jacqueline E. Wenger. 2003. Evolving Visions of the Priesthood: Changes from Vatican II to the Turn of the New Century. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 221 pp.