Poll Analysis: Priests Satisfied With Their Lives

Times Poll Director

Despite the serious, ongoing problem that the American Roman Catholic Church is confronting with the child sexual abuse scandal, priests today are very satisfied with their lives and are more committed to their vows and to the Church they serve than they ever were, according to a new Los Angeles Times Poll. But, in addition to the scandal, the poll also shows a church in crisis because of a decline in the number of men entering the seminary, giving rise to a priest shortage. Priests are an aging population with fewer men entering the priesthood than retiring. Men entering seminaries today are more theologically conservative than their older brethren and are not as forgiving as older priests are to the Catholic laity who sometimes pick and choose what parts of the religion they will observe -- the selective adherence to Church teachings. In many ways the Roman Catholic Church is out of step with the laity they serve.

In addition to responses to questions in the survey, there were hundreds of additional comments received from priests who say they are very committed to their religion, to the laity they work with. Their greatest joys are giving the Sacraments, offering Mass and devoting themselves to their commitment to God. But they say they are saddened and demoralized by the scandal and by the mostly negative reporting by the media. They believe the media doesn’t completely understand them or the Catholic Church and they also do not understand why the media omits writing about positive and good things that are happening within the Church. They also feel that their brother priests are taking the blame for all that has happened, while the bishops are not bearing any responsibility for their culpability.


According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, there are about 46,000 active and retired priests in the American Catholic Church today, compared to 49,000 priests five years ago and 57,000 priests in 1985. Priests are an aging population (older than they were when the Times Poll conducted its first poll among this group in 1994). In 1994, the average age for a priest was 54 (median age 57), while today’s priests’ average age is 60.9 (with 63 years as the median). And priests have been in their vocation on average 33.5 years compared to 29.7 years in ’94. Only 8% are 40 years of age or less, while a third are over 70 (55% are over 60).

The priests are highly educated -- just 7% have a 4 year degree while 54% have a masters and 38% have a doctorate or more. Almost all of the priests surveyed were raised in the U.S. (89%).

More than two thirds (68%) of the priests in our sample are diocesan priests and 32% are in a religious order. In the Times’ survey, 54% of the priests describe themselves as active diocesan priests, 14% as retired diocesan priests, 28% as active religious (synonymous with religious order) and 4% say they are religious retired. (A U.S. priest census found in a 1999 CARA study -- The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate -- Georgetown, University, Washington DC -- for the USCCB Committee for Priestly Life and Monthly, shows that 48% of priests are diocesan active, 15% are diocesan retired, 31% are religious active and 6% are religious retired.)

Regionally, 38% of the priests work in the Northeast, 30% are in the Midwest, 17% work in the South and 15% are on the West Coast (almost identical percentages to the CARA USCCB study mentioned above).

Thirty percent described themselves as liberal on matters having to do with religious beliefs and moral doctrines, 37% are self-described moderates and 28% consider themselves religious conservatives. Their political beliefs are very similar to their beliefs on religion. On political matters, 34% of priests are self-described liberals, while 35% considered themselves moderates and 28% say they are politically conservative.

In looking at the data, differences are sometimes dramatic between priests with differing religious ideologies (liberal, moderate and conservative) and by generational profiles. For this analysis, the generations the Poll uses are Pre-Vatican II, Vatican II and Post-Vatican II. The definition of these groups was taken from a CARA 2002 study. The Post-Vatican II priests are 41 years of age or less and they came of age after the Second Vatican Council. They tend to place greater values on issues of identity and belonging. Vatican II generation priests are between 42 and 59 years of age and they tend to place greater value on change and questioning institutions and structures than other generations. Pre-Vatican II priests are 60 years of age or older and they think institutional loyalty is a key value.

A third of priests who are in the Pre-Vatican II generation consider themselves religiously liberal, 36% religiously moderate and 27% religiously conservative or orthodox. (Religiously conservative is synonymous with religiously orthodox. The terms liberal, moderate and conservative religious will be used for this analysis.)

The religious ideology among priests in the Vatican II generation is very similar to the Pre-Vatican II priests (31% liberal religious, 41% moderate religious and 26% conservative religious). The biggest difference is between the Post-Vatican II generation and their older counterparts. Just 21% say they are liberal in their religious beliefs, 36% are moderate in their religious thinking, but 39% consider themselves conservative religious. (Other studies by Catholic researchers have shown that the younger men entering the seminary are more conservative than their older counterparts.) Almost nine in 10 priests who are in The Vatican II generation believe that the younger priests in America are more theologically conservative than older priests.

Attitudes about life as a priest

Priests today are more satisfied with their lives than they were eight years ago when the question was posed to them by the Times Poll. Seven in 10 priests are “very” satisfied with their life, while another 21% are “somewhat” satisfied (for a combined 91% satisfied with being a priest). This is a sharp rise in satisfaction since the question was asked of priests in 1994. Eight years ago, 56% of priests were “very” satisfied and 30% were “somewhat” satisfied (for a combined 86% satisfaction). More priests in the current survey are saying their life turned out better than expected than they opined in the 1994 survey. Three out of five priests say that their life turned out better than expected while nearly three in 10 feel their life turned out as they expected it would. Just 7% say it turned out worse. In 1994, slightly more than half of the priests surveyed said their life was better, 10% worse and 34% as expected. There are varying views among priests who think of themselves as religious liberal vs. religious conservative. Nearly three out of five (58%) religious liberal priests are “very” satisfied with their life as a priest, compared to 78% of conservative religious It appears throughout the survey that liberal priests are more ambivalent about the Church and some of its teachings. And there is some dogma in the Church they would like revisited.

Virtually all priests say they would not leave the priesthood if they had the chance to choose again (71% definitely, 19% probably), while 7% say if they had to do it over again, the priesthood would not be their choice. Among religious liberal priests, 55% would definitely choose their vocation again, compared to 74% of religious moderate and 84% of conservative religious. Eight years ago in the same ‘94 Times poll, 70% of all priests said they definitely would enter the priesthood again and 18% said they probably would, while just one in 10 said they would not enter the priesthood if they had to choose again. (In the ’94 poll, 77% of religious liberal said they would choose priesthood again.) Along with their joy of being a priest, it is not surprising then, that an overwhelmingly large number of priests, 91%, say it is unlikely (including 85% very likely and 7% somewhat unlikely) that they will leave the priesthood in the next few years (even 89% of religious liberal say it is unlikely they will leave, including 78% who say “very” unlikely). In the ’94 Times poll, 53% of liberal religious said they would definitely choose priesthood again and 74% of this same group say it would be very unlikely that they would leave the priesthood.

It is evident in this survey that priests are totally committed to the Church and to the faith they serve. But despite the negative publicity swirling around the Church and the pressure they are under because of the sex scandal, almost nine out of 10 priests would still advise young men who come to them for advice to enter the seminary and to be ordained as a priest. Of the 8% of all priests who would not recommend this vocation for young men, celibacy is one of the main reasons why (20%), followed by problems with bishops and hierarchy of the church (18%) and the dysfunction of the structure of the church (16%).

The greatest joys priests receive in their life and work as a priest are helping others (37%), giving the Sacrament (31%), offering Mass (21%), preaching (21%), helping laity find spirituality/God/restoring faith (19%) and sharing the lives of others (16%).

Still, the greatest challenges they face are burnout/excessive demands (15%), secularism, materialism and the individualism of laity (12%) and effective ministry, helping others (10%).

Pope John Paul II

Most priests think Pope John Paul II will go down in history as either an outstanding pope (64%) or an above average pope (23%). Just 7% think his legacy will be remembered as just about average, while 1% think it will be below average and 2% think history will remember Pope John Paul II poorly. Four out of five Post Vatican II priests think the pope will be remembered as outstanding, while 16% think his papacy will be thought of as above average. This groups rates him much higher than the Vatican II priests or the Pre-Vatican II generation. Three out of five of the Vatican II priests think his legacy will be remembered as outstanding and 29% believe it will be considered above average. Nearly two-thirds of the Pre-Vatican II priests believe the Pope and his papacy will be considered outstanding, while 21% think it will be above average. Roughly three-quarters of the liberal religious priests think Pope John Paul II will be remembered in history as either an outstanding (38%) or above average pope (37%), compared to 84% of conservative religious who rank the pope as outstanding and 11% as above average.

John Paul II’s views on moral issues are just about right for more than three out of five priests, while a third think him too conservative. (In a CBS/NY Times May 2002 poll, 57% of Catholics say Pope John Paul II is more conservative than they are.) Again, Post-Vatican II priests think somewhat differently than their older cohorts. Three-quarters of them think the pope’s views on moral issues are just about right and 23% think his views are too conservative. At least a third each of the other two generational groups say the pope’s views are too conservative and roughly three out of five believe they are just about right. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of the liberal religious priests think the pope’s views are just too conservative for them, while 88% of conservative religious priests think they are just about right.

John Paul II will mostly be remembered as the most widely traveled pope (40%), helping to bring down communism (30%), the intellectual revolution in the church (19%), the way he relates to all people (16%), his leadership, both morally and spiritually (15%), his devotion to the youth around the world (14%) and his holiness and commitment to God (14%).

The priests want the future pope to continue many of John Paul II’s accomplishments. Some of them are travel -- visits to all laity around the world (24%), his holiness, orthodoxy and commitment to God (18%), the way he relates to all people (15%), his concern for the poor-social and economic injustice (15%) and Ecumenicism (14%). Some issues that are not associated with the current pope, but priests would like his successor to pursue is to allow priests to marry (15%), decentralize church hierarchy (15%), ordain women as priests (12%), be open to discussion and dialogue (12%) and provide stricter guidelines for elections of bishops (8%). (For this question there was a large share of priests, 25%, who did not answer this question.)

Catholic Church in America

More priests rate things in the church today as good (55%), while just 3% say things are excellent. A third say things are not so good and 5% say they are poor. This result is not much different than when the Times Poll asked the question in the 1994 poll. In that poll, 4% rated the American Catholic Church as excellent, 50% good, 36% not so good and 7% poor. Priests living in the Northeast region are not as sanguine about the Church as priests living in the rest of the country.

Northeast South Midwest West

Excellent/good 54% 60% 64% 58%Not so good/poor 41 34 33 38

Priests in the Vatican II generation are also giving the Church a lower rating than the other two generational groups:


Excellent/good 69% 56% 58%Not so good/poor 30 42 36

Issues that the American Roman Catholic Church are facing have a direct bearing on the well-being of the Church. They are: shortage of priests which includes aging clergy (25%), problems with bishops and the Church’s hierarchy (20%), child abuse by clergy (18%) and restoring credibility to priests (13%). (Roughly 7 in 10 priests believe that the sex abuse scandal is the biggest crisis for the Church in the last century.)

Along with those issues, priests are somewhat divided in their feeling about whether the Catholic Church in America is getting better (35%), worse (27%) or staying about the same (33%). Younger priests (less than 50 years of age) think the church is getting better (41%) as do priests who are in the Post Vatican II generation (48%) and conservative religious (42%). Two out of five liberal religious priests say the church is getting worse.

Yet, even with priests uncertain as to whether the church is getting better, they still have a lot of confidence in the American Church today. A preponderance of priests have a great deal (53%) or some (33%) confidence in the church. This opinion is expressed by priests across all generational lines, years as a priest and religious ideologies. The Church has withstood many crises in its 2,000 years and will eventually see itself clear of the sex abuse scandal. Although most priests have confidence in the Church, priests still believe that some reform does need to take place. Only 15% answered that the church doesn’t need to be reformed. (Seven percent of the priests refused to answer this question.) But among those who say there should be reform, 43% think it should be done quickly, while virtually the same share, 45%, say it should proceed slowly. Among self-described liberal religious priests, 53% want church reform to move ahead quickly (38% slowly), while surprisingly, conservative religious priests are divided (41% quickly, 47% slowly). Among those who want reform, they mention an increase in laity involvement or an effort to empower the laity (19%) as one way. Some other ways are to democratize the Church or decentralize the Church (19%), do away with celibacy, allow priests to marry (14%) and allow ordination of women priests (9%). (In March 2002 ABC News/Washington Post Poll, 54% of Catholics think the Church should do more to involve the laity in deciding church policies and practices.

Interestingly, many priests (58%) believe that Catholics do not have to follow all of the Church’s teachings to be faithful to the church, while more than a third believe the opposite. This sizeable number of priests who say the laity doesn’t have to follow all of the teachings may be a reflection of the laity they serve. Many American Catholics use a form of “cafeteria Catholicism” that fits their lifestyle. Pope John Paul II has criticized American Catholics for this form of faith. However, looking at poll data, Catholics are moderate in their beliefs about abortion, birth control and artificial insemination. Most liberal religious and many moderate religious priests believe the laity may disagree on some issues and still be considered faithful (91% and 59% respectively), while most conservative religious priests (64%) believe the laity have to follow all of the teachings. The younger priests (those in the Post Vatican II generation) are divided whether all of the Church’s teachings must be adhered to in order to be faithful to the Church. But, on the other hand, most priests believe that the sole path to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. Nearly half agree “strongly” with that statement and 23% “somewhat” agree with it (for a combined 68% who agree); 26% disagree with that statement. Liberal religious priests are divided -- 51% agree that the sole path to salvation is through Jesus Christ, while 46% disagree with that statement.

Laity and their problems

Priests were asked what the greatest problems the laity faced as practicing Catholics and their top responses are lack of faith or lack of knowledge about faith (14%), resolving conflict between religious principles and secular world (12%), materialism and secularism (12%), apathy, indifference or disillusionment with religion (10%) and overall inadequate religious education (10%). Priests believe that the laity they come in contact with are devoid of spiritual awareness and need their spiritual guidance more so than guidance on moral issues. Also, more than four out of five priests believe that families in this country are threatened more today either by a moral climate that hurts community standards and strong family units or by both a moral and economic climate in the country. (Hardly any priest thinks it is solely just an economic climate that makes finding jobs and affordable health care difficult.)

Priests believe that lack of understanding about the church (15%) is one of the main reasons why the laity is leaving the Church. They also think lack of commitment on their part (10%), doctrinal disagreement or resistance to church and moral teachings (9%), and secularism (9%) are other reasons for their departure.

What is considered a sin

The Poll asked the priests a litany of what they consider a sin or not based on issues that are either in the news today or on the minds of most people to gauge whether priests have become more like the laity they serve. Most of the issues from abortion to cloning to stem cell research and masturbation are considered by most priests as sins.

Current Poll

Always Often Seldom Never


For unmarried peopleto have sexual relations 53% 32 7 2

For a woman to getan abortion 71% 19 3 1

For married couplesTo use artificialmethods of birthControl 28% 25 32 8

To use cloning formedical research 45% 18 16 8

To use stem cellsof fetuses for medicalresearch 57% 17 10 6

To use condoms asa protection against AIDS 32% 17 18 25

To engage inhomosexual behavior 49% 25 15 4

To take one’s ownlife if suffering fromdebilitating disease 59% 18 13 4

To masturbate 30% 21 28 14

1994 Poll

Always Often Seldom Never


For unmarried peopleto have sexual relations 51% 33 9 1

For a woman to getan abortion 66% 25 3 1

For married couplesTo use artificialmethods of birthControl 26% 23 34 10

To use cloning formedical research No data available

To use stem cellsof fetuses for medicalresearch No data available

To use condoms asa protection against AIDS 33% 13 13 28

To engage inhomosexual behavior 53% 20 13 5

To take one’s ownlife if suffering fromdebilitating disease 65% 16 7 5

To masturbate 28% 18 32 15

Overall, 16% of priests categorize all of these nine sins as “always” a sin, while no priest believes that any of these are not a sin.

Abortion is a very controversial issue and one that the Church is out of step with the Catholic laity. In a LA Times June 2000 poll, 46% of Catholics say that abortion should be legal, 45% say it should be illegal except for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Also 45% of Catholics favor the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade, 42% oppose. In this current priests survey, at least two-thirds of priests from most demographic groups believe abortion should always be considered a sin, except for priests who describe themselves as liberal religious -- half of them believe it is always a sin, while 35% say it is often a sin.

Other issues

Another controversial topic is the notion of allowing women to be ordained as deacons and priests. More priests would be open to ordaining women as deacons (57%) than they would to ordaining women as priests. However, priests are divided over the idea of women priests -- 46% favor the idea, while 51% oppose it. They are more likely to oppose women confirmed as bishops (40% favor, 57% oppose). Nearly two thirds of Post-Vatican II priests are opposed to women serving as deacons and almost seven in 10 oppose them becoming priests. On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of priests who belong to the Vatican II generation favor women as deacons and 51% favor women ordained as priests. Pre-Vatican II priests don’t mind women ordained as deacons (57%), but are divided in their opinions about allowing them to be ordained as priests (47% to 49%). Again, not surprising, liberal and conservative religious priests are on opposite sides of these issues. 87% of the more liberal priests favor women deacons and 81% favor women priests. For conservatives, it is 68% who oppose women deacons and 82% who oppose women priests. However, most subgroups of priests oppose the ordination of women as bishops. Some exception to this opposition are liberal religious and priests who have been priests between 31-40 years.

Perhaps they are not adamantly opposed to the idea of women in the church because two-thirds of priests say that the most compelling reason to ordain women as priests is to enhance the life and ministry of the church. (In the same May 2001 CBS/NY Times poll, 63% of Catholics favor women becoming priests.)

However, a full 69% of priest favor the ordination of married diocesan priests (up a significant 10 points when asked the priests this question in ’94). Priests are somewhat optimistic that this might happen in the future. 38% say this event might happen in less than 20 years, while almost the same share of priests, 35%, think it will happen in 20 years or more. Just 17% of priests believe it will never happen. (30% of Post-Vatican II priests say it will never happen.) The most compelling reason to let priests marry is to reduce the shortage of priests (36%), followed by make the priesthood more representative of the laity (31%) and to help the priest understand married and family life better (15%). (As an aside: no priest mentioned that it would reduce instances of sexual abuse of minors.) (In the CBS/NY Times poll, 71% of Catholics agree that priests should be allowed to marry.)

The shortage of priests is a very serious problem for the American Catholic Church and more than a third of priests think because of this problem, the church has lowered its standards in admitting men into the seminaries. Two in five think the standards are about the same as they were, while a fifth believe the standards are higher.

Not surprising, 73% of the priests surveyed, think the media has been negative in its treatment of the Catholic Church. All demographic groups believe this.

How the Poll Was Conducted


This survey is the 471st in a series of Los Angeles Times opinion studies designed to measure public attitudes on a number of critical issues. It is the second Los Angeles Times survey of Roman Catholic priests in the United States. The study takes a look at the attitudes of priests in the Roman Catholic Church in America today, in a period when the Church is undergoing public and private scrutiny. Although Catholic-affiliated surveys of the attitudes of priests have been done recently, no independent survey of this population has been taken since the Times Poll surveyed priests and nuns over a period of months in 1993 and 1994 (LAT surveys 321 and 323).

For this survey, 1,854 active and retired priests in 80 dioceses across the U.S and in Puerto Rico returned mail-ballot questionnaires over the period June 27-Oct. 11. Diocesan and religious priests were included in the sample. Spanish language questionnaires were provided for priests in Puerto Rico.

Sample Design and Coverage

The Times Poll selected 5,000 priests from a total population of 45,382 in the United States and Puerto Rico using a two-stage procedure. First, the Official Catholic Directory (OFCD), published by P.J. Kennedy & Sons, was used to compile a complete list of all the dioceses in the country as well as the total priest population in each diocese. The list was pre-stratified by regional geography. Eighty dioceses were randomly selected, proportional to priest population in each region.

For the second-stage sample selection, Times Poll researchers obtained directories for each of the sample dioceses wherever possible. When such directories were either unavailable or actively withheld, the OFCD was substituted as a source. In this way, a sample of 5,000 active and retired priests was drawn in proportion to priest population in each diocesan area.

At this point, two Tribune newspapers -- the Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. -- expressed an interest in oversampling dioceses in their areas for national comparison. In order to provide enough data for separate analysis of the three southern Pa. dioceses of interest to the Morning Call (Scranton, Allentown and Philadelphia, of which only Scranton and Philadelphia were in the first-stage sample pick) and the two dioceses of interest to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Miami and Palm Beach, neither of which was in the original first-stage sample pick), every priest in those five dioceses was contacted. Note that the data set under analysis here includes only the Times Poll’s original selected priests in the Scranton and Philadelphia dioceses.(fn1)

The survey questionnaires were first mailed on June 27. This was after the Bishop’s conference. Seven thousand two hundred and twenty-two questionnaires, cover letters and pre-paid return envelopes were sent. A second mailing of the same packet was sent to 5,878 non-responding priests on July 25. A reminder postcard was mailed to 5,707 non-responding priests on Aug. 5, and a final third set of 4,924 questionnaire packets was mailed to continuing non-responders on Sept. 4.(fn2) The end date of the survey was Oct. 11, making it a 16-week field period. In creating its design, the Times Poll followed the general guidelines for mail surveys found in Dillman’s Mail and Internet Surveys.(fn3)

Research and field work for the 78 dioceses outside southern Pa. were completed by Los Angeles Times field staff(fn4) under the supervision of Times Poll Field Director Roger Richardson and Times Poll Director Susan Pinkus. Data collection in the dioceses of Philadelphia and Scranton, Pa., was overseen for the Morning Call newspaper by Chris Borick, assistant professor of political science at Muhlenberg College.

Return Rates and Margins of Error

By the standard calculation for true random sample of a population of this size, one can say with 95% certainty that the margin of error for this sample is +/-3 percentage points. All population surveys, including this one, are subject to errors of many kinds. Bias may be introduced through coverage errors, survey non-response, question wording issues and other types of human error. Every attempt was made to reduce all of these through preliminary research and follow-ups on non-responders. Four attempts were made to convince priests to return their questionnaires.

Using a response-rate calculation that removes deceased, unqualified and reassigned priests from the sample, resulting in a total sample size of 4,965, the survey has a type A response rate of 37%. Additional removal of unavailable priests results in a sample size of 4,887 and a type B response rate of 38%. Type A response rates ranged from 30% among dioceses in the South to 44% in the Midwest.

Response rate on this survey may have been affected by a variety of issues. First, the Roman Catholic priest population has been subject to intense media scrutiny over the last few months. Many non-responding priests indicated that their refusal to cooperate was due to a concern that their answers would be sensationalized by the press. There were various negative publications about this survey in the Catholic community. Despite the negative publicity, response rates were acceptable in all dioceses and outstanding in some.

In addition to response rate issues, undetected flaws in the way the sampling and interviewing procedure were carried out could have a significant effect on findings. Changing the wording of questions and the sequence in which they are asked can produce different results. Sometimes questions are inadvertently biased or misleading and people who respond to surveys may not necessarily replicate the views of those who refuse to participate. Moreover, while every precaution has been taken to make these findings completely accurate, other errors may have resulted from the various practical difficulties associated with taking any survey of public opinion.

Some of the best data available for comparison on this survey are surveys of priest populations conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). Comparing numbers of active and retired priests nationwide(fn5) to those in our survey, one can see that this survey slightly overrepresents active diocesan priests and underrepresents religious priests.

All US(fn5) LA Times

Priests Priests Poll 2002

Diocesan, Active 48% 54%Diocesan, Retired 15 14Religious, Active 31 28Religious, Retired 6 4

Comparing sample population to the figures taken from the Official Catholic Directory, the sample slightly underrepresents priests in the East and Midwest and overrepresents those in the South. The sample figures have been adjusted slightly to account for this difference.


All US LA Times

Priests* Priests Poll 2002

East 38% 36%Midwest 17 13South 30 35West 15 16

* Figures calculated from population totals in Official Catholic Directory 2001.

The Los Angeles Times Poll is directed by Susan Pinkus under the general supervision of Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Dean Baquet. Jill Darling Richardson is Associate Director, Roger Richardson is Field Director, Claudia Vaughn is Data Management Supervisor, and Ray Enslow is Publications Coordinator.

Further information regarding this study is available by writing to the Los Angeles Times Poll, 202 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, California 90012-4105, by calling (213) 237-2027 or by e-mailing

This report conforms to the standards of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls and the American Association for Public Opinion Research.


1. Only the dioceses originally selected in the first stage and priests originally selected in the second stage of the sampling process are included in this data set. No interviews conducted in the dioceses of Allentown, Miami or Palm Beach have been included and the interviews with non-sampled priests are excluded as well.

2. Fifty-five percent of the total completed and refused questionnaires had been returned by the date of the second mailing, 68% by the date of the reminder postcard mailing, and 88% by the date of the third and final mailing.

3. Mail and Internet Surveys, The Tailored Design Method, by Dillman, Don A., John Wiley & Sons, 2000 (2nd ed.)

4. The Times Poll would like to acknowledge supervisor Art Dodd and editors Walter Boxer, Debra Birgen and Cynthia Kirk for their diligence and hard work on this survey.

5. National study of priests conducted by CARA in 1999 for the Committee for Priestly Life and Ministry of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.