Catholic guilt on sexual sins no longer exists, study shows

Catholic guilt has been laid to rest and even most Mass-going Catholics no longer feel guilty about sexual sins, according to research in the United Kingdom.

While a poll of 4437 adults detected no evidence that Catholics feel more guilty about sexual sins than other religious people, it found that religious people in general feel more guilt than the non-religious.

Only 12 per cent of practising Catholics and 9 per cent of nominal Catholics polled said they would feel any guilt about using contraception. By contrast, a quarter of Muslims said they would feel ashamed of using contraception.

A total of 57 per cent of Catholics said they would feel guilty about having extramarital sex, only 1 per cent higher than the general population.

By contrast almost 90 per cent of Baptists and Pentecostals said they would feel guilty about adultery, as did about 70 per cent of Jews and Muslims polled.

Only 19 per cent of Catholics said they would feel guilty about sex before marriage, compared with 50 per cent of Baptists, almost two thirds of Muslims and more than three quarters of Pentecostal Protestants.

Professor Linda Woodhead, professor of the sociology of religion at Lancaster University, who commissioned the study, said it showed a widening gap between the Catholic faithful and the hierarchy on issues of personal morality.

The findings emerge from research into the notion of guilt by academics at the Religion and Society Programme, an academic unit based at Lancaster University.

Woodhead said that while it is known that many Catholics quietly ignore the Church’s teaching on issues such as contraception, it was striking how little “lurking guilt” there was.

“It does show that people have distanced themselves completely from the Catholic Church’s teaching,” she said.

“Most Catholics are taking authority much more from their own reason and intuition than they are from the Catholic Church’s teaching….

“It is particularly concerning for the Church because it has really staked its distinctiveness on sexual morality.”


The Telegraph

The Guardian

Catholic guilt (Wikipedia)

Image: Shafaqna

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , , , ,