U.S. Youth Interested in, but Ignorant of, Religious Life

93% Believe Working with the Poor Is Main Work

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WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 3, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Many young American Catholics are attracted to religious life, even if they don´t know much about it, a new study finds.

Results of the study commissioned by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious were published on the eve of the Day of Consecrated Life, held Saturday.

Vidimus Dominum, a religious communities information service, summarized the results of the research that involved 750 individuals ages 18 to 39.

The study found that 78% of the young people interviewed have a positive idea of religious life, even though they are ignorant of its real aspects. It found:

–57% knew that one must be a Catholic to enter an order or congregation.

–18% thought that a university degree qualified them to enter the consecrated life.

–25% thought that virginity is a requirement to be a priest, nun or religious brother.

–93% thought that working for the poor was the principal area of activity, and 89% thought that religious were primarily concerned with problems of justice.

Knowledge of religious life is better among those who attended Catholic schools, are committed to parish work, or come from a traditionally Catholic family.

Only 15% of young women and 23% of young men said that they have been asked to consider a religious vocation.

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