Newspapers Still in Style for Catholics

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 25, 2011 ( A majority of Catholics still prefer to get their news about the Church from weekly print newspapers, according to a report published recently by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), based at Georgetown University.

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An estimated 14.8 million U.S. adult Catholics regularly read their diocesan newspapers and magazines in print. The results were drawn from a survey of 1,239 self-declared Catholics. According to CARA this is pretty much the same as a previous study from six years ago.

Weekly Mass-goers score much higher, with 55% reading a print news source from their diocese.

Despite the significant changes in media in the past few years CARA said that so far it has had limited impact on how Catholics access their diocesan publications. Only 4% of adult Catholics said they regularly read the diocesan publications online, with only 1% declaring they go online exclusively for their news.

Around 80% said they were satisfied with the local diocesan Church publications. 

The survey also revealed a lack of knowledge about national Catholic media. Given a list of 28 national Catholic newspapers and magazines over half, 56%, said they were not aware of any of them. This is a significant 10 points up compared to six years ago.

Interestingly, the lack of use of the newer forms of media is not restricted to the older age groups. In the so-called Millennial group, those born after 1981, there was a lower reported use of online media to access religious content.

The Millennials were also less likely to access any type of religious material, whether by traditional or newer forms, than the older age groups.

CARA explained this age difference by noting that the use of religious media is related to the frequency of Mass attendance, which is much higher in the older age groups.

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