imageDan Merica, at CNN, has written a useful summary of a just published report on American Catholics. It begins:

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new survey paints a picture of a less-strict American Catholic community, with 86% of respondents stating they believe a Catholic "can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church."

The report "Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape," was published Monday by the National Catholic Reporter and highlights changes and consistencies of beliefs and attitudes over time:

Even as attendance is down, the survey discovered that "foundational theological beliefs and the sacraments are at the heart of what American Catholics see as core to their Catholic identity."

For example, 73% [of older] and 64% of [younger] respondents respectively said it was very important that Catholics believe in "Jesus’ resurrection from the dead" and that Mary was the mother of God.

According to Professor William D’Antonio of Catholic University, the man who led the study, these numbers have remained consistent.

At the same time, 66% of American Catholics said the Vatican’s teaching authority is either somewhat or not important, a number D’Antonio said is higher than in the past.

For those of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who study the shroud and wonder about its authenticity, we might wonder if what Catholics around the world think of American Catholics has any bearing. And we might wonder about the level of belief in the Resurrection and its attendant doctrines and dogmas. Does it affect shroud studies? Do shroud studies affect belief much?

Full story as it appears on CNN: Survey: U.S. Catholics going to church less frequently – CNN Belief Blog – Blogs. And the story as it appears in National Catholic Reporter.