Saturday, January 14, 2006

Call to Action's insincerity

The link above goes to a column in the Buffalo (NY) News. Below is a reply I sent as a letter to the editor:

Jim Orgren's column, "The priest shortage and diocesan reorganization," is a bit on the misleading side. He cites a survey done by Call to Action first in Buffalo and then copied in other dioceses around the country to show that a majority of Catholic priests support a discussion on the question of celibacy.

That survey can in no way be considered scientifically valid. The problem is a matter of who answered the survey. It was a voluntary survey and one that did not have a very good sample because of the self-selection of those who responded.

Mr. Orgren knows very well that among Catholic priests there is a range of opinion regarding celibacy, with the majority of priests considering it a settled question. Those who are unhappy with the current state of things were more likely to respond since they know the bishops are not going to be agitating to make changes to the rule. But they did know that CTA would make a fuss about it and they wanted to contribute to that. The vast majority who did not respond also knew that CTA would use it to make a fuss and they did not want to contribute any credibility to an otherwise non-credible organization. Those who responded in the negative held the vain hope that they could try to influence the results.

If any other advocacy group does a survey and gets results that show the majority of people support the way that group thinks, those data are rightly questioned by the press. The same should be done here. CTA does not like the Church the way she is and wants to remake her according to the image of 21st century secularism rather than in the image of Christ's bride. With that in mind, their "surveys" should be viewed by the press and the general public with some rather large grains of salt.

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