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Boston Hires Democratic Consultant to Poll the Flock


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/29/15

From The Boston Globe:

The Archdiocese of Boston has hired a top Democratic consultant to poll Catholics in Eastern Massachusetts — most of whom no longer attend weekly Mass — to find out what they think about the church and its leaders. John Marttila, who served as a strategist for Joe Biden, John F. Kerry, and Deval Patrick, has overseen a phone survey this month on behalf of the church, asking active and inactive Catholics a wide-ranging series of 90 questions. They include: How often do you go to Mass? Should women have a larger leadership role in the church? Is your opinion of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable? And: Have you seen the movie “Spotlight?” How well do you think the church has responded to the abuse crisis in recent years? Church spokesman Terrence C. Donilon said the poll is part of a “research study on strategic direction” designed to help the church do a better job serving the estimated 1.8 million baptized Catholics in the archdiocese. Only about 16 percent attend Mass every week, down from 70 percent in 1970, according to church figures. “We want to be good listeners, and we want to be good learners,” Donilon said. “If you are not in conversation with the people, you’re not listening.” …Susan Fournier, who teaches marketing at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, said the Metropolitan Opera decided to simulcast operas in movie theaters outside New York after audience research showed that many fans still loved opera — but not the effort and cost of attending a live production. She said the church’s impulse to solicit the opinions of the faithful seems to align with Pope Francis’s “more human” approach to the papacy. “This is a big signal of the new Catholic brand that is much more approachable, much more transparent, much more willing to listen,” she said. “I think it actually fits with everything that is going on: ‘We care what you think, and we want to listen.’ ”

Read the rest.

Photo: Boston’s Holy Cross Cathedral via Wikimedia Commons

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