The CARA Report
Since 1995, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), at Georgetown University has been publishing The CARA Report, providing our readers with the most important and up-to-date research on American Catholics and the Catholic Church in the United States. The CARA Report was awarded first place for "general excellence" by the Catholic Press Association in 2003, 2005, 2007, and in 2008. Judges for the 2007 awards noted, "It is hard to imagine a Catholic who wouldn't find something of interest in this newsletter. The variety of topics addressed in informative articles and graphics stands out from the field of newsletters in this category... Though reporting on academic research, the stories are clearly written and understandable. Graphics are not fancy, but are used extensively and always add clarity." In 2008, judges commented that the publication has "lots of graphics [to] help explain a variety of research findings on many topics, and overall, it presents itself as a one-stop shop for information on trends in both the church and in larger society."
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Selected Feature Publications
Ministry Formation Directory 2015
The Ministry Formation Directory is a revised and expanded bound and online edition of the indispensable reference for seminary, diaconate, and lay ministry formation programs, vocation offices, career counselors, parishes, and many others. The 2015 Directory contains a detailed analysis of participants in Catholic ministry formation programs – seminarians, deacon candidates, and men and women preparing for lay ecclesial ministry positions. It also contains a complete listing of the more than 550 Catholic ministry formation programs sponsored by the Catholic Church in the United States, organized by type, by state, and by diocese. Each entry includes a listing of current leadership for each program, enrollment data, contact information, and a detailed program description. The Directory also contains a statistical overview of ministry formation enrollments. For more information on the Ministry Formation Directory, including ordering a copy of the full directory, click here. If you have already ordered your online subscription to the Directory, click here to access the login page.
Report: Profession Class of 2014
CARA surveyed religious who professed perpetual vows in 2014, reaching a total of 77 sisters and 41 brothers, a response rate of 62 percent of the 190 potential members of the Profession Class of 2014 identified to CARA by their religious superior. Click here for the full report.
Report: Consideration of Priesthood and Religious Life Among Never-Married U.S. Catholics
This study identifies subgroups in the never-married Catholic population—including teens and adults—and compares those who have considered a vocation at least “a little seriously” to those who say they have not considered this or who say they did so, but not seriously.
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Perspectives from Parish Leaders: U.S. Parish Life and Ministry
In 2009, the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership project, a Lilly Endowment Inc. funded collaboration of five Catholic national ministerial organizations, commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct a series of surveys in parishes nationwide. The first of these was a single informant survey sent to parishes to develop a portrait of parish life in the United States today. This survey was in the field from March 2010 to December 2010 and included a total of 846 parishes. The second survey, the focus of this report, includes responses from 532 parish leaders (i.e., parish staff, finance and pastoral council members, other parish leaders; paid and volunteer; those in pastoral ministry and those with other duties) in 246 of the parishes from the first survey. This survey was in the field from May 2011 to April 2012.
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Additional Emerging Models reports are also available here.
Same Call, Different Men
Change is a common denominator for American priests according to a new volume of research entitled, Same Call, Different Men: The Evolution of the Priesthood since Vatican II. Utilizing five national surveys of U.S. priests conducted since 1970, CARA researchers document the effects of the challenge of priestly ministry with fewer ordinations, the realities of ministering to increasingly large multicultural parishes, and the impact of the sexual abuse issue.
James Martin, SJ reviews Same Call, Different Men: "This fascinating study is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the Catholic priesthood in the United States. Many otherwise intelligent commentators base their conclusions about the lives and experiences of priests on hearsay or anecdote. The great virtue of this sociological study is that it lets American priests speak for themselves."
The study's surveys include the voices of priests who entered the seminaries during the Great Depression to those who were ordained in the 21st century. The research encapsulates an extraordinary period of the life of the Catholic Church from priests who began ministry when clergy were plentiful to a period where many now deal with multiple parish assignments even in retirement. Yet the findings may strike some as unexpected. As Fr. Martin notes, "What they [the priests] say may surprise those who do not know them: they're happy."
The book details demographic changes in the priesthood as well as challenges to and satisfaction with priestly life and ministry. Contemporary issues such as growing diversity in the Church and the fallout of the sexual abuse scandal are also detailed. The research concludes with a look to the future and who is encouraging the next generation of priests. Commentaries on the research are provided by Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, the Executive Director of the Seminary Department at the National Catholic Educational Association, Sr. Katarina Schuth, OSF, Endowed Chair for the Social Scientific Study of religion at St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas, and Dianne M. Traflet, Associate Dean, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University.