Survey Says Catholics Don’t Trust Their Bishops – From Complicit Clergy

Complicit Clergy recently invited people to respond to a simple survey asking two questions:

  1. How much do you trust your bishop?
  2. What is your personal opinion of your bishop’s orthodoxy (consistency with the teachings of the Catholic Church)?

On the question of trust, people could respond with one of the following options (each response assigned a point value):

  • Completely Distrust (0 points)
  • Mostly Distrust (1 point)
  • Tend to Distrust (2 points)
  • Tend to Trust (3 points)
  • Mostly Trust (4 points)
  • Completely Trust (5 points)

On the question of orthodoxy, individuals were likewise invited to rate their opinion of their orthodoxy (each response assigned a point value):

  • Completely Unorthodox (0 points)
  • Mostly Unorthodox (1 point)
  • Somewhat Unorthodox (2 points)
  • Somewhat Orthodox (3 points)
  • Mostly Orthodox (4 points)
  • Completely Orthodox (5 points)

A composite score was then calculated by summing the trust and orthodoxy scores (the possible composite score thus ranging from 0 to 10). Individuals were also invited to optionally provide comments related to their ratings.

TAKE ACTION: Send Survey Results to Your Bishop

Overall Results

A total of 5,782 survey responses were received for 180 bishops (13 bishops had no responses). Responses were limited to one survey per IP address to eliminate the possibility of multiple submissions.

Overall, the bishops scored a 1.97 in terms of trust and 2.50 in terms of orthodoxy.

nearly 65% of respondents do not trust their bishop (score of 2 or lower in the Trust and Orthodoxy Distribution Charts below). A total of 46% of respondents believe their bishops hold unorthodox views (score of 2 or lower).

It is also noteworthy that the higher a bishop rises in the hierarchy, the lower their scores (see Results by Title Chart below).

The Best and the Worst

The best and worst ratings of bishops with at least 20 survey responses is summarized in the illustration below.

Data Visualization

We employed a data visualization tool in order to gain additional insights into the survey data. The results are presented in the exhibit below. You can view individual detailed charts by selecting a tab at the top of the exhibit (click here to view results on tool site.)

Results by Bishop

Surveys were received for 180 bishops (13 bishops did not receive any surveys*).

Survey results by bishop are provided in the table below. The best possible for trust and orthodoxy is 5. The best possible composite score is 10.