Australia: Disillusionment With Progressivism

Source: FSSPX News

Is a wind of conservatism blowing from Australia? We might believe so by looking at the surprising results of a survey carried out among Australian Catholic women: among the youngest, a majority declare themselves resistant to progressivism and its various substitutes. It is a trend that would also be observed in other countries in the English-speaking world.

“There is a clear decline towards conservatism which affects young Catholic adults,” deplores Tracy McEwan, theologian and sociologist at the University of Newcastle, in the columns of the Sydney Morning Herald. A step backwards, or a great step forward?

What is certain is that the survey carried out among 1,769 Catholic women, published on September 12, 2023, had the effect of disappointing progressives. Indeed, if a majority of women aged fifty-five and over declare themselves dissatisfied with the place of women in the Church, demanding more “power,” but also the possibility of remarrying religiously after a civil divorce, the tendency is radically reversed among those under 40.

The study – conducted globally by the University of Newcastle (Australia, New South Wales) – highlights that Australian women, in general, are less open to reformism than the average of women surveyed in other countries.

And if 94% of respondents aged over 70 call for a progressive reform of the Church, the proportion drops to 44% for the 18-40 year old category. We find the same trend on social issues: contraception and same-sex unions are rejected by two out of three young women, while people aged 56 and over are largely in favor.

Visibly embarrassed by the results of the survey to which she contributed with her collaborator Tracy McEwan, Kathleen McPhillips intends to put its scope into perspective: “Perhaps the young women already well engaged in the Church responded, while those who feel distant have abstained? Could the migratory factor – with Filipino immigration where people are more conservative – have played a role?”

It must be said that the results of this full-scale survey are enough to annoy the old progressive guard: a majority of young women, who are the future of the Church in Australia, are also opposed to the women in the priesthood and affirm their preference for a “dignified liturgy.” A notable portion of them even responded positively to the question “Should we reintroduce the 1962 Missal into the liturgy as well as the traditional rite?”

The two researchers finally noted that the trend observed among young Australian women is echoed in other countries such as Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, but that it was less obvious in non-English-speaking countries.