Pastorate Survey: A Closer Look

Pastorate Survey: A Closer Look

Readers may recall being asked to complete surveys as a part of UiH.

Over time, we received some feedback from our readers with respect to these, and as the information gathered from these surveys is compiled, developed into action plans and implemented by the leadership teams of the pastorates, it may be helpful to take a second look.

The survey effort was led by by Our Sunday Visitor, a consultant of which group is guiding the pastorate leadership teams through the process.

It’s not clear how much the diocese is paying OSV for these services, but one thing immediately noticeable was some interesting question formatting on the part of the survey’s authors. Reportedly, this issue was also present throughout the initial inventories and surveys which parish “Transition Teams” completed last year.

For example, some questions were formatted in a “double-barreled” fashion, so that the respondent was effectively asked more than one question but could only respond to one.

Readers might note that most online survey & research firms specifically advise against this practice because it pollutes the data, skews results or even allows for answers to be manipulated in a way the respondent did not intend.

SurveyMonkey, like most firms in this space, identifies such a question as a “trick question,” a “survey mistake” and a “fallacy”:

The double-barreled question, also known as a double-direct question, is basically a trick question. (Or, if you’re feeling fancy, an informal fallacy.) It’s when respondents are asked for feedback on two different issues or topics within one question. Since they can only respond with a single answer, the results will end up skewed—never a good thing when it comes to survey data. 

It is interesting to see where such “double-barreled” approaches were used in the pastorate surveys. Spot a couple below:

So a person who appreciated a booklet during some liturgies, an assistive hearing aid system or well-functioning microphone at the ambo might find his affirmative answer being used in support of electronic screens or the like.

Certainly the surveys posed useful questions as well, but we should remain aware that surveys are not just a raw information-gathering tool but a way of shaping a conversation around the specific questions asked and sometimes of obtaining justification for outcomes or strategies desired by the framers or interpreters.

Most of those who participated in answering this survey are not likely to be privy to the complete results, but will be impacted by decisions based upon those results. Perhaps it would be well to ask some questions yourselves and to stay involved and informed as the process plays out.

Revisit the survey questions below & let us know in the comments:

Did you take your pastorate survey?

Were there areas of concern or confusion to you?

What was the most important response you gave?


33 Replies to “Pastorate Survey: A Closer Look”

  1. I took a survey but it did not look anything like the one presented here. I’m ok with surveys as long as the results are listened to and published. Our parish was forced to create a new position and hire a managing director the pastor and finance council did not want or need. Our costs and budget have skyrocketed. I thought with the new United in Heart the local councils would make such decisions but instead the Bishop’s office took control and pushed things through.

    1. The surveys are nothing but insulting smokescreens. They give the illusion of being involved when the fix is already in. Remember, “Uniting in Heart” is a pre-packaged, decline-management program being implemented under many different names across the country by bishops who typically have given up on the idea of growing and instead are focused on consolidating and centralizing “resources”. Don’t believe me? Here is a sample of other dioceses doing the exact same thing. They all have silly names, silly prayers, silly surveys, overpaid consultants, overuse of the word “pastoral” and the same objective: Manage the decline.

      RedWolf already covered Chicago’s “Renew My Church”

      Don’t like that? Head to Indy and get “Connected in the Spirit”

      Not catchy enough? How about Cincinnati’s “Beacons of Light” (comes with animated logo)

      In Detroit, you can “Unleash the Gospel” with your “Families of Parishes”

      Kalamazoo seems to have given up on catchy names and just went with “Pastoral Plan”

    1. The pope and his handlers clearly don’t want unity. Apart from wanting to be liked by the world while enjoying a life of relative ease with no earthly consequences, I’m not really sure what they want. But what they are delivering is chaos. This is what happens when you purport to believe in the faith of the church you’re leading, but actually don’t believe. The pope’s recent decree attacking the faithful adherents of the mass of the ages, with his usual straw-man arguments, is just further evidence of what frightens most duplicitous people like him: Being exposed. Faithful clergy and laity, by their mere existence, are the most powerful earthly source of anxiety and fear to the unfaithful. They are a constant visible reminder of what’s missing in an unfaithful and wayward soul: Truth. And so, the unfaithful soul has a choice: Reconciliation or Retaliation. Francis has chosen the later, sadly. And while the pain his decision will cause in the Body of Christ here on earth will be severe, it will have no comparison to the endless and ever increasing pains the unrepentant souls of faithless clergy will endure in the Inferno. Pray for the Holy Father. Pray for Pope Francis. Pray for the bishops who will persecute faithful clergy and laity by mercilessly enforcing Francis’ decree as some have already begun doing. Even now, there is still time for reconciliation with the Father, even if every human soul has given up on you.

      – Matthew 16:26

  2. Sure, I took the survey. Not that anyone’s responses will do any good whatsoever. The experience was kind of like when you check out of a lousy hotel: the manager is nowhere to be found; the staff are hiding in a breakroom; and as you leave your key at the desk there is a stack of survey pamphlets with a sign next to them that reads “How Are We Doing?” Then, as you peruse the corporate-speak questions with their biased multiple-choice answers, you realize there is nowhere to simply write “Your hotel was terrible and I wish I had slept in my car.” And so, you scrawl your opinion on the back of the pamphlet and slap it on the desk as you turn to leave, only to have a breeze blow your survey into a trash can just behind the desk as you exit.

    The tone-deaf, uncaring nature of surveys like these is sadly too typical in the Church these days. It is simply a case of surveys replacing shepherding. That our diocesan leadership has employed these worthless tools simply exposes the utter contempt they have for the laity. Remember, these are the same people that closed churches and denied souls the sacraments, on Caesar’s orders, over a virus with a 99% recovery rate.

    As hard as it is to accept, the faithful must realize that a large portion of those in operational control of the Church really don’t care where your soul spends eternity. Pray for them. Pray for their conversions. For when they close their unrepentant eyes for the last time, and all their plans and schemes fade away, a true horror awaits them when they hear: “…for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.”

    Come, Lord Jesus.

        1. Yes, those latest pastor comments seem to be just echoing the bishop’s 5/24/20 entry in The Catholic Moment (link below). It almost seems like someone is jockeying for a promotion in the diocese? That said, to also say that we are on the “backend of the pandemic” seems rather myopic to current world events–not to mention the bigger picture of what is likely in play on a global scale (i.e., lockdown and worse likely inbound). He does give a noteworthy suggestion at the end regarding questioning the media (as well as what persons in position of authority are telling us currently). To that end, it will be interesting to see if he along with the bishop and other pastors of this diocese begin to discriminate against the members of their flock that chose not to consent to receiving any of the COVID vaccines after due diligence in processing the facts
          (not necessarily the popular message) concerning them.

      1. I’m really REALLY sad to see this from Fr. Doerr. Maybe priests do not realize,
        because they live with other priests, the type of darkness that can come on you
        when you cannot have confession and Eucharist for a long time. Why would he stir
        the pot in this hurtful way? We did have the sacraments withheld.
        These are just word games.

      2. This is just another in a long line of insulting remarks by out-of-touch clergy trying to defend the indefensible. Rather than ripping the scab off the laity once again by trying to justify themselves, they really should just do themselves (and us) a favor and drop it. It would show more love to say nothing. Remarks like these are nothing but a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If these enablers aren’t going to man-up, apologize, and take responsibility for contributing to the collapse of the faith, then we laity just don’t want to hear it. We’ll continue to frequent the sacraments where we can (while Caesar lets us), ignore worthless counsel, and pray the Lord sends us shepherds who aren’t afraid of wolves.

      3. I read Fr. Doerr’s message. I respect him and while I understand the fear of the virus his remarks do little to convince me that the churches should have been closed. My family was considered essential and was out there all during the pandemic not being allowed to shut themselves away or be isolated. Are not priests and the church essential too? I do not know in the other ages how the church were closed but I hope it wasn’t as cold as a note that said closed until further order of the bishop. No words of inspiration or encouragement, nothing just closed. Doesn’t seem very charitable. If I am wrong, God forgive me but I do know that the churches closing did nothing to encourage fallen away Catholics. I know this as a fact from the one in my family that had to keep going during the pandemic while our churches shut their doors.

  3. Our survey was given online through a parish email. I filled out most of it and skipped the questions that were confusing/tricky/ pointless. In other words, I skipped a lot of questions. A survey is usually pointless. A waste of everyone’s time and money. It gives people the feeling that they have a say in matters that have been already decided by those at the top. Lots of people at the parish level will work hard to make sense of the answers, but they might be working in vain. This has been done time and time again at the parish level. In the end, nothing will change. The only winners are the companies that run these things. It’s really about the time spent in giving the people the sacraments that has any point. Having talked to good, faithful people in the smaller parishes in this diocese just this week, I know that this is where there real answers are. Provide these people the sacraments. That’s the job of the priests, not these endless meetings and reorganizations. I bet Jesus would say the same thing. And look at our vocation poster. Look at South Bend’s, which I saw this week. Our diocese is failing. That is because of the top, not because of the people in the parishes. Let’s have a survey about that.

    1. In the South Bend- Fort Wayne Diocese, every Parish prays a beautiful prayer for Vocations at every Mass every day. It’s no wonder their poster is filled with young men called to serve as priests. Our Diocese prays a prayer for the success of a secular plan, Uniting in Heart.

      1. This should give people hope that the Church is allowed to thrive just beyond our diocesan borders. Go to mass there from time-to-time to lift your spirits (and be sure to tithe to them). This is what happens when you have a diocesan leadership that cares for the salvation of souls, or at least has the humility to get out of the way of good priests so they are free to save souls.

        Meanwhile, here behind the iron curtain in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, we laity are left to “pray” for the success of endless fundraising campaigns, constantly provide moral support to our good priests who are ignored and mistreated by their leadership, encourage our young people to explore vocations “somewhere else”, and genuinely pray for some sort of divine intervention while we send our tithe to more worthy places in the Universal Church.

        “Uniting in Heart” couldn’t have a more insulting and ironic title. Could we have a more divisive, heartless leadership? I hope they enjoy the good-times of burning through cash while they last, because they won’t last for long. And there will truly be hell to pay later.

        1. I refuse to pray the “God, make these people give the bishop more piles of money” prayer. When that intention is added in to the prayers of the faithful I won’t pray that petition either. Just totally shameless self-promoting money grubbing in the Mass every. single. week. That’s gross to me. What I’m praying for from now on when these prayers are read is accountability.

    2. I hear now that some more calls and surveys will be done as the Bishop prepares for a big fundraising effort above and beyond the Catholic Ministries Appeal. It is to help fund the United in Heart projects and program and the Saint Joe center. With all the money being paid for OSV and others more cash is needed to fund all these changes.

  4. I did fill out the survey. I found the questions and response options to be ambiguous, but I provided comments to fill it what seemed to be missing. It does not seem likely that anything of much consequence can be derived from the results. I was a part of the Transition Team for SMG. The surveys were much more elaborate, but–as with all surveys–lacked opportunities for communicating anything of depth. The team members, however, were open, honest, and direct with the open ended summaries and during the face-to-face discussion when we met Fr. Dudzinski. I would love to see some elaboration on concerns re: UiH. What exactly is the ultimate goal?

  5. I can see from question 1 that I did not take the survey. I don’t remember taking any survey from the church since COVID 19.

  6. I never saw one of these. Thanks very much for digging into them and exposing their potential nefarious purpose.

    1. We did not get this survey–maybe because our parish would skew results: no one understands, wants or is supportive of UiH, there. We have, in fact, always suspected that is was designed to justify shutting down parishes like ours–clinging to the beauty of our Traditions in the liturgy (as opposed to eagerly seeking all things progressive and banal in liturgy). None of the schemes of this bishop seem to be in the best interest of the faithful. I do feel very much disregarded and truly believe that this bishop is working for the interests of a different agenda in league with the majority of the bishops of the USCCB. Look at the “hit list” of the USCCB bishops and the priests that they suppress and persecute. We are praying and fasting for our priests stuck in their “limbo;” and we pray for the cleansing of this Temple.

      1. What parish are you in? Our family is becoming very disheartened at our parish and are looking at some in the Indianapolis Archdiocese since we live on the border. Would love to get an idea of what churches in our Lafayette diocese are more traditional. I assume they would be located away from the Carmel deanery, perhaps more out in the country??

        1. Best not to out the good priests and parishes in a public forum like this. There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing inside the church these days. So do what I did: Take a drive. Go exploring. Sample the parishes on both sides of the diocesan border outside your deanery. You’ll find where the catacomb parishes and priests are. Good hunting!

          1. Amen to this. Wouldn’t the Bishop love to get a hit-list to punish priests who don’t adhere to the plan? He could send them away for “re-programming” as someone mentioned earlier. Lord, have mercy. Pray for our good and faithful priests- who have been abandoned and abused by their father.


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