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Survey shows a similarity between the youngest Catholics and the oldest, reflecting a return to orthodoxy.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Zenit) - A poll conducted in February showed that more than eight out of 10 U.S. Catholics are satisfied with the leadership of Benedict XVI, who arrives in this country Tuesday.

A report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) based at Georgetown University showed the results of research with 1,007 self-identified adult Catholics. It compared responses from Catholics in a range of age groups.

"Sacraments Today: Belief and Practice Among U.S. Catholics" divided Catholics into pre-Vatican II, Vatican II (born between 1943 and 1960), post-Vatican II (born between 1961-1981) and Millennial, finding that among those who attend Mass at least once a month, the youngest and oldest Catholics share a similar religious fervor.

Among Catholics attending Mass at least once a month, the Millennials are just as likely to believe that Christ is really present in the Eucharist as pre-Vatican II Catholics.

Nine in 10 weekly Mass attendees (91%) say they believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist, compared with two-thirds of those who attend Mass less than weekly but at least once a month (65%), and four in 10 of those attending Mass a few times a year or less.

Millennials stand apart when saying which sacrament is most meaningful to them personally. For Catholics overall, 39% said baptism is the most meaningful; 43% of Millennials said marriage is.

Knowledge of Church teachings and obligations is usually higher among older Catholics, but knowledge of the Bible is typically greater among younger generations, the report found.

Though many characteristics of the youngest generation's faith gives hopes, the poll also revealed some startling statistics: A little less than one-third of Catholics in the United States attend Mass weekly. And only 2% receive the sacrament of reconciliation once a month or more.

CARA estimates that there are more than 51 million adult Catholics in the States, about 22-23% of the nation's adults.



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