National Study of Catholic Priests

The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America is conducting a
National Study of Catholic Priests. The study entails a nationally representative survey
of Catholic clergy, in partnership with Gallup, as well as in-depth interviews with priests.
It also includes a national survey of all US Catholic bishops. Initial results will be released in Fall 2022.

Why this research is important

There has been proper attention in recent years to the harmful effects of the clergy sex abuse crisis on the Church. But aside from anecdotal accounts we don’t know much about how our priests have been affected by the crisis.  How has it affected your ministry, your sense of vocation, and your trust in bishops? To work effectively toward healing wounds and rebuilding trust, we first need an accurate assessment of the present state of affairs.

Letter of Support from Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal Gregory

Invitation Letter from President John Garvey

Methodology and how the data will be used

Catholic University is working with Gallup, an independent research organization, to randomly select and survey Catholic priests in the U.S. on their attitudes related to the clergy sex abuse crisis on the Church. Gallup will contact randomly-selected priests by mail or email. Priests who complete the survey will receive a $25 gift card as a "Thank you" for sharing their opinions.

Data from the study will provide an in-depth look at priests’ experiences and opinions, and will provide us insights into how to move forward to rebuild trust. It is a vital step towards measuring the success of any new initiatives aimed at recovery.

All information about participating individuals and dioceses will be kept completely confidential. This is strictly academic research with no ideological agenda. Results, in aggregate form, will be shared widely with bishops, priests, and laity, and will inform important discussions in the Church.

Initial results will be released on October 19, 2022 with a presentation on campus (Happel Room, Caldwell Hall) and streaming at 1:00 p.m.

Our Research Team

Brandon Vaidyanathan

Christopher Jacobi

Chelsea Kelly

Tricia Bruce

Lead Researcher, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology.

Faculty Profile

Research Associate

Faculty Profile

Assistant Professor

Faculty Profile

Qualitative Project Manager



Stephen White

Executive Director of The Catholic Project