The End of “Catholic” Sexuality?

Marcantonio Caltabiano , Università di Messina
Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, University of Padova

In recent decades, the progressive decrease in the number of practicing Catholics among young Italians has been accompanied by a considerable divergence of their sexual behavior from the teachings of the Catholic Church. In this paper we want to verify if even among young Italians who declare themselves Catholic there has been a departure from the religious precepts on sexuality, or if they – becoming a smaller group – have strengthened their adhesion to the indications of the Catholic church. We examine the data of two almost identical surveys on national samples of young Italian university students carried out in 2000 and 2017 through an analysis of the changes in opinions and behaviors. Our results show that the progressive reduction of young people adhering to Catholic faith has been accompanied by opinions and behaviors increasingly distant from the norms of the Catholic church, for example about premarital relations and homosexuality. However, it is still early for an end of Catholic sexuality, especially for young women and for some specific aspects, such as the growing value attributed by young people to couple fidelity.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course