May I draw your attention to an online survey?
Not all online surveys are of equal merit, but I believe that this online survey may hold potential. I have just completed it, and hope that if enough responses are compiled from Rosary-reciting-Catholics, then actual psychological research into the Rosary will be possible. Not that this research in itself should be cause for reciting of the Rosary. But it will, nonetheless, be publicity for the Rosary.
A comment left by ‘Annonymous’ (on my ‘Scuppered by Scrupolosity’ post) outlines the conditions for who may complete the survey:
‘Are you Catholic and over the age of 18? Have you said the Rosary Prayer at least once in the past year? If so, please take part in an anonymous research study online that examines the place of the Rosary Prayer in Catholic individuals’ lives. To participate in this doctoral research study, click the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/rosaryprayer Participation is anonymous and free of charge.’
The survey was created by Todd Seech, who has stated his reasons for this research as being; ‘to advance the understanding of the place of the rosary prayer in Catholic individuals’ lives. Information from participants’ responses will help us to understand the relationship between prayer habits, thinking styles, anxiety, and other issues. Results may help mental health providers to improve the services they provide to their Catholic clients.’
Todd is available on the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The questions in the Rosary Practices section are thorough. For circumstances that lead me to saying the Rosary, I made clear that it’s a daily practice for me. I referred to Our Lady of Fatima asking that we say the Rosary every day, and that this request was made six times. As an explanation, I wrote, ‘In the Rosary, I am able to contemplate on the life of our Lord, and say 50 Hail Marys; each one articulating 'Jesus'. Following from Jewish teaching that we make the person present should we say their name, I believe that I make Jesus more present in my life by saying the Rosary.'
I can foresee that Questionaire III (one's thinking habits are evaluated) may have controversial findings, and will be perceived as a tool against Catholics; whether it is or not, lies in how the research findings are interpreted. Does Questionaire III try to prove a link between experiencing/undertaking sinful thoughts/actions, and the corresponding disquiet/guilt one feels?
The sad reality is that sin does cause anxiety, and Catholics do hold that we sin, also, through our thoughts and words, what we have done or what we have failed to do. The latter what ‘we have failed to do’ falls into the sins of omission category.
Parts of the survey is like an intensely rigorous examination of conscience for confession, and tries to measure the anxiety caused us by our thoughts, against the anxiety felt in relation to actions. In effect, how much more seriously do we hold our thoughts to account, rather than our actions? One important point that I raise; the actual feelings of anxiety and depression are not the sinful substance, rather it is the initial blasphemous or violent thought.
One such mental reflex that the survey invites us to consider; ‘I am upset by unpleasant thoughts that come into my mind against my will.’ For Catholics, being upset and having an unpleasant thought ener one’s head is not sinful, it is if we entertain these unpleasant thoughts and let these thoughts rob us of our peace; that my friend is the slip.
Long before therapies came out to help people control their thoughts and feelings, the Catechism of the Catholic Church warned us expressly against what modern psychologists call ‘negative thought patterns’ and ‘depressive/anxious thought sequences’.
Where I personally feel that the survey was inadequate, was that it did not ask more explicit questions, related to the sacraments, about how a Catholic deals with such anxiety-caused-by-sin. Such as going to confession, and accepting that one is forgiven.
Ahem, it’s after twelve noon, I ought to say my angelus, give up being a hypocrite (for today at least) and say my Rosary.