This just in from the myth-busting department: Roman Catholic teens feel no more guilty than other U.S. teenagers.
If they cheated on an exam, lied to their parents or engaged in serious petting, it's not bearing down on their conscience, according to a study by UNC-Chapel Hill researchers. At least it's not making them feel more guilty than their non-Catholic peers.
The emotional fallout of transgressing the Catholic Church's long list of sins -- venial and mortal -- may be a thing of the past. Blame the decline of ruler-wielding nuns at Catholic schools, or assimilation into the wider society.
The study, to be published this month in the Review of Religious Research, is based on data from the National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by sociologist Christian Smith, now at the University of Notre Dame and Stephen Vaisey, at UNC-CH. The survey included 3,290 teens, of whom 819 were Catholic -- about 24 percent, roughly equivalent to the proportion of Catholics in the U.S. population.
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