BY Michelle Garcia

February 05 2010 3:10 PM ET

A poll of graduating students at Catholic universities shows that many abandon the beliefs of the church after four years of education.

Though 45% of students at Catholic colleges say their views on gay marriage remain unchanged and in line with the church's, 39% say their views have shifted away from the church's and that they support marriage equality. Only slightly more, 42%, of those who attend public schools say their attitudes have shifted away from the church's. Of those attending non-Catholic private religious colleges (like Brigham Young University or Biola University), 36% say they no longer agree with the church, though 50% say they stay in line with church teachings.

Thirty-two percent of Catholic college seniors say they attend Mass less often than when they started their college career.

The information was released at the annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. It was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

Authors of the study said that Catholics in the millennial generation (born in 1982 or later), regardless of their choice of college, will generally hold attitudes that are in opposition to the church on issues such as abortion and same-sex unions. They are also likely to attend Mass less frequently.

For the full study, read the PDF by CARA.











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