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Religious Beliefs and Attitudes of Maltese University Students Revisited – 2009
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The Chaplaincy of the University of Malta is pleased to announce the publication of Religious Beliefs and Attitudes of Maltese University Students Revisited – 2009. The monograph embodies the findings of a survey that was carried out in 2008, to follow up an earlier study (2003). Both studies were carried out in response to the call made by the Diocesan Synod for research on the religious beliefs and pastoral needs of young people1.  

At a Media Launch, Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ, former University Chaplain, introduced the study while Pro-Rector Dr Mary Anne Lauri presented the findings. Rev. Dr Paul Galea then gave his comments on the findings.

The Study
A team of experts from different fields began working on the survey in 2007, under the leadership of the Chaplain at the time, Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ; the team comprised Prof. Anton Buhagiar, Rev. Dr Paul Galea, Pro-Rector Mary Anne Lauri, Christine Rossi, Rev. Dr Carmel Tabone and Dr Edward Warrington. To facilitate comparison with the findings of the earlier survey, the team made only minor changes to the questionnaire used in 2003. Another element, known as the Post-Critical Belief Scale, was added to the questionnaire to gauge the respondents’ religiosity.

Between November 2007 and April 2008, the questionnaires were presented to a random sample of university students.

The monograph consists of three parts, namely, the statistical analysis of the data collected (Prof. A. Buhagiar, Dept of Mathemathics); a commentary on the numbers, including comparisons with the data from 2003 (Rev. Dr Paul Galea, Faculty of Theology); and a reflection on the significance of the religious beliefs and attitudes of Maltese university students (Jean-Paul De Lucca, Junior College). Religious Attitudes and Behaviour of University Students in Malta, a report published in April 1968 by what was then the Royal University of Malta Theology Students’ Association (RUSTA) is reproduced in this monograph.

Findings and Further Questions
The Annexe incorporates key findings on the religious practices, beliefs and moral standpoints of the respondents.

When compared with similar studies in other countries, we can be positive about our students’ attitudes towards religion. Among the most encouraging signs is the evidence that numerous students consistently live their beliefs through their religious practice; belong to voluntary religious associations; and want a campus Chaplaincy. Against that, the fact that almost a third of Maltese university students are not churchgoers raises questions about the dichotomies between spirituality and religiosity as well as between belief and moral choice.

Recent events, among them Malta’s accession to the EU, accelerated the many-faceted process of secularisation through economic, social, cultural, demographic, technological and political forces. Secularisation, in turn, profoundly affects the Church and the wider society.

The data generated by this survey raises important questions for those entrusted with the pastoral care and the professional formation of young people, whose religious beliefs and attitudes influence their transition to adulthood, affecting familial relationships, employment and participation in public affairs.
The statistics invite us to revisit the Chaplaincy’s pastoral strategy in order that it may continue responding creatively to the human and spiritual needs of university students.

The Chaplaincy also offers this study to the Catholic Church in Malta, to other religious communities, to civil society associations, to educators and policy-makers, to believers and non-believers, to youths and their mentors, with an invitation to engage in an inclusive, constructive dialogue about the trends and issues that it discloses.

Sinodu Malta. (2003). Adolexxenti u Żgħażagħ. Malta: Arċidjoċesi ta’ Malta, 4.

Religious Beliefs and Attitudes of Maltese University Students Revisited – 2009 


Religious Beliefs and Attitudes of Maltese University Students Revisited – 2009 


Religious Beliefs and Attitudes of Maltese University Students Revisited – 2009 



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