National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Poll: Catholics agree with Pope Francis that church is 'obsessed' with moral issues

 | 
Washington

Pope Francis rocked the Catholic world last month when he gave a wide-ranging interview in which he declared that the church had become "obsessed" with a few moral issues and needed to find a "new balance."

Now a new poll indicates that American Catholics think he's right, and by a wide margin.

The survey, released Friday by Quinnipiac University shows that two in three (68 percent) adult Catholics questioned said they agreed with the pontiff's observation that the church has become too focused on issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraception.

Just 23 percent disagreed, and the breakdown was virtually the same across age groups and among both weekly Mass-goers and those who attend church less frequently.

The national poll, conducted the last week of September, also showed that American Catholics have a favorable (53 percent) or very favorable (36 percent) opinion of Francis, and just 4 percent view him negatively.

book-cover_arthur_web.jpgNow available! National Catholic Reporter at Fifty: The Story of the Pioneering Paper and Its Editors
Learn more

"American Catholics liked what they heard when Pope Francis said the church should stop talking so much about issues like gay marriage, abortion and contraception," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The survey also found that Catholic support for same-sex marriage continues to be strong, as other surveys have found, with six in 10 Catholics approving of gay marriage and 31 percent opposed. That's slightly above the national 56 percent approval rating.

But the latest research also indicates that support for same-sex marriage only drops slightly among weekly churchgoers, to 53 percent, with 40 percent opposed. That finding could cause consternation among social conservatives who argue that the most devout Catholics tend to support the hierarchy's position against gay marriage.

Another finding likely to provoke concern among tradition-minded church leaders: Catholics support the idea of ordaining women priests by a 60-30 margin; it only drops to 52-38 percent among those who attend service about once a week. There is almost no gender gap in that support.

The number of Catholics surveyed was not large -- 392 adult Catholics out of an overall selection of 1,776 respondents, and the margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. But the trend lines seem to be in keeping with other research.

Editor's note: We can send you a biweekly email alert with content from The Francis Chronicles. Follow the directions on our email alert signup page.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

August 29-September 11, 2014

08-29-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.