Most Catholics in the United States view women religious as strongly contributing to building the church and maintaining its mission and as having a right to speak out publicly on important cultural and religious issues, according to a recent survey.
The survey, conducted in May by Knowledge Networks, showed that American Catholics have a “very positive image” of religious sisters, said William D’Antonio, fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University in Washington. The poll also showed Catholics had little concern about the ongoing Vatican investigation of women’s religious orders.
D’Antonio said the idea for the survey – three questions with a range of possible answers – emerged after a non-scientific in-house poll in the magazine U.S. Catholic showed readers responding with a highly positive view of women religious.
The survey was done in light of critical comments made by some in the Catholic hierarchy about nuns, particularly U.S. sisters who supported health care reform, and as a controversial Vatican investigation of nuns is taking place.