rainn.png
Thursday August 11th, 2022 2:29AM

AP-NORC poll details rift between lay Catholics and bishops

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The hardline stances of many conservative Catholic bishops in the U.S. are not shared by a majority of lay Catholics. Most of them say abortion should be legal, favor greater inclusion of LGBT people, and oppose the denial of Communion for politicians who support abortion rights, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll, conducted in mid-May, shows a clear gap between the prevalent views of American Catholics, and some recent high-profile actions taken by the church’s leaders.

For example, leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently called on Catholics nationwide to pray for the U.S. Supreme Court to end the constitutional right to abortion by reversing its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. According to the new poll, 63% of Catholic adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 68% say Roe should be left as is.

On May 20, the archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, announced that he will no longer allow U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion because of her support for abortion rights.

According to the poll, only 31% of lay Catholics agree that politicians supporting abortion rights should be denied Communion, while 66% say they should be allowed access to the sacrament.

An even larger majority – 77% -- said that Catholics who identify as LGBT should be allowed to receive Communion. That contrasts sharply with a policy issued by the Diocese of Marquette, which encompasses Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, saying pastors should deny Communion to transgender, gay and nonbinary Catholics “unless the person has repented.”

Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, said the rift between rank-and-file Catholics and the bishops “reveals a breakdown in communication and trust -- shepherds who are far removed from the sheep.”

“This is a precarious time for the U.S. Catholic church,” she added in an email. “U.S. Catholics are, on the whole, accustomed to living and working in a pluralistic society and this poll reinforces the notion that they want the public square to remain pluralistic, free from coercion, and oriented toward care for the vulnerable populations among us.”

The Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the poll results didn’t surprise him, and underscored a need for anti-abortion clergy and activists to redouble efforts to change people’s positions.

“For us working on pro-life issues, these kinds of polls are like a summons,” he said. “You’ve got to be doing your work -- maybe you’ve got to do it better.”

As for conservative bishops, “their awareness of the gaps that the polling reveals is precisely one of the reasons they feel the need to speak up,″ Pavone said. “They are striving to exercise the role outlined for them in Scripture, namely, to patiently and persistently teach the faith, whether convenient or inconvenient, to clear up confusion.”

Beyond the bishops/laity rift, the poll highlighted other challenges facing the church, which is the largest denomination in the U.S.

For example, 68% of Catholics reported attending religious services once a month or less. Compared to five years ago, 37% said they were now attending less often; 14% said they were attending more often.

Over that five-year span, 26% percent of Catholics said their opinion of the Catholic church had worsened, while 17% said their opinion had improved. Most said their opinion hadn’t changed.

More than two-thirds of U.S. Catholics disagree with church policies that bar women from becoming priests. And 65% say the church should allow openly gay men to be ordained.

The poll was conducted just after the leak of a draft Supreme Court majority opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade. The views of U.S. Catholics, as expressed in the poll, were in line with the overall American public, both in regard to supporting abortion’s legality and preserving Roe.

However, there were sharp differences among major religious groupings. While 63% of Catholics said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, that stance was held by 74% of mainline Protestants and only 25% of evangelical Protestants.

Sharon Barnes of Dallas, who converted to Catholicism as a young adult, appreciates the centuries-old consistency of Catholic doctrine. Yet she differs from the church on some major social issues, including abortion.

“It's a woman's right to decide," said Barnes, 65. “It's something that you have to kind of reconcile yourself, and it's between you and God.”

Pedro Gomez, a 55-year-old border patrol agent in Rio Rico, Arizona, is a lifelong Catholic who prays every night and attends church regularly. He understands the need for abortion in cases of rape, incest or saving the life of a mother, but he said he considers the procedure to be the killing of a child.

Gomez was surprised that most U.S. Catholics support some degree of abortion rights.

“There’s a lot of gray area now that was never there in my upbringing,” he said. “Maybe they’re watering down Catholicism ... Now people are being able to make up their own rules.”

Ed Keeley, a 62-year-old public school teacher in Houston, also was raised Catholic. He described abortion as “a hard subject,” saying he believes in the sanctity of life but that abortion should be allowed in specific cases, including rape or incest.

He finds it “ridiculous” that a priest would deny Communion to someone because of their views on abortion or politics generally.

Last year, some conservative bishops, including Cordileone, argued publicly that President Joe Biden — a lifelong Catholic — should not receive Communion because of his support for abortion rights. However, Pope Francis conveyed his opposition to such a stance, saying Communion “is not a prize for the perfect.”

Cordileone’s recent denial of Communion for Pelosi was supported by several of his clerical colleagues, including the archbishops of Denver, Oklahoma City, Portland, Oregon, and Kansas City, Kansas. However, Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, issued a statement describing the action as “misguided.”

“As Jesus said, it’s the sick people who need a doctor, not the healthy, and he gave us the Eucharist as a healing remedy,” Jackels said. “Don’t deny the people who need the medicine.”

He also contended that abortion was not the only critical “life issue” facing the church.

“Protecting the earth, our common home, or making food, water, shelter, education and health care accessible, or defense against gun violence… these are life issues too,” he said. “To be consistent, to repair the scandal of Catholics being indifferent or opposed to all those other life issues, they would have to be denied Holy Communion as well.”

John Gehring, Catholic program director at the Washington-based clergy network Faith in Public Life, said some conservative bishops engage in the culture wars “in ways that damage their already diminished relevance and credibility."

“Most Catholics are fed up with bishops who want to weaponize Communion in a hypocritical, single-issue campaign against pro-choice politicians, especially when we see Pope Francis offering a better road map,” said Gehring

The AP-NORC poll of 1,172 adults, including 358 Catholics, was conducted May 12-16 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points, and for Catholics is plus or minus 7.4 percentage points.

___

Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

___

Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Supreme Court News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tropical storm warning for parts of Florida, Cuba, Bahamas
Much of the Florida peninsula, along with parts of Cuba and the Bahamas, are under a tropical storm warning as a system that battered Mexico moves through the Gulf of Mexico, bringing threats of heavy rain and wind for the weekend
11:04AM ( 18 minutes ago )
AP-NORC poll details rift between lay Catholics and bishops
The hardline stances of many conservative Catholic bishops in the U.S. are not shared by most lay Catholics
11:03AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Bill to limit cryptomining passes New York Legislature
The New York Legislature has approved a milestone measure that would tap the brakes on the spread of cryptocurrency mining operations that burn fossil fuels
9:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
US added 390,000 jobs in May as hiring remained robust
U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs in May, extending a streak of solid hiring that has bolstered an economy under pressure from high inflation and rising interest rates
10:54AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Jennifer Lopez to receive honor at MTV Movie & TV Awards
Jennifer Lopez will be honored for her film and television achievements at the MTV Movie & TV Awards
10:53AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Pa. GOP loudly opposed counting undated ballots, until now
When Philadelphia’s election board prepared to count ballots last year that were mailed-in without the voter’s handwritten date, Republicans threatened impeachment
10:48AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US stocks open lower, edging back into the red for the week
Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street Friday, putting indexes back into the red for the week
9:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
Wall Street shrugs at another strong jobs report
Wall Street pointed lower ahead of the opening bell Friday after the U.S. government’s monthly jobs report showed a still-healthy job market despite concerns that the economy would weaken as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to fight inflation
9:10AM ( 2 hours ago )
As COVID retreats, dragon boat tradition back in south China
Dragon boat festivities have returned in parts of China for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic in late 2019 as restrictions are lifted along with a major drop in COVID-19 cases
8:43AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Harini Logan wins spelling bee in 1st-ever tiebreaker
Harini Logan has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, defeating Vikram Raju in the bee's first-ever lightning-round tiebreaker
12:53AM ( 10 hours ago )
Officials: Fugitive suspected of killing 5 fatally shot
State prison officials say a convicted murderer on the run since escaping a prison bus after stabbing its driver on May 12 has been killed after he killed a family of five and took their truck
12:46AM ( 10 hours ago )
Tulsa shooting highlights vulnerability of hospitals
Hospitals, like schools, are not typically designed to guard against the threat of a determined gunman entering the building to take lives
12:26AM ( 10 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
German lawmakers expected to approve huge fund for military
German lawmakers are expected to approve a 100 billion-euro ($107 billion) special fund to strengthen the country’s military
9:15AM ( 2 hours ago )
German parliament OKs higher minimum wage pledged by Scholz
The German parliament has approved raising the country’s minimum wage to 12 euros ($12.84) per hour, fulfilling a key campaign pledge by Chancellor Olaf Scholz
7:18AM ( 4 hours ago )
Biden appeals for tougher gun laws: 'How much more carnage?'
President Joe Biden has delivered an impassioned plea to Congress to act on gun control
12:39AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Fire, looming ruling don't stop new Wyoming abortion clinic
Organizers of a planned new women's health clinic that would offer abortions in Wyoming vow to press ahead with their plans despite a suspected arson attack, protests, harassing messages and the chance that abortion could soon become illegal in the state and several others
12:42PM ( 4 days ago )
Kansas equity efforts bring little change after George Floyd
Elected leaders in Kansas convened community groups and held town hall conversations after demonstrators protested George Floyd’s death statewide
9:16AM ( 6 days ago )
Justices to rule in gun case with US raw from mass shootings
With mass shootings in Texas, New York and California fresh in Americans’ mind, the Supreme Court will soon issue its biggest gun ruling in more than a decade
12:54PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Tropical storm warning for parts of Florida, Cuba, Bahamas
Much of the Florida peninsula, along with parts of Cuba and the Bahamas, are under a tropical storm warning as a system that battered Mexico moves through the Gulf of Mexico, bringing threats of heavy rain and wind for the weekend
11:04AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Bill to limit cryptomining passes New York Legislature
The New York Legislature has approved a milestone measure that would tap the brakes on the spread of cryptocurrency mining operations that burn fossil fuels
9:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Police fatally shoot Texas escapee who killed 5 while on run
Texas prison officials say a convicted murderer on the run since escaping a prison bus after stabbing its driver last month has been fatally shot by law enforcement after he killed a family of five and took their truck
9:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Revenant: Harini Logan rallies for spelling bee title
Harini Logan has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, defeating Vikram Raju in the bee's first-ever lightning-round tiebreaker
9:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Officials: Man fatally shot 2 women, self in Iowa church lot
Authorities plan to release more details about a shooting outside an Iowa church in which a man fatally shot two women before apparently killing himself
9:06AM ( 2 hours ago )