US Catholics Back Bishops' Stance on Religious Liberty

Poll Shows Sharp Increase in Approval of Church Leadership

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 6, 2012 ( A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that Catholics who are aware of the U.S. bishops’ concern on religious liberty agree with them. 

The poll also showed that protests organized against the legislation have not drawn more interest among Catholics than the general public. 

They study showed that almost two-thirds, or 64%, of Catholics have heard little of the bishops’ concerns regarding government policies, including the Obama administration’s mandate that requires employers to provide coverage for contraception, abortifacient and sterilization services. The poll did show that roughly 22% of Catholics have heard a lot about the bishops’ protests over the policy and only a third of Catholic churchgoers have said that their parish priest has spoken on the issue at Mass

«By a 56% to 36% margin, Catholics who are aware of the bishops’ protests about what they believe are infringements of religious liberty say they agree with the bishops’ concerns. Among all Americans who are aware of the protests, there is less support for the bishops’ position: 41% agree with the bishops’ concerns, while 47% disagree,» the poll stated. 

The study was conducted among 2,973 adults, 619 of whom were Catholics, from June 28-July 9. The Pew Research Center also reported that most Catholics, roughly 70%, expressed satisfaction with the U.S. bishops’ leadership in general. 

The percentage numbers show a sharp increase compared to the last study in 2002, during the height of the child abuse scandal. A large majority are satisfied with the leadership of their local bishop, priests and nuns. The study showed that 74% of those polled showed satisfaction with the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. 

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F=ull results of the poll:

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