Clergy, religious and lay Catholic experts say the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute’s recently conducted survey about the Church is simply misleading.

The poll, released Friday, found that 52% of American Catholics believe the Church is moving in the right direction, but 52% also said Church leaders were out of touch with American Catholics. 

Fifty-five percent of the 497 Catholics who were surveyed said the next pope should move the church in new directions.

According to the controversial survey, majorities of Catholic Americans also believe the Church needs to change its stance on several hot-button issues, including its ban on artificial contraception (64%), marriage among priests (62%) and the ordination of women (62%).

"The survey doesn’t adequately reflect the distinction between practicing and non-practicing Catholics,” said Mark Brumley, president and CEO of Ignatius Press. “And while it is helpful to know what people say they think, what is right or wrong isn’t determined by a survey. The confused results show that the Church needs to be clearer, firmer and more persuasive in presenting her message, and not let people with little understanding of that message call the shots.  

"Jesus’ teaching was not initially well-received by the establishment of his day. It should come as no surprise that the Church's continuation of that teaching meets with opposition among today's establishment, sometimes even among people who identify themselves as Catholics."

Ethicist and cultural analyst Dr. Pia de Solenni added, “If polls and news outlets want a real story, ask the people who regularly attend Mass what they believe. Start here in the U.S. But also ask people around the world, like the 350,000 who recently protested same-sex marriage in France. If you want to get really interesting, ask Anglicans in the African nations what they think about the Catholic Church's teachings on marriage.”