Sunday, January 13, 2019

US Catholics No Longer Trust Church Officials, Poll Reveals

Catholics in the US have lost faith in clergy members and no longer trust church officials following a series child abuse scandals and cover-ups, a new poll has revealed.
A Gallup poll released Friday shows that less than a 3rd of Catholics in the United States rate the honesty and ethical standards of clergy as "very high" or "high," marking a record low and a significant drop from the previous annual survey.
The poll's the latest evidence of the hierarchy’s diminished credibility as a direct result of the, seemingly, never-ending clergy sex abuse scandal. The all-time-low 31% honesty rating for 2018 is an 18% drop from 2017(49%).
The large fall comes after years of steady decline, with a new global explosion of the scandal and revelations of a high-ranking cover-up in the US causing a huge blow to Catholics' trust in Church leaders.
Catholics aren’t alone in the crisis, however, as the trust in Christian clergy members has fallen across the board. According to Crux Now, the Gallup survey also found that while the Protestants’ 48% positive rating for clergy's higher than Catholics’, 2018 marked the 1st time that less than half of surveyed Protestants had high marks for clerical honesty.
The poll of 1,025 adults was conducted December 3-12 and had a margin of error of +/- 4%. For results based on the total sample of 210 Catholics, the margin was +/- 8%.
The credibility of the Catholic Church hierarchy tanked in 2018 after new reports of old abuse and cover-up were uncovered in the US, Chile and elsewhere and implicated Pope Francis himself.
In the US, the Pennsylvania grand jury report alleged 7 decades of abuse and cover-up, while ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s downfall exposed how the hierarchy knew that he slept with seminarians, but turned a blind eye.
The report revealed that high-ranking officials, including Pope Francis and Cardinal Wuerl, knew of the child sex abuse allegations, but failed to act and in some cases, covered it up.
A previous Gallup poll found that Catholics’ overall confidence in the Church and organized religion - already declining last year - dropped from 52% in June 2017 to 44% by June 2018, before the US scandal had even hit.
Mass attendance has also been on a steady decline and hit a new low last year, with 36% of Catholics reporting they had attended Mass in the past week.
Nevertheless, Gallup found that a majority of Catholics still view religion as "very important" in their lives. And the survey noted that the % of Americans who self-identify as Catholic has remained stable, thanks in large part to the growing Hispanic population in the US.

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