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Washington D.C., Dec 9, 2019 / 04:10 pm (CNA).- Americans largely disapprove of the way the U.S. bishops have handled the sex abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church, a new survey has found. A majority said their trust in the leadership of the Church has been damaged by the abuse crisis.
The poll was conducted by RealClear Opinion Research in partnership with EWTN News. It surveyed 2,055 registered voters from Nov. 15-21.
Questions - Participants - Impressions - Church - Leaders
Among other questions, participants were asked about their impressions of how Church leaders have acted in response the clerical sex abuse crisis of the last 18 months.
Sexual abuse allegations against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in summer 2018 led to revelations of clerical sexual abuse throughout the United States, as well as some bishops engaging in cover-up and negligence in reporting suspected abuse.
% - Survey - Respondents - Bishops - Handling
Overall, 19% of survey respondents said they approve of the bishops’ handling of the abuse crisis, while 58% said they disapprove of how the bishops have responded. Another 23% percent said they were unsure.
Of those who identify as Catholic, 30% approve of the bishops’ handling of the crisis, while 55% disapprove. Among non-Catholics, 16% approve and 59% disapprove.
Disapproval - Rate - % - Catholics - Mass
The disapproval rate was consistently more than 50% for Catholics, whether they attend Mass at least weekly, a few times a month, or rarely.
Catholics who say they accept all of the Church’s teachings were more likely to say the bishops are doing an acceptable job handling the crisis. Among this demographic, 52% approve of the bishops’ response to the abuse crisis, and 38% disapprove.
Respondents - Approval - Pope - Francis - Handling
Survey respondents were more likely to voice approval of Pope Francis’ handling of the abuse crisis than that of the bishops, although he still faced significant levels of criticism.
Overall, 31% are satisfied with the pope’s...
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