Gallup: U.S. Catholics Question Leaving the Church

The number of exit thinkers is at least 10 percent more than 2002.

The results of a new Gallup poll published yesterday reveal an increasing number of American Catholics are questioning as to whether they should continue to be a member of the Catholic church . Thirty-seven percent of people who identify as Catholics are now re-examining their faith due to continued news concerning sexual abuse by church clergy. In contrast, only 22 percent of Catholics expressed identical views in 2002, the year the Boston Globe published a detailed report of numerous instances of sex abuse perpetrated by priests in the city. About 581 US Catholics took part in the poll.

Catholics who frequently visit their church are less probable than their fellow co-religionists to re-examine their affiliation with the Vatican in 2019. Only 22 percent of those Catholics who walk through the church doors every week said they are now actively considering whether to leave their faith. The number of Catholics who visit the church almost weekly or monthly who are considering leaving is 37 percent. The highest number of those who may leave is among those who occasionally or never attend church, calculated to be 46 percent. It is to be mentioned it remains unclear as to whether Catholics who question their affiliation to the Vatican will actually leave. All groups, however, exhibited a rise of 10 percentage points or greater when compared with the 2002 polls. Many Catholics may consider exiting the church but ultimately do not do so. There is also the possibility that the respondent has no intention to leave but simply answered the survey in this manner to express their frustration with how the Catholic Church managed the sexual abuse crisis.

The disillusionment with the Catholic church is a result of a 1,300 page grand jury report released by the Attorney General of Pennsylvania in August 2018. The report set out in detail hundreds of accounts of multiple sexual abuse cases done by numerous Catholic priests. These priests sexually abused more than 1,000 children over 70 years in Pennsylvania. The sheer numbers have pushed 14 attorney generals of other U.S. states to declare the commencement of their own investigations or clergy abuse reviews. The federal authorities have begun reviews of its own. Pope Francis had attempted to solve the scandal by playing host to a four-day long conference in the Vatican concerning this subject.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter