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Study shows majority of the American Catholics rely on themselves when making major life decisions.

Pope Francis is adored by the American Catholics and the non-Catholics alike. His humility, optimism, and his inclusive tone is the reason why he is so popularly embraced by the Americans, along with the rest of the world. However, most of the Americans who like him, do not turn to him for moral guidance. This is according to a Pew Research Center survey on religion in everyday life.

According to the survey, only one American Catholic in ten, turn to the Pontiff for guidance. About 73% of the American Catholics listen to their conscience when faced with moral dilemmas. 21% of them look for guidance in the teachings of the Church. 15% of them depend on the Bible to show them the right way. Only 11% of the people who took part in the survey said that they look towards the Holy Father when confronted with morality issues.

The survey shows that the strict Catholics (those who take part in religious services at least once a week and pray on a daily basis) are more likely to turn to the pope, and seek guidance from the Church teachings and the Bible, than the other Catholics. The point to note from the report here is that about 74% of those strict Catholics depend heavily on their experience and conscience, rather than the Pope or the Bible or the Church teachings.

Depending on one's own conscience and experience, and not turning to Church for guidance does not necessarily indicate that there is a conflict with the Church or the Pope. The fact of the matter is that the Church itself encourages people to rely on their conscience. According to the Church, a well-developed conscience is truthful and upright.

The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. As per the Catechism, the development and the education of the conscience should be guided by the Word of God and the Church’s teachings. Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis's 2016 proclamation, has references about the importance of individual consciences in family life-related issues.

The Pew survey also reports that about 84% of the American Catholics rely on their own research when making major life decisions. The possibility here is that their decisions may be indirectly guided by the Church teachings, the Bible, and the Pope.

The Pew Research Center is an American nonpartisan research organization based in Washington D.C. The organization conducts surveys and provides information on social issues and demographic trends shaping the U.S. and the rest of the world.

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