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A Pew survey result that tells us...nothing

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 24, 2013

“Three-quarters of U.S. Catholics support pope’s Vatican reform,” reads the headline on a Pew Research Center report. That’s nice. But not 1% of American Catholics know what the Pope’s reforms will be, since he hasn’t announced them yet.

Read a bit more closely, and you learn that 75% of those surveyed thought that “reform”—which might mean different things to different people—should be a priority for the Pope. That’s a very different message. Saying that you see a need for reform is not the same as saying that you support a particular program for reform.

But here’s another twist: The Pew story is based on a poll taken in March—which, you may recall, is when Pope Francis was elected. Maybe you have a general idea of the Pope’s reform plans now, but in March, nobody had a clue.

So what is it, exactly, that we learned from the Pew story?


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