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New poll underlines divisions among Catholics

February 10, 2014

A new survey of Catholics, conducted by the Spanish-language Univision network, has shown sharp differences among self-identified Catholics, and widespread dissent from Church teachings.

The poll showed that Catholics in developing countries were more likely than their European and American counterparts to accept Church teachings on controversial issues such as homosexuality and contraception. The poll found, for example, that 99% of African respondents oppose same-sex marriage, while in the US only 40% do. Only 30% of the Catholics in Europe accept the Church teaching that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, while in Africa 80% accept it.

The Univision survey shows that 78% of Catholics worldwide disagree with the Church teaching against contraception, and 65% believe that abortion should be allowed in some circumstances. However, 66% oppose same-sex marriage. On each of these issues, Catholics in Africa and Latin America are more likely to support the Church stand than those in Europe and the US.


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  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2014 11:11 PM ET USA

    I'd like to know how many of those self-identified Catholics actually understand the Church's teachings on contraception, marriage, in persona Christi, etc. My own experience with dissenters (including myself in sadder days) is their understanding of the teachings tends to differ greatly from the teachings themselves. They tend to dissent from straw-men propped-up by the Church's enemies, and place their personal politics ahead of their practice of religion, a fundamental error from the start.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Feb. 10, 2014 10:05 PM ET USA

    When the Church is not clear on its teachings and its bishops do not explain them well or show doubts themselves, the Church overall loses credibility. It has been ongoing in the US and Europe for several decades so we should not be surprised at the poll. Also be careful of polls. Many times set up to prove a point or agenda.

  • Posted by: FredC - Feb. 10, 2014 8:13 PM ET USA

    Most Catholics are not instructed on the bases for the Church's moral teachings. For example, (on rare occasions) they may be told not to use contraception, but they are not instructed on the reasoning behind the prohibition. The reasoning is available for those who search but few if any search.