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American Catholics want doctrinal change, but do not expect it, poll finds

March 14, 2014

Catholic Americans favor major changes in the Church, but do not expect those changes to take place, according to a new Pew Research study.

The Pew survey found solid majorities of American Catholics in favor of ending the Church’s ban on contraceptives, allowing priests to marry, and ordaining women to the priesthood. Half of those surveyed said that the Church should recognize same-sex marriages. However, most of those surveyed said that they did not expect to see women ordained or same-sex marriages approved. A bare majority—51%-- reported that they did expect the Church to relax the rule of clerical celibacy—a change that would not conflict with any established Church doctrine.

The Pew study collected opinions from respondents who identified themselves as Catholics, without distinguishing between those who do and do not practice the faith on a regular basis.

The study did find that most Catholics feel Pope Francis has brought a major change in the Church, with about two-thirds seeing a positive trend, and just over one-fourth saying that they are more excited about their faith.


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Mar. 16, 2014 10:22 AM ET USA

    Simply put.. "no fear" of an eternal God who judges...