Ferocious criticism of its coverage of the sex abuse scandal must have driven the Times to commission a poll. Here is a Catholic World News report of the result:

A new poll conducted by CBS News and The New York Times has found that 77% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly say that “the Vatican’s handling of recent child sex abuse reports” has had no effect on how they “feel about the Catholic Church.” An additional 12% of practicing Catholics say that they have a more positive feeling about the Church as a result of the Vatican’s handling of the scandals.

The survey of 1,079 adults was conducted between April 28 and May 2. Results were released on May 4.
v88% of Catholics– practicing and non-practicing– report that the scandal has had no effect on their dealings with priests. 82% say it will not affect their Mass attendance, 79% say it will have no effect on donations, and 87% say that it will have no effect on their children’s involvement in Church activities.

52% of the general population says that the Vatican’s handling of the scandal has had no effect on their feelings towards the Church, while 36% have more negative feelings.

The survey also found that Pope Benedict’s popularity among Catholics has increased since March. 43% of Catholics have a favorable view of him (vs. 27% in March), while 17% have an unfavorable view (vs. 11% in March). 38% are unsure or “haven’t heard enough” to make a judgment. Among the general population, 16% have a favorable view of the Pope, 24% have an unfavorable view, and 59% are unsure or “haven’t heard enough.”

Read more at Catholic Culture…including:

58% of practicing Catholics, and 30% of Americans overall, believe the scandal has been blown out of proportion by the news media.

Another poll, commissioned by National Catholic Reporter and carried out by John Zogby, found that 56-six per cent of American Catholics approve the overall job that Pope Benedict XVI is doing, with 32% disapproving. Approval of U.S. Bishops is somewhat lower, with 45% approving of their overall job, and 44% disapproving.

Respondents were asked:

Some have called for Pope Benedict XVI to resign as a result of the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Others believe he should not resign. Do you believe Pope Benedict XVI should resign, or do you believe he should continue as Pope?

64 per cent said he should continue, 20 per cent were not sure, and 16 per cent thought he should resign. Probably not the result that NCR hoped for.


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet