By Melanie Batley
A significant majority of American Catholics support Pope Francis’ recent commentsthat the Church is too focused on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives, a new poll has found.
The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,776 American adults, including 392 Catholics, found that 68 percent compared to 23 percent believe the church needs to shift its focus away from those social issues, and the findings hold among both more observant and less observant Catholics.
“American Catholics liked what they heard when Pope Francis said the Church should stop talking so much about issues like gay marriage, abortion and contraception,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The survey conducted September 23-29 also found that an overwhelming majority of Catholics like the Pope, with 89 percent saying they have a “very favorable” or “favorable” opinion of him, compared to just 4 percent who say they have an “unfavorable” view.
“Maybe they were just waiting for a Jesuit. Overwhelmingly, across the demographic board, Catholics—men and women, regular or not-so-regular church-goers, young and old—have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis,” Carroll said.
Notably, the survey found that a higher percentage of American Catholics support same-sex marriage than the general U.S. adult population. Sixty percent of Catholics support same-sex marriage, compared to 56 percent of American adults who say they support it.
Meanwhile, 52 percent of Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 53 percent of all American adults who hold that view.
“On the two issues that have prompted some pulpit thundering, same-sex marriage and abortion, Catholics are right in line, or even a little ahead, of their non-Catholic neighbors,” Carroll said.
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