Papal Politics

News: Commentary
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  March 21, 2018   

Conservative Catholics are growing cold with the Holy Father's leadership

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Conservative U.S. Catholics, who elected Donald Trump as the leader of their country, are becoming less enthused about the leader of their Church.

Pew Research released a poll this month revealing the number of conservative U.S. Catholics having an "unfavorable opinion" of Pope Francis has more than doubled in the past four years up from 4 percent in 2014 to 9 percent in 2018. The poll, conducted in January, showed the growing discontent was among conservative Republican Catholics.

The survey found that of those Catholics who were Republican or conservative-leaning, 34 percent disapproved of the Holy Father's role in spreading the Catholic faith. In addition, 31 percent thought the Roman Pontiff did not do well in upholding the Church's moral teachings.

This contrasts with the 84 percent of self-described Catholics who the poll found had a favorable opinion of Pope Francis even though they were aware of problematic issues with his papacy such as a mishandling of sex abuse. Those who thought the Pope was properly handling the clerical sex abuse crisis was down roughly 10 percent in four years.

The Catholics polled in the United States were churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike. Of all those polled in this rather broad group the number who thought the current pope was too liberal had grown by roughly 15 percent since 2014. Finally, the number of U.S. Catholics that thought the Pope didn't do well in spreading the Catholic faith had grown almost four-fold during the past four years up from 10 percent in 2014 to 46 percent in 2018.

Watch the panel discuss U.S. Catholics' growing cold toward the Pope in The Download—Papal Politics.


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