Thursday, March 24, 2011

New poll shows increasing support from Catholics

The Public Religion Research Institutedid a poll about the Catholic view on LGBT rights. (PDF). Here are some of the key findings.

  • 74% of Catholics believe that gay relationships should be "accepted by society."
  • Catholics favor legal recognition for same sex couples more than any other religious tradition. They approve of marriage (43%) or civil unions (31%). But when the distinction between civil marriage and religious matrimony is made explicit, 71% of Catholics favor marriage rights.
  • Catholics also favor other LGBT rights issues, and give their church poor grades in its handling LGBT issues. They understand that sexuality is not "curable" (69%), And 56% agree that sexual relationships between gay people are not sinful.
  • A large number of Americans are ex-Catholics (including yours truly), and many of these report leaving in part because of Catholic teachings about homosexuality.
So while the Vatican fulminates against recognition of the gays, let's remember the disconnect between the institutional church and the people in the pews. There's a strong tradition of social justice in the Roman Catholic church in this country, which has been oppressed by the bishops in their railing about abortion and the gays. We should continue to reach out and witness to Roman Catholic believers, because while their church may be in opposition, they emphatically are not.

From NPR:

"Most American Catholics believe that one can be a good Catholic and disagree with the Vatican and the bishops on issues of personal conscience," said [Dr. Michelle Dillon, professor of sociology and chair of the Sociology Department at the University of New Hampshire]. "Gay-marriage has clearly become another issue, along with artificial contraception and divorce and remarriage, which Catholics believe is not core to what it means to be Catholic."


Jarred said...

This doesn't really surprise me. It seems like the Vatican is getting further and further out of touch with the "people in the pews."

JCF said...

Meanwhile, Archbishop Dolan (NY) just said "Well, I can't play shortstop for the Yankees, so you can't get married. I can't marry my *mother*, so you can't get married. Tough sh*t!" (OK, he didn't really say the last bit, but he meant it. @sshat!)

Paul said...

Andrew Sullivan is on the case with some additional data.