More Catholics Are Considering Leaving Church Over Sex Abuse Scandal

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 15, 2019

"While it is uncertain how numerous 37% of U.S. Catholics who say they're questioning remaining in the church will actually leave in response to the latest sex abuse scandal, any loss of adherents is certainly not welcome news - especially when the church is dealing with larger societal trends moving away from formal religion", Gallup said.

As a clergy sexual abuse crisis throws the Catholic Church into deep crisis on several continents, more than a third of American Catholics say they have questioned whether to remain in the church, according to a new Gallup poll.

By comparison, 37 percent of those who attend almost weekly or monthly, and 46 percent of those who seldom go to church said they are questioning their commitment to staying in the church (up from 24 percent and 29 percent, respectively, in 2002).

In 2002, Gallup polled Catholics in the United States about their response to the Boston Globe's shattering report on widespread clerical sexual abuse in the Boston area.

Gallup's survey was based on telephone interviews conducted between January 21 and February 28 with 581 U.S. Catholics. Francis has apologized for how he initially handled the clergy abuse scandal in Chile and last month called for an "all-out battle" to combat child abuse. But substantial minorities of both practicing and nonpracticing Catholics have been re-examining their commitment to the church in light of the current crisis. At that time, about one in eight people who attend church weekly said they were considering their membership while 24 percent of semi-regular and 29 percent of infrequent churchgoers said the same.

Activists say the real figure is probably much greater. In 2019, that number jumped to 22 percent.

The Polish Bishops' Conference said the statistical report, which covers the period between 1990 and 2018, found that 382 clergy sexually abused a total of 624 victims, including 198 under the age of 15 and 184 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18.

Trust in the church is somewhat greater, Gallup found, among Catholics who attend Mass weekly or monthly.

The American Catholic Church has more than 17,000 parishes across the country, with roughly 51 million adults - or one-fifth of the USA population - counting themselves as believers. However, the majority of Catholics are still confident in their parish priest, and in Pope Francis.

At the other end of the spectrum, 2 percent of US adults report converting to Catholicism. Besides leaving the denomination, Catholics could also express their discontent by attending less frequently or being less willing to listen to church leaders' teachings on matters of faith, the report noted.

More Americans have left Catholicism behind than any other religion in the US, according to a 2018 survey by Pew Research Center.

Archbishops speaking at the news conference emphasized that pedophilia was not limited only to the Catholic Church and that most abuse took place in families.

American Catholics have considerably less confidence in their bishops, Gallup found. Pew claimed that no other major American religious denomination has experienced this high ratio of losses to gains through religious switching.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE