Poll finds support for Roman Catholic clergy, disagreement on teachings

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2001

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- A new survey of American Roman Catholics has found strong support for Pope John Paul II and U.S. bishops, but disagreement over church positions such as whether priests should marry.

In the study released Nov. 16 by LeMoyne College, in Syracuse, and the research firm Zogby International, nearly all the respondents felt the pope was doing a good job leading the worldwide church. U.S. bishops and local clergy were given high marks as well.

However, more than half of Catholics disagreed with the church position barring priests from marrying and preventing women from serving as pastors. More than 60 percent disagreed with church teaching that artificial birth control was morally wrong. Still, most agreed with the church's opposition to abortion and homosexual practices.

About 54 percent of Catholics said they attended Mass at least once a week. About 24 percent said they increased their observance in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Nearly all the respondents said they believed God has the power to answer every prayer and the Bible is the inspired word of God, but 68 percent said they seldom or never read the Bible.

The poll of 1,508 Catholics was conducted between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 and has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.



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