US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Yet another survey says: Many laypeople disagree with church teachings

By Elizabeth Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Earlier this month, we wrote about the results that German bishops shared of their survey of the laypeople, which showed that laypeople there find a significant disconnect between the church’s teachings and the realities of navigating everday life.

Univision has released the results of a survey of 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries that confirms much the same, at least in the United States: On every issue on subjects of sexuality and family (ranging from same-sex marriage to abortion to female priests to divorced Catholics), Americans were out of sync with the church’s official teachings.

However, the poll also showed that globally, the same attitudes don't always hold up. For example, 76 percent of those polled in the United States thought abortion should be permitted at least in some circumstances. But majorities in countries such as Congo, Uganda, and the Philippines said it should never be allowed.

There were two issues that everyone seemed to agree upon. Overall, 79 percent of those polled favored contraception use in opposition to church teaching, with only one country (Uganda) posting a majority of people saying they agree with church teaching.

And, good news for Francis, though it can’t come as much of a surprise: Across the world, he’s getting rave reviews in his first year on the job. Globally, 87 percent of respondents rated Pope Francis as excellent or good, with only 6 percent rating his tenure as mediocre or poor.

While Francis, due to the nature of the papal office, doesn’t technically need to take note of approval ratings, he should still be concerned about the results that keep coming in as laypeople are consulted on these important issues. He will certainly face a challenge going forward, to guide a global church that is often at odds with official teaching, but that also varies widely around the world.