Monday, April 04, 2005

Americans want a liberalized church

Sez AP:
Most Americans want the next pope to work for changes in Roman Catholic Church policies to allow priests to marry and women to join the priesthood. And they want more done to combat sexual abuse by priests, an AP-Ipsos poll found.

A solid majority of Americans, and Catholics in the country, are calling for the changes even while saying they widely admire Pope John Paul II, who supported traditional policies against priest marriage and against allowing women into the priesthood.


Just over half of Americans, 51 percent, and almost three-fourths of Catholics say John Paul, who died Saturday, will be remembered as one of the greatest popes, according to the poll conducted for The Associated Press by Ipsos-Public Affairs.

The U.S. Catholic church is struggling with a variety of problems, including a dramatically shrinking U.S. priesthood, disagreement over the proper role for lay leaders, and a conservative-liberal divide over sexuality, women's ordination and clergy celibacy.

About two-thirds of those polled, 69 percent, said priests should be allowed to marry and almost that many, 64 percent, said they want women in the priesthood. Six in 10 Catholics supported each of those steps.

More than four in five Americans - and about the same number of Catholics - said they want to see the next pope do more to address the problem of priests sexually abusing children.

For better or worse, the Church is not a democracy, so polls only carry as much weight as the new Vatican leadership gives them. But it is interesting to see very solid support for a new direction.

Update: apparently, 60+% of American Catholics are just a bunch of hippie weasels:
Many of the more Liberal types hope that the Pope's successor will change the Church to suit their "modern" morality, so that it will suit them better. That would be a terrible mistake. It was his consistent affirmation of traditional values that made him a great leader, and I believe the next Pope will see the wisdom of following John Paul's lead. So if you're hoping to see a Pope George Ringo changing the cross to a peace sign, proclaiming "if it feels good, do it," wearing tie-dyed robes and introducing the "Buddy Christ" from the movie Dogma... forget it.

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