Gallup Poll on Moral Issues

Gallup starts trumpeting that Catholics are indistinguishable from the mainstream of America on moral issues. Only later on in the article do we see them distinguish between those Catholics (and non-Catholics) who actually go to church and those who don’t. And that graphic is interesting. Non-Catholics who go to church are more likely than church-going Catholics to oppose abortion. And pre-marital sex. And embryonic stem cell research. And homosexuality. It seems the only issue where going to a Catholic church makes a difference is in views on the death penalty–and even then, 52% of church-going Catholics support it.

4 thoughts on “Gallup Poll on Moral Issues

  1. Pingback: Resisting the Call of the World

  2. I do not find this surprising. Other polls I have seen over the years reveal similar patterns.

    This data helps explain Notre Dame’s invitation to Obama. Many Catholics accept Obama’s positions.


    The failure of catechesis over the past two generations is one of the principal reasons. Making felt banners does not help produce a reverence for God and the moral law. Catechesis may have improved in the schools, but fewer Catholic children are going to Catholics schools or to religious education classes. Instead they are picking up their attitudes from their poorly-catechized parents, among whom are prominent politicians.

    But this still does not fully explain the difference. Why are Church-going Protestants better able to resist accepting prevalent secular attitudes to morality? Catholics once submitted to the teaching authority of the Church; many Catholics, even those who regularly attend church, have clearly rejected that, and have nothing to replace it except the standards of American society. Perhaps Protestantism, built upon a veneration of the Bible, has been better able to resist the moral acids of secularism. Catholics claim that the living authority of the magisterium is better able to meet moral challenges, but this does not in fact seem to be the case. Roma locuta est, but very few Catholics are listening. When the Bible speaks, (and it does speak clearly on many issues) many Protestants listen.

  3. While lack of catechesis is certainly a cause, there might be a more “cultural” argument to be made: Liberal Catholics are more likely to attend church weekly than liberal Protestants.

    One time at Rice, the LGBT group invited the national leader of the gay Catholic group to come talk. I asked him afterwards, if he didn;t agree with the Church on so many issues, why stay in it? His answer was basically inertia and an attachment to the Eucharist, and I think this goes for lots of liberal Catholics. The sacramental nature of the Churh creates incentives to attend Mass, since the Eucharist is believed to have actual power and effect.

    Liberal Protestants, meanwhile, probably have much lower church attendance rates. One can consider oneself a Protestant and still be quite liberal. But since most Protestant denominations allow individual reconciliation and identification with God, it’s much easier to skip out on Sunday services.

    Heck, plenty of conservative Prots I know from Rice miss church at least one Sunday a month…conservative Catholics wouldn’t dare.

Comments are closed.