Pope Francis faces church divided over doctrine, global poll of Catholics finds

Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision. On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.


Am I correct in assuming this poll doesn’t distinguish between practising Catholics and Catholics in general, which could include people that were baptised but have never been in Church since? If this poll polled based on whether somebody identified as Catholic, it could be filled with Catholics who are not practising and therefore are likely to have very different views on i.e. contraception and homosexual marriage than practising Catholics and therefore the results of this poll might not be representative of practising Catholics.

I think that you are correct in your assumption.

Yes, that seems to be the question with polls. Who is Catholic? Is it the baptized Parish member who attends the sacraments but secretly is a closet Protestant?

There is only one Church…Roman Catholic (Universal Church in Communion with The Bishop of Rome). There are many Christian denominations. All Christians by belief (who provide the minimal Sacrament of Baptism) belong to the Catholic Church. Those who don’t believe in the Catholic Doctrines, are protesting their own faith.


This is probably very true but it seems to be a circular (or chicken vs egg) argument as well. Maybe those who started disagreeing with what their pastors have told them stopped being practicing Catholics. I presume by “practicing” you mean church attendance at least every week.

Polls are as useless as the agenda they try to promote.

Polls mean nothing unless one knows the exact poll questions, how the poll was conducted, and how people were selected for polling. Not only that but the poll was commissioned by Univision, a Spanish language television corporation. With fluff like this they can avoid the real issues in places like Mexico, such as narco trafficking, and murder.

Well, the Catholic Church isn’t a democracy. It’s teachings proclaim the truth. As long as that truth is being proclaimed, if people reject that truth, it is between them and the Almighty ultimately. We need to pray very hard for our priests and religious to have the courage to teach the fullness of the Faith. In a skeptical world, it is our job to help others see the truth, especially by them seeing us live the truth.

Absolutely correct. The inmates do NOT run the asylum.

People fail to realize that the Church isn’t like any other entity on earth. No elections. No govenment for the people; by the people. No “court of appeals”. There’s God’s Law; and that’s it. Period.

I worry about those people. Alot.

If this poll is the Synod Survey recently sent out by the bishops, it is fundamentally flawed. I have conducted survey research for 40 years for Fortune 100 companies and know good research from bad. The Synod Survey was bad. Here’s just one example. It required voluntary participation to go to the website and invest 15-20 minutes to answer the questions. Only those strongly motivated would make such an effort, i.e., those with strong opinions for or against Church teachings. Clearly, this does not yield a representative sample. There were many other flaws that could easily have been avoided.

There are thousands of pollsters who know how to conduct a proper survey, why did those clergy in charge of this survey and their supervisors allow such sloppiness? The most likely answer is that their methodology appeared to be the most economical way to conduct the survey, but if so, it would be a classic case of “penny wise and pound foolish”.

God give our Church leaders the wisdom and humility to do their jobs with intelligence, objectivity and courage.

This poll does show how much more we (priests, deacons AND devout lay people) need to focus on these topics in child and adult faith formation.

I read a book that said when the immigration of people from Catholic nations was in full force in the 1800s and early 1900s, Catholic parishes were always being influenced by devout family members and Parishioners. But when that stopped, it became easier for us to be influenced by America’s Protestant culture. Because after all, while we do have a large Catholic population (the largest Catholic minority in the world), the USA is a Protestant nation.

Point is, we need to do a better job teaching against Protestantism and make sure people understand WHY we teach what we teach.

God bless

Wow. Talk about irresponsible polling and unscientific
conclusions. Univision? The Spanish language network?
Representative of WHAT demographic exactly?

Pope Francis doesn’t think it’s important to follow
the Magesterium? When did he ever say that?
Obviously if the Magesterium is not to be followed
than the Pope shouldn’t be followed either. So his
opinion would be irrelevant anyway. Lol.

Wow Univision. Ignorant much?

If only 36% of Catholics believe Priests must be Men in the US, then we have a bigger issue. If these poll numbers are correct, this is more alarming to me (we all could have guessed the the numbers for birth control and divorce).

What this poll says to me more than anything is that we need better and more people who can teach the Catechisms very well, and learning the why. Most are not learning it at home.
We also need more Catholic Evangelists, Evangelizing our own Parishes and Protestants.

God Bless

Good thing we aren’t run by referendum! I mean this both on the doctrinal teachings of the church and on the reaction to some Catholics to the diversity within the Church. We are all on a journey and not all at the same place. Maybe we don’t have to be. The only one I can make a judgement on is myself, and I am so glad God is kinder than I am. How about reading the “Joy of the Gospel”.

My 2 cents from a Protestant POV;

First, I think that is one of the draws of the RCC faith; the Pope and the Magisterium decide what is doctrine, dogma, etc… as leaders of the church, and they also decide how to present the information to the congregations.

Second, I don’t think it is “Protestantism” that the RCC needs to be speaking out against, and teaching against, but rather Secularism. Conservative protestants are far more united and inline with conservative practicing Catholics than secularists and non-practicing or cafeteria Catholics. Protestants, in short, aren’t “your” problem. If you turn your gaze to fellow Christians, it misses the point of what is happening to our culture, esp. here in the U.S.

True. Although it may be hard to see that on this forum, Protestants and Orthodox are supposed to be partners in dialogue with a goal of reunion, not enemies to debate with.

this translates to:

“Church is divided because proper teachings are not being adhered to.”

The church cannot be divided - simply because, you’re either in, or you’re out.
Those who are in disagreement are not in full communion. (obviously)…which means they are not in full communion with Christ himself. And let me just point out another obvious: Church teachings ought not to be based on polls, but be directly from God himself. We don’t need opinion polls, we the Sovereignty of Christ.

Oh my, I can’t believe I just wrote that. Coming from a Protestant background, what I just wrote certainly does seem foriegn. LOL

A. This wasn’t a poll, this was a survey, which is completely different.
B. This was self-selecting, so it is not remotely representative of the general population.

The reporting on this, and the attempt to create controversy, is absurd.

As far as I can tell, this Univision poll does not appear to be the Synod for Family Life poll, but I share your concerns about the latter. The Synod poll was announced in our Church bulletin and in our diocesan newspaper, and I have submitted my answers. But the way it is set up, as you describe, could lead to very skewed results! There is really nothing stopping anyone with any sort of agenda from submitting numerous times - Catholic or not. And old-timers like my mother, who do not use the Internet, are so far left out of the process. Whoever set up the Synod survey seems to be perhaps too naïve or trusting, but it will still be interesting to see the results, and especially what the bishops do with those results.

I hope you understand very well what doctrine, dogma, etc, mean

I agree with your second point though I dont understand the realities of the Christian faith in the US since I am not there.

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