“Real” US Catholics Love Pope Francis – and Support Gay Marriage.

New research destroys the claim that Catholics who support marriage equality somehow don’t count because they’re not regular Mass – goers. A Quinnipiac survey has found that even those who attend Mass once a week, support gay marriage, by a substantial margin.

That Catholics in general favour marriage equality, and do not even regard homosexual relationships as a moral issue, is not new. There have been many surveys in the past, to show this, and the degree to which Catholic support exceeds that of the population as a whole, and how support is growing steadily. The Quinnipiac result however, is more than usually significant, for its context: Pope Francis’ recent warning that the Church should be less obsessive about gay marriage, contraception and abortion. and in demonstrating that Catholics support now extends across all demographic sub-groups, Even in the oldest age group, there is at least a plurality of Catholics in support of gay marriage;

Quinnipiac Catholic Poll, Gay Marriage

Source data from Quninipiac; my graphic


The all – important context of the research, was a broader assessment of American responses to the new pope, which found that an overwhelming majority of US Catholics, almost 90%, have at least a  “favourable” opinion of Pope Francis, Only a tiny 4% have an unfavourable view of him – and those few are more likely NOT to be regular Mass – goers. The conservative claim that only those attending Mass frequently should count as “real” Catholics is fallacious (we need to consider also, just why they are not attending), but by their own standards, “real” Catholics are more likely than others to have a “very favourable” view of the pope – by 46% of regular Mass – goers, compared with 29% of other Catholics.

On the specific point of Pope Francis’ recent statement that “the church has become too focused on issues like homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives”, a strong majority agree, by 68% to 23% (almost three to one).  That extent of agreement was found fairly uniformly across all demographic sub-groups, This research demonstrates conclusively that those Catholics who continue to rant obsessively about these issues, including some US bishops, are not only out of line with Pope Francis’ own thinking and leadership – they are also out of touch with their own people. Those Catholics who continue to actively oppose LGBT equality and inclusion, in marriage and in church, are a vociferous but tiny minority. That should have been obvious for years, to any one willing to look at the evidence – but from the Pope, and from hard research, we now have the evidence to put it beyond doubt.

This matters. Fully orthodox teaching is that the Church must take due account and regard tor the findings of both natural and social science – and that includes the findings of social surveys, such as the Quinnipiac and similar opinion polls.

Along with his earlier statement during the celebrated in – flight press conference that gay men and lesbians in the Church should not be “marginalized”, as also in his long interview with Jesuit magazines, Francis also spoke of the need to look afresh at the pastoral needs of divorced and remarried Catholics. This was a topic due for discussion by the advisory group of eight cardinals meeting this week, and will be the subject of some form of longer investigation of “the marital state” promised by Pope Francis, for later. The focus of that longer investigation will certainly be conventional, heterosexual marriage, but it is inconceivable that any thorough analysis, taking full and proper account of all the findings of social science and social surveys on marriage and human sexuality, can simply ignore considerations of same – sex relationships.

Pope Francis is clear that he has no intention of changing church teaching, and nothing he has said so far in any way conflicts with any iota of doctrine. It is however, abundantly clear that whether intended or not, for gay and lesbian Catholics, the church is already changing in front of us. For now, that change is only in pastoral practice, but change in formal teaching will certainly follow. In the real world, changes in praxis come before changes in doctrine, and lead to it – not the other way around.



Enhanced by Zemanta
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

7 comments for ““Real” US Catholics Love Pope Francis – and Support Gay Marriage.

  1. October 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    We Catholic LGBTs forget that THE CHURCH is NOT the INSTITUTION with its petty rules/dictates intended to herd us. The ONE TRUE HURCH is the Mystical Body of Christ – Jesus united forever with ALL humanity – we are guided by the HOLY SPIRIT Who shows us the way. The Church “Institutional” errs frequently and can not ignore the Apostolic directive record in Acts of the Apostles that the Bishops/clergy MUST take their lead from the Faithful – through whom the Holy Spirit works and dwells with. This posting shows where the Faithful are being lead by the Spirit. Those who oppose the Spirit’s Will blaspheme the Holy Spirit – a grave sin. They need to take heed and I truly believe Francis I will accomplish what he intends for the Church – great changes in leadership/pastoral care – focusing not on rules and obsession with sexual issues but on the “PERSON” as Christ did !

    • October 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      thanks duckman, once again spot on. Indeed, we must never forget that “revelation” lies not only the Bible, or in “tradition and magisterium” – but also in the Holy Spirit, constantly speaking to God’s people, deep in our hearts. I like your reference to “the Apostolic directive record in Acts of the Apostles that the Bishops/clergy MUST take their lead from the Faithful”. That’s an important principle – do you have chapter and verse for that? Or just the exact words?

      • ChrisMorley
        October 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

        The Tablet has published an open letter to the Pope and the C8 cardinals from reform minded Catholics. There’s much you and other readers would welcome.

        • October 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm

          Chris…I tried to find the verse in Acts but was not able. I spoke to my Pastor/Priest after Mass to confirm that it is recorded in the NT – he confirmed it but believes it is in on of the Epistles – told me I’d have more luck asking a Protestant ! LOL I remember the verse because when I was in diaconate training, the verse was the basis in part for Vatican II creating a model of Church authority which was circular and not pyramidal (us – the laity at the bottom). If I can find it I’ll let you know. Problem is I can’t recall the exact wording – hence search engines aren’t helpful. Namaste

          • October 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

            Thanks for the help. This will be worth pursuing.

        • October 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm

          Thanks, Chris. In fact I was a panellist at the press conference when this letter was announced – and published it myself here at QTC, without comment, last Wednesday. scheduled for release the minute the embargo was up. I had been planning to follow up with some commentary, on this and other letters of interest, but was then distracted by some family matters. Your note has reminded me of unfinished business. I hope to get back to it, tomorrow.

  2. October 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Wonderful posting, Terry, encouraging and inspiring, with perennial truths we need to be constantly reminded of.

Leave a Reply