April 25, 2002 - Bishops Who Hid Alleged Sex Abuse Priests Should Quit, New Jersey Residents Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Catholics 2-1 Want Women Priests, Married Priests
Bishops who did not report allegations of sexual abuse of young people by priests to authorities and instead assigned them to other parishes should resign, 75 percent of New Jersey residents, - including 71 percent of New Jersey Catholics - tell a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

A total of 72 percent of New Jersey Catholics say the Church's handling of the allegations of sex abuse of young people by priests is "not so good" or "poor," and 18 percent say the controversy has shaken their faith in Catholicism.

By a 68 - 21 percent margin, New Jersey Catholics say priests should be allowed to marry. And Catholics favor 64 - 27 percent allowing women to be ordained priests.

"Catholics and non-Catholics alike think that bishops who fail to report sex charges against priests should quit," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "A lot of New Jersey Catholics think the priestly celibacy rule has contributed to the sex scandals and two-thirds of them say priests should be allowed to marry.

"For good measure, two-thirds of Catholics say women should be allowed to become priests."

Eleven percent of Catholics say the controversy has shaken their faith in their own parish priests and 43 percent have lost faith in their bishops and cardinals.

"It's bad enough news that many New Jersey Catholics' faith in their Church and in their parish priest has been shaken. Much worse news is that almost half of them say they've lost faith in the men who run the Church - the bishops and cardinals," Carroll said.

Seventeen percent of New Jersey residents have a "very favorable" opinion of Pope John Paul II, and 47 percent have a "favorable" opinion, with 14 percent "unfavorable" and 4 percent "very unfavorable." Among Catholics, 33 percent have a "very favorable" opinion, with 52 percent "favorable," 8 percent "unfavorable" and 1 percent "very unfavorable."

Looking at religion among New Jersey residents:
  • 52 percent of residents, including 55 percent of Catholics, say religion is very important in their life;
  • 65 percent of residents, including 80 percent of Catholics, are members of a church or synagogue;
  • 30 percent of residents say they were raised as Protestants and 31 percent are Protestants today;
  • 51 percent say they were raised as Catholics, but 41 percent identify themselves as Catholics today;
  • 6 percent say they were raised Jewish and identify themselves as Jewish today.
Among Catholics, 29 percent are "very confident" and 45 percent are "somewhat confident" that the Church will improve the way it handles allegations of sexual abuse of young people by priests.

From April 17 - 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 990 New Jersey residents, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The survey includes 418 Catholics statewide, with a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys as a public service and for research.

Complete poll results are available at www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

18. How important would you say religion is in your life - very important, fairly important, or not very important?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Very important 52% 49% 55% 45% 64% 80% 35% Fairly important 29 26 34 36 32 19 45 Not very important 18 23 10 19 3 - 19 DK/NA 1 1 1 - 1 - 2



19. Do you happen to be a member of a church or synagogue?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes 65% 54% 80% 73% 87% 96% 68% No 34 45 19 27 13 4 32 DK/NA 1 2 - - - - -



20. Would you say you attend religious services every week, almost every week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, or never?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Every week 25% 21% 32% 24% 39% 72% - Almost every week 10 8 13 9 16 28 - Once/twice a month 18 18 17 17 16 - 30 A few times a year 30 31 29 38 20 - 52 Never 17 22 10 11 8 - 17 DK/NA - 1 - - - - -



21. Is your opinion of Pope John Paul the Second very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Very favorable 17% 6% 33% 31% 35% 41% 26% Favorable 47 45 52 51 52 51 52 Unfavorable 14 19 8 8 7 4 11 Very unfavorable 4 7 1 1 1 1 1 DK/NA 17 24 7 9 5 4 9



22. How closely have you followed news stories about the controversy over sexual abuse of young people by Catholic priests? Very closely, fairly closely, not too closely, or not at all closely?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Very closely 36% 31% 43% 42% 43% 52% 35% Fairly closely 47 49 45 43 48 41 49 Not too closely 11 12 9 10 8 5 12 Not at all closely 5 6 3 5 1 1 4 DK/NA 1 1 - - - - -



23. How would you rate the Catholic Church's handling of allegations of sexual abuse of young people by priests? Excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Excellent 2% 1% 4% 5% 4% 6% 3% Good 15 13 18 19 17 18 18 Not so good 29 25 34 28 40 41 29 Poor 46 51 38 41 35 31 44 DK/NA 8 9 6 8 4 4 7



24. Do you think that church officials should report to public authorities all allegations of sexual abuse of young people by priests, or only those allegations that they believe to be true?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


All allegations 73% 72% 74% 74% 74% 72% 76% Only believed to be true 22 22 21 22 21 24 19 DK/NA 5 5 5 4 5 5 5



25. Do you think that Catholic bishops who did not report allegations of sexual abuse of young people by priests to public authorities and instead relocated these priests to other churches, should resign from their positions or don't you think so?
                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes/Should resign 75% 78% 71% 75% 67% 62% 78% No/Should NOT resign 16 11 23 18 27 31 17 DK/NA 9 11 6 7 5 7 6



26. As you may know, the Catholic Church does not allow priests to marry. Do you think this policy contributes to the problem of sexual abuse of young people by priests or not?

IF "YES" -- Would you say it contributes a great deal, some, or only a little?
                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes, a great deal 33% 37% 27% 27% 26% 18% 34% Yes, some 21 23 17 15 19 18 16 Yes, only a little 4 3 5 5 5 5 5 No, doesn't contribute 36 29 45 47 44 51 41 DK/NA 7 8 6 6 6 7 5



27. Which do you think has done more to hurt the Church's reputation - the sexual abuse of young people by priests or the way the church has handled the allegations?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Abuse by priests 31% 33% 29% 27% 30% 28% 29% Church's handling of allegations 42 38 47 46 48 52 43 BOTH(VOL) 21 24 18 19 18 14 22 DK/NA 6 5 6 9 4 5 6



28. What religion were you brought up in? Were you brought up Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or some other religion?

                      Tot


Protestant 30% Catholic 51 Jewish 6 Other 10 NO RELIGION(VOL) 2 DK/NA 1



29. What is your religious preference today? Do you consider yourself Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or some other religion?
     
                      Tot


Protestant 31% Catholic 41 Jewish 6 Other 12 NO RELIGION(VOL) 8 DK/NA 2



30. (If 'Catholic Q29) Has the controversy over sexual abuse of young people by priests, shaken your faith in Catholicism, or not?

                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                              Attend services:
                     TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes 18% 17% 19% 13% 22% No 78 79 77 85 73 DK/NA 4 4 3 2 5



31. (If 'Catholic Q29) Has the controversy over sexual abuse of young people by priests, shaken your faith in your own parish priest, or not?

                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                              Attend services:
                     TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes 11% 13% 8% 5% 15% No 85 83 87 93 78 DK/NA 4 3 5 2 6



32. (If 'Catholic Q29) Has the controversy over sexual abuse of young people by priests, shaken your faith in Bishops and Cardinals, or not?

                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                              Attend services:
                     TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes 43% 40% 46% 36% 48% No 53 54 52 61 46 DK/NA 4 6 2 2 6



33. (If 'Catholic Q29) Has the controversy over sexual abuse of young people by priests, shaken your faith in the Pope, or not?

                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                              Attend services:
                     TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Yes 16% 16% 17% 16% 16% No 81 80 82 82 80 DK/NA 3 4 2 2 4



34. (If 'Catholic Q29) Do you favor or oppose allowing Catholic priests to get married?
                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                              Attend services:
                     TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Favor 68% 65% 70% 57% 76% Oppose 21 22 21 31 14 DK/NA 11 13 9 12 11



35. (If 'Catholic Q29) Do you favor or oppose allowing women to be ordained as Catholic priests?

                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                              Attend services:
                     TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Favor 64% 63% 65% 60% 68% Oppose 27 26 27 32 22 DK/NA 9 11 7 9 10



36. How confident are you that the Catholic church will improve the way it handles allegations of sexual abuse of young people by priests - very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not confident at all?

                                     CATHOLICS...............................
                                                              Attend services:
                      Tot    NonCath TotCath  Men     Wom     Weekly  Less


Very confident 19% 12% 29% 27% 31% 39% 21% Smwht confident 37 32 45 43 48 45 46 Not too confident 25 29 18 20 16 10 23 Not confident at all 13 17 7 8 5 4 9 DK/NA 6 9 2 3 1 3 1