US Catholics Like Benedict, but Not Rome

Poll shows faithful admire pontiff but find church out of sync
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2008 7:18 AM CDT
Demonstrators gathered outside the White House in Washington, Monday, April 14, 2008, to protest the alleged abuses of the Catholic priests as the city prepares for the first visit of Pope Benedict XVI...   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – As Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his first visit to America, a Washington Post poll finds that the pontiff enjoys wide support among US Catholics. Nearly three in four say that they have a positive impression of Benedict. But the poll also reveals that most Catholics find the church out of sync with their personal views, and that many remain pained by the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Some 62% of American Catholics said that the church is not reflective of their views—a 10% increase since Benedict became pope in the spring of 2005. One of the biggest divisions between Americans and Rome concerns the priesthood: a large majority of US Catholics believe that women should be ordained and that priests should be allowed to marry.