Pope's Problem: Catholics Can't Agree on Anything

Church houses a diverse crowd that varies widely on social issues: William Saletan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 11, 2014 1:07 PM CST
Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

(Newser) – Based on recent poll results, you might think the Catholic Church needs to shift to the left. After all, Univision finds that 54% of US Catholics back same-sex marriage, 59% support women as priests, and 76% believe abortion should in some cases be allowed; in fact, "on every issue, American Catholics are more liberal than the church’s teachings." But the Vatican, of course, isn't listening only to the US, writes William Saletan at Slate. For instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, and Uganda, majorities of Catholics say abortion should be banned in all cases, the Univision survey finds.

Those countries, along with Mexico and Poland, also have majorities opposed to female priests—marking a difference from the US, Western Europe, Argentina, and Brazil. Only in the US and Spain do majorities support gay marriage; indeed, two-thirds of all respondents to the 12-country survey are opposed to it. To make things more complicated, there are divisions between young and old on same-sex marriage, not to mention the fact that 78% of all respondents back contraception. The countries in the survey are home to 60% of the world's Catholics. "On issues of family morality, the Vatican has a problem. But the problem isn’t just that Catholics don’t agree with the pope. The problem is that Catholics don’t agree with Catholics," Saletan writes. Click for the full piece. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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