As the world’s love affair with Pope Francis continues unabated, there’s one sour note for the pontiff: Even a majority of Catholics don’t buy what he’s supposed to be selling, rejecting the Church’s stance on divorce, marriage rights for clergy, and contraceptives.
Per Time magazine:
The Vatican faces a wide ideological gap with popularly held beliefs in many countries, a new poll [of more than 12,000 Catholics from five continents] finds.
On issues like contraception, gay marriage, divorce and women’s admittance into the priesthood, the Church is at odds with a majority of Catholics in many countries across the world, the poll shows.
Over 90 percent of Catholics in countries including France, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, and Colombia favor the use of birth control, a position that opposes official Catholic doctrine. And more than 60 percent of Catholics in countries including France, Spain, Poland, Brazil, Argentina and the United States believe priests should be allowed to marry.
Here are key results, courtesy of Univision:
The presence of swaths of South American Catholics who don’t support Vatican doctrine (nor adhere to it, presumably) is especially noteworthy, given that that part of the world is often seen as a Catholic stronghold.
If the Catholic Church wants more fertile ground for its teachings, it should probably concentrate on Africa, where 78 percent of Ugandan Catholics agree with the poll statement “An individual who has divorced and remarried outside of the Catholic Church, is living in sin which prevents them from receiving Communion,” and where 98 percent of Congolese Catholics object strenuously to same-sex marriage.
Time notes that its Person of the Year has
… opened up the Church with more inclusive language, but has yet to issue any fundamental changes in doctrine.
Here’s hoping that the Pope’s masterful window-dressing will soon be followed by actions signaling the Church’s arrival in the 21st century. Its own relevance depends on it.