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U.S Catholics show mixed views on Pope

Results of a new Zogby Interactive survey show mixed results among American Catholics’ evaluations of Catholic Church leaders.

Both Pope Benedict XVI and American Catholic Bishops receive largely negative ratings in their handling of the sexual abuse situation with the church. However, pluralities approve of the overall job performance of both the Pope and Bishops. In addition, a clear majority of American Catholics believe Pope Benedict XVI should continue to serve as Pope.

Fifty-six percent of American Catholics approve of the overall job that Pope Benedict XVI is doing, with 32 percent disapproving. Approval of U.S. Bishops is somewhat lower, with 45 percent approving of their overall job, and 44 percent disapproving.

When asked specifically about how Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with the sexual abuse situation within the Catholic Church, a plurality of American Catholics give negative ratings to both the Pope and American Catholic Bishops. Only 15 percent believe that Pope Benedict XVI has done an “excellent” job addressing the sexual abuse situation within the Church, with 23 percent believing he has done a good job, 26 percent believing he has done a fair job and 30 percent believing he has done a poor job.

Ratings for American Bishops are lower, with 8 percent rating the Bishops’ efforts to address the sexual abuse situation within the Church as excellent, 12 percent rating their efforts as good, 29 percent rating their efforts as fair and 43 percent rating their efforts as poor.

Some have called for Pope Benedict XVI to resign as a result of the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Others believe he should not resign.

Finally, though a plurality give Pope Benedict XVI a “poor” rating on addressing sexual abuse within the Church, a clear majority of American Catholics believe Pope Benedict XVI should remain Pope. Only 16 percent believe the Pope should resign as a result of sexual abuse within the Church, while 64 percent believe he should continue as Pope, and 20 percent are unsure.

The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

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