Follow usTwitterFacebook

Latest

31 Dec 2015 Q&A Comments (2)

Was I wrong to take the host back to my pew?

Full Question I sit in the first row at Mass because I am hearing-impaired. When visiting a church recently, the usher gestured for me to go up for Communi…

Read more

31 Aug 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Baghdad patriarch urges international community to do more to stop ISIS

Patriarch Sako said Christians are waiting for governments and religious authorities to work together to 'confront and dismantle terrorism' A Patriarch of the …

Read more

23 Oct 2014 USA Comments (1)

We're 'just touching the surface' of St John Paul II's teachings

Washington D.C., Oct 23, 2014 / 05:02 pm .- St. John Paul II's life and teachings offer a witness to love that is so profound it is only beginning to be be mine…

Read more

08 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (5)

Does the Sunday observance begin on Saturday evening, in imitation of the Jewish sabbath?

Full Question In ancient Judaism the sabbath was from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. If Sunday is the Christian sabbath, should we celebrate it …

Read more

10 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Church’s mission is not political, says Coptic pope

As Egypt prepares for parliamentary elections, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, to which most of the nation’s Christians belong, emphasized that the “Cop…

Read more

27 Jan 2015 Articles Comments (2)

Catholics! Keep Your Trees Up!

New Year’s Day promises two certainties: college football bowl games and Christmas trees on the curb. To Catholics, of course, January 1 is the Solemnity …

Read more

17 Sep 2014 Vatican No comments

Pope Asks for Prayers for Upcoming Trip to Albania

At the end of today's general audience, Pope Francis greeted those present in various languages. In his greetings in Arabic, he addressed the faithful of the Ho…

Read more

08 Apr 2015 Q&A Comments (1)

Why was it necessary for Jesus to have been born of a woman?

Full Question Why was it necessary for Jesus to have been born of a woman? Answer Vatican II responds: The Father of mercies willed that the Inc…

Read more

16 Sep 2014 Vatican No comments

2015 World Meeting of Families Will Help Synod on the Family

The 8th World Day of Families, to be held in Philadelphia from September 22-27, 2015, was presented today in the Holy See Press Office. The theme of the event w…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Look for a ‘Francis effect’ at the voting booth, not in the pews

After any pope visits the US, pollsters try to measure his impact by tracking Catholic Mass attendance.

That may be the wrong place to look.

Instead, the voting booth may indicate a “Francis effect” — signs Catholics are considering the pope in their political decisions, according to a new survey from Faith in Public Life released Wednesday.

Catholic clout is mighty in a country where 20 percent say they’re Catholic, six in nine US Supreme Court justices are Catholic, and more than half a dozen 2016 presidential candidates claim it as their faith. When the pope goes to Capitol Hill nearly a third of his Congressional audience will be Catholics.

Faith in Public Life and the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America set out to assess how Francis is shaping public policy discussion ahead of his US tour Sept. 22-27.

The survey of Catholic voters found that, while large majorities approve of Francis’ leadership, there were “significant partisan differences.”

Other striking differences were revealed by a close look in three areas — economic inequality, environmental stewardship and the pope’s call for a “new balance” between traditional teachings on abortion, sexuality and marriage, the so-called “non-negotiables,” and an emphasis on care for the poor.

The study of Catholic votes was based on an unusual methodology. A YouGov Internet survey was conducted July 22-31. It asked overall questions of more than 1,400 Catholics, among them 400 respondents from 2016 election battleground states.

In addition, researchers added an experiment. Respondents were divided into two groups and shown different short, mock-up news stories that appeared to be from The Washington Post. Half of the respondents saw stories that made Pope Francis the primary advocate of an idea. The other half saw an alternative message attributed to unnamed “religious leaders” or “climate change experts.”

  • 54 percent of voters who read the pope’s call for a greater emphasis on a “new balance” of issues said they thought religious leaders should “keep out of political matters,” compared with 48 percent who read a mock story from unnamed leaders stressing “non-negotiable” sexuality, abortion and marriage issues as a priority.
  • 59 percent who read the pope’s social justice message agreed “there is a culture war between religious and secular people in this country today,” compared with 67 percent who read the alternative article.

Weeks before the data was collected, Pope Francis issued his“Laudato Si’” encyclical — a powerful call for environmental stewardship as a moral issue. Half of survey respondents were given a news article about the encyclical to read, while half read a similar call to action from unidentified “climate experts.”

When it comes to persuasion, the pope appears to have more influence on Catholic Republicans than on Democrats (in large part because most Democrats already agree with him).

Catholic Republicans who read about the encyclical were more likely to agree that humans are responsible for climate change (37 percent) than those who received the secular alternative story (27 percent).

The survey asked Catholic voters whether in elections Catholics should pay attention to a range of policy issues or a set of “non-negotiable” issues.

It found that voters with income above $100,000 were overwhelmingly more likely to prefer the pope’s “new balance” message (84 percent) than middle- and lower-income Catholics (78 percent).

Neither income grouping showed much support for the “non-negotiables” message.

“It surprised me that there was so much variation within the US Catholic community,” said University of Louisville political science professor David T. Buckley, who led the research.

Questions on the economy showed the greatest gaps of all. Respondents were asked a question Buckley called “highly charged,” drawn from Pope Francis’ recent Latin American tour remarks in which the pope criticized capitalism.

People were asked to agree or disagree on whether “unregulated capitalism poses a significant challenge to promoting human life and dignity.”

“It was a serious question but that one that did justice to the pope’s really challenging comments on this issue,” Buckley said.

Among liberal and moderate Catholic voters, 65 percent who read the pope’s message agreed with it, 28 percent were neutral and only 7 percent disagreed.

But agreement plummeted to 25 percent among conservative Catholic voters. Another 27 percent were neutral. And nearly half (48 percent) disagreed.

Conservatives were significantly more likely to accept the message from generic secular experts, the study found.

While the survey was focused on Catholic voters, Pope Francis could have a far wider impact because of his immense popularity among non-Catholics, said experts at a panel discussion Wednesday where the survey data was presented.

Sister Simone Campbell, the leader of NETWORK who stepped off the activist group’s latest “Nuns on the Bus” lobbying tour to join the panel, said she is astonished by how many non-Catholics tell her, “He’s MY pope.”

In particular, she hears from immigrants and African-Americans about how “nourishing” it is to hear Francis say, “We are all in this together.”

Statistics are important, said Campbell. But the the value of the pope’s tour is strongest for “our people who are suffering. . Pope Francis is going to challenge us to bridge the divides and heal our nation.”

His work is cut out for him. The week after he leaves, Congress takes on the federal budget and threats of a government shutdown.









wpsd_autopost:
1

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories