Catholics want more focus on poverty than abortion, survey finds
Most U.S. Catholics believe the church should focus more on social justice and the obligation to support the poor, even if it means focusing less on issues like abortion, according to a new poll released Monday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.
The 2012 American Values Survey finding on Catholics goes against the focus of many U.S. Catholic bishops, who have been stressing the church’s ban on abortion and artificial contraception in public policy statements. The poll found that 60 percent of Catholics believe in a greater focus on social justice issues rather than abortion, while 31 percent say the opposite.
The divide was true even among Catholics who attend church once a week or more, a group that is often considered more socially conservative. A slim majority of this group, 51 percent, thought that the church should focus more on social justice issues.
“The survey confirms that there is no such thing as the ‘Catholic vote,’” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PPRI and co-author of the report. “There are a number of critical divisions among Catholics, including an important divide between ‘social justice’ and “right to life’ Catholics.”
U.S. bishops in this election season have made strong statements opposing same sex marriage, abortion and contraception, particularly in protest of the health care mandate which requires Catholic hospitals and universities to provide insurance that covers artificial birth control, which is against Catholic teachings. [more]