Catholics want more focus on poverty than abortion: survey
Most U.S. Catholics think the church should focus more on social justice and helping the poor, even if it means focusing less on issues like abortion, according to a 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 stressed the church’s ban on abortion and artificial contraception in their public policy statements.
The poll found that 60 percent of Catholics want a greater focus on social justice issues rather than abortion, while 31 percent support the opposite approach.
The divide was true even among Catholics who attend church once a week or more, a group often considered more socially conservative. A slim majority of this group, 51 percent, thought 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, chief executive of the institute and co-author of the report. The survey included more than 3,000 respondents. “There are a number of critical divisions among Catholics, including an important divide between ‘social justice’ and `right to life’ Catholics.”
U.S. bishops strongly oppose same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception. They specifically oppose the mandate in the U.S. 2010 health care overhaul which requires hospitals, universities and other institutions to provide insurance that covers artificial birth control, which is against Catholic teachings. [more]