The results of an Irish poll shows that only 30% of those surveyed believed that Pope Francis did enough to address the issue of clerical abuse during his contentious recent visit. While 64% of the 840 people surveyed identified as Catholic, 48% of the total felt he did not do enough, while 22% were undecided.
During his Phoenix Park Mass, Pope Francis did reference the cover up of abuse in Ireland, he also met with a small group of sexual abuse survivors. However, the majority of those polled obviously felt more could have been done.
Queen’s University in Belfast carried out the survey on various topics related to the Papal visit. One of the researchers, Gladys Ganiel, stated: “Francis’s visit to Ireland has revealed a lot about how people in Ireland think about the Catholic Church. Even a Pope as popular as Francis cannot distract from the widespread dismay about the way that the church has handled clerical sexual abuse.”
Another question – had the visit been “a healing time for LGBTQI people and their families” received a positive response of only 23%. Another response open to interpretation on whether it is a positive or negative sign for religious institutions – 66% said their opinion of the Catholic Church had not changed since Francis became Pope.
Thoughts that the visit was not as widely attended as originally expected may also have been proven as 80% of those surveyed did not attend any of the events organised during the visit, with the majority stating they simply weren’t interested.
All in all, the results may be unsurprising as it seems that on both sides of the fence, people’s opinions pretty much held firm. On the results of the Irish poll, Dr Ganiel continued: “For all the respondents except practising Catholics, indifference seems to have trumped anger about abuse as a reason for not attending – although abuse is still the next most significant factor.”
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