Catholics Question Loyalty to Church Amid Sex Abuse Scandal.

Join us:

Catholics Question Loyalty to Church Amid Sex Abuse Scandal.

More than one in three Catholics question if they want to remain Catholic — a sign of their deep “frustration” with church leadership amid reports of widespread sexual abuse, according to one expert.

In a Gallup poll last month, 37% of U.S. Catholics said news of the abuse caused them to doubt their loyalty to the church — up from 22% in 2002.

In a Gallup podcast Wednesday examining the results, lawyer and Catholic activist Sister Simone Campbell said Roman Catholic leaders need to pay attention to those findings.

She said the remark she most often hears about Catholics is “‘when will they ever learn, when will they stop this?'” adding the Pennsylvania attorney general report on decades of abuse was “shocking and horrifying.”

“Folks are really frustrated by that,” she said.

“My neighbor told me he quit going to church,” she recounted, but said more of “what I hear [from Catholics] is [they’re] shopping around more, looking for leadership they can trust.”

“When there are broader groups involved in managing the diocese . . . then there’s a whole different change,” she added, saying what is important for the church leadership to do is “being willing to talk about the sin of our church.”

“I do urge dioceses and bishops to have shared leadership, that includes men and women . . .  as well as not hiding from the sin of our past.”

Podcast producer Justin McCarthy also interviewed Catholics on a panel about their feelings about the church amid the sex abuse scandal.

“I wouldn’t even go to confession . . . how do you confess to someone who’s already committed more sins than I have,” one unidentified female panelist said.

One man recounted he no longer makes charitable contributions to the church because he believes “they’re using some of that money for lawsuits.”

Another lamented when he was in college, “I stopped going to church [though] I decided I [still] wanted to be a Catholic, I stayed in the church.”

“Then when all this stuff hit the fan . . . everyday I thought, ‘what am I doing? Is this something I want to be involved with? [Leaders] knew about this.”