here) that the religious beliefs of the one out of four Americans who call themselves Catholic are all over the lot. Fully 86 percent of them are not bothered that people holding beliefs contrary to official Church teaching consider themselves good members of the church. Even more amazing, four in ten Catholics say that you can be a good Catholic without believing in the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharistic bread and wine. Other interesting findings, in line with these ideas: less than a third (31 percent) of Catholics attend weekly mass, and nearly half (47 percent) don't go to mass as often as once a month.
It's their own moral views, not those of the Church, that matter say over half of Catholics, even those who attend mass every week. The sexual scandal has had a devastating effect on people's view of the Church leadership. Eighty-three percent think the scandal has sapped leadership's political credibility; 77 percent thinks it's damaged pastors' abilities to minister. And only 29 percent (doubtless the troglodyte element) think the bishops have done a good or excellent job in dealing with the issue. I'm frankly amazed that any percentage at all could believe this.
The reason I even take time to notice all this, and find some of it amazing, is that I well remember the Church that was adamant about the necessity of believing everything taught by the Church lest your immortal soul be endangered. (It wasn't that long ago, if you're a geezer like me. It was million years ago if the only Catholic Church you know is the post-Vatican II one.) That has changed completely. I note with some dismay, however, that opposition to the death penalty is still relatively rare among Catholics. None of the numbers to the left there particularly surprise or bother me. Indeed, this chart more or less mirror my own feelings, except I oppose the death penalty a good deal more vehemently.