Poll: Most Catholics Say Clergy Sexual Abuse Continues

From a new survey by Pew Research:

More than 15 years after U.S. bishops pledged “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, reports of previously unpublicized misconduct continue to receive wide media coverage. A Pennsylvania grand jury last year uncovered decades of sexual abuse and coverup by Catholic leaders, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick – formerly the archbishop of Washington, D.C. – was forced to resign amid allegations that he sexually abused adults and minors.

Overall, about eight-in-ten U.S. adults say the recent reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic priests and bishops reflect “ongoing problems that are still happening” in the church. Far fewer (12%) think the recent reports reflect “things that happened in the past and mostly don’t happen anymore.”

What do U.S. Catholics think about these issues? A substantial majority (69%) say that abuse by Catholic clergy is an ongoing problem. However, U.S. Catholics are more likely than other Americans to say it has mostly stopped; one-quarter of Catholics (24%) say recent reports of misconduct reflect things that happened in the past and mostly don’t happen anymore, while just 9% of non-Catholics think the abuse happened in the past and mostly no longer goes on.

According to the Catholic League, sexual abuse by Catholic clergy has now been “largely checked.” Yeah.

The photo above is New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who with his fellow leaders last year paid lobbyists $10.6 million across eight states to battle bills that would enable victims to clergy sexual abuse to sue the church.