Sex Abuse and the Papacy

The latest opinion poll connected with the papal visit was published by CNN (for whom it was conducted by ComRes) on 17 September, Pope Benedict’s first day in England. A representative sample of 2,028 adult Britons aged 18 and over was interviewed online between 14 and 16 September. This included 194 Roman Catholics.

The first of the four questions concerned the appropriateness of the Queen inviting the Pope to come on a state visit. Opinion was split, 36% deeming it appropriate, 37% inappropriate and 26% unsure. Catholics (68%) were most in favour of the visit, while the over-55s (47%) and those without any religion (47%) were most opposed.

The other three questions focused on the child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Asked whether the Church had shown sufficient public remorse for the scandals, only 10% thought that it had, against 74% who said it had not. There was relatively little variation by demographics, apart from Catholics, for whom the figures were 37% and 47% respectively.

The next question pressed whether the Pope had done enough to punish priests found guilty of child sex abuse. A meagre 4% believed that he had, compared with 77% who said that he ought to have done more. Catholics were not that much more impressed by Pope Benedict’s efforts, 13% thinking he had done enough and 66% not.

The final question tested views on whether the Pope should resign over the scandals. 24% were convinced that he should, ranging from 14% of Catholics to 30% among non-Christians and those of no religion. 47% (including 60% of Protestants and 74% of Catholics) wanted him to stay on.

CNN’s press release on the survey can be found at:

The full data tabulations are available at:

FOOTNOTE: Two further papal visit polls, one pre- and one post-visit, were conducted by Opinion Research Business, which has kindly agreed to publication of the data tables on BRIN:

ORB papal visit 14-16 Sep 2010

ORB papal visit 22-24 Sep 2010


British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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