Catholics Share Bishops’ Concerns about Religious Liberty

Aug 01, 2012

Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops’ concerns about restrictions on religious liberty generally agree with the bishops’ concerns. Yet the bishops’ protests against government policies they see as restrictive of religious liberty have not drawn much more interest among Catholics than among the general public. And there are no significant differences in the presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard about the bishops’ protests and those who have not.

Nearly two-thirds of Catholics (64%) have heard at least a little about the bishops’ protests against a number of government policies, including Obama administration policies requiring religious institutions such as universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive services to their employees. But just 22% of Catholics say they have heard a lot about them. Moreover, only about a third of Catholic churchgoers (32%) say their priest has spoken out on this issue at Mass.

By a 56% to 36% margin, Catholics who are aware of the bishops’ protests about what they believe are infringements of religious liberty say they agree with the bishops’ concerns. Among all Americans who are aware of the protests, there is less support for the bishops’ position: 41% agree with the bishops’ concerns, while 47% disagree.

Read the full report, Catholics Share Bishops’ Concerns about Religious Liberty, on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's website.

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