Polish Catholic Church say clergy have sexually abused up to 382 children

15 Mars, 2019, 06:42 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Pope Francis arrives to board a bus as he leaves for a week of spiritual exercises in the village of Ariccia at the Vatican Sunday

Some 37 percent of Catholics polled said they have personally questioned whether they should remain with the church compared to 22 percent in 2002.

That year, The Boston Globe Spotlight team's investigation into clerical abuse and the church's cover-up in the Boston area helped expose the scandal nationwide.

Poland's powerful Catholic church on Thursday published a report admitting that almost 400 of its clergy had sexually abused children and minors over the last three decades, reflecting findings published last month by a charity focused on abuse in the church.

Catholics who attend church weekly are less likely to consider leaving the church than those who attend less frequently or rarely.

That's according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday that found 37 percent of American Catholics say news of reported sexual abuse by priests has them reexamining their religion, up from 22 percent in 2002.

The population of those questioning their membership in the church does not break along age or gender lines.

Last month the Polish charity "Have no fear", which supports abuse victims, delivered its own report to Pope Francis in which it calculated - purely on the basis of media reports collated since the mid-1950s - that at least 384 minors had been sexually abused by clergy in Poland.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com's request for comment.

Other surveys have indicated that Catholicism in the USA has experienced sharp losses due to people leaving the faith.

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Gallup suggested that the current sex abuse crisis could have a lasting effect on the U.S. Catholic Church.

Overall, there are 6.5 former Catholics for every convert to the religion in the US - a far higher ratio of losses than any other religion in the country, researchers found.

In addition, almost half of American Catholics believe that the church should recognize and accept gay marriage. Just 30% of American Catholics said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the bishops.

The poll also found that a majority of Catholics say they have either a great deal (40 percent) or quite a lot of confidence (18 percent) in Pope Francis.

The numbers deteriorate slightly more when Catholics were asked about US bishops and other leaders in the faith: Just 30 percent had a lot or a great deal of confidence, while 26 percent have very little or no confidence.

While the pontiff remains extremely popular in many circles, questions about his leadership have swirled since the abuse crisis began engulfing the church in 2018.

"U.S. Catholics are still mostly confident in Pope Francis, but it could be argued that the 58% expressing confidence in him is somewhat weak given his role as leader of the Catholic church", Gallup said in an analysis of its survey.

Catholics are spread across the country, with 27 percent living in the South, 26 percent in the Northeast, 26 percent in the West and 21 percent in the Midwest, according to Pew Research Center.

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