Helped Understanding of Church Teaching
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, MAY 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A Knights of Columbus poll shows U.S. Catholics grew in their understanding of Church teaching, have a more positive impression of the Pope and are more likely to vote since Benedict XVI visited the United States.
The data collected by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and released today shows that the Holy Father's April trip affected both practicing and non-practicing Catholics.
For example, the proportion of practicing Catholics describing Benedict XVI positively as a spiritual leader went from 70% before the visit to 82% afterward, a 12% jump. Among non-practicing Catholics, the proportion went from 62% before the visit to 79% afterward, a 17% jump.
A majority of Catholics, 54%, said they were more in touch with their spiritual values as a result of the Pope's visit, and 41% said they were more likely to vote in the November elections. Sixty-four percent of Catholics said they better understand the Catholic Church's position on important issues as a result of the trip.
Eighty-eight percent of practicing Catholics, and 73% of non-practicing Catholics say the trip met or exceeded their expectations. And more than 70% of Catholics have a more positive view of the Church as a result of the visit, including 82% of practicing Catholics and 56% of non-practicing Catholics.
Half of those polled say they are more likely to make family a bigger part of their lives, while nearly 40% say they are more likely to become more active in their community or church.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said that the poll results "show clearly that Pope Benedict has presented the Catholics of the United States with a tremendous opportunity. Americans are a religious people, and they responded very positively to the message of faith, hope and love that the Holy Father delivered throughout his visit. It is now up to all of us in the Catholic community to walk through the door he has opened for us, and work together to build a civilization of love."
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion interviewed 1,013 adults nationwide, and the survey results issued today are from an over sample of an additional 502 Catholics nationwide, and are statistically significant at ±4.4%. All polling was done between April 22 and April 29, 2008, immediately following the Pope's return to Rome.