Among election-oriented questions, Catholics reveal the extent of the lockdown's influence on their faith.
A new poll produced by EWTN News in collaboration with RealClear Opinion Research has revealed striking numbers that suggest that many Catholics have experienced a renewal of faith during the long months in lockdown. While the poll was largely focused on political leanings and potential voting patterns, the most interesting results were seen in questions regarding the religious implications of the COVID-19 world pandemic.
According to the results provided by EWTN, more than 7 in 10 Catholics (71%) found it distressing that they could not attend Mass for so long, a number that rose to 80% in Catholics who were regular churchgoers prior to the lockdown. The poll suggests that this distress has had a heavy impact on the desire for faith practice, as more than half or respondents (52%) said they would like to attend Mass more frequently than they had prior to the pandemic.
Along with this increased desire to attend Mass, the majority of polled Catholics (58%) said they felt it was safe at this time to return to weekly church services. It was in this question that the narrowest margin could be seen, as 42% said they felt it was not yet safe to return to Mass. Catholic News Agency notes that the highest comfort levels for restored Mass attendance were found in Catholics located in the Midwest, while the lowest were seen in the Western regions.
The poll found that Catholics have been deep in thought over the course of the lockdown months, with more than 6 in 10 (61%) reporting that they now think differently about their faith. A further 79% said that the pandemic has brought them closer to God, and a resounding 93% said they are now closer to their families.
In the EWTN sponsored poll, John Della Volpe, Director of Polling for the Harvard University Institute of Politics, who oversaw the polling for RealClear Opinion Research, suggested that the issues Catholics take into consideration when deciding their votes have shifted due to the pandemic. He noted that poll results show that traditional concerns, such as those related to religious freedom, abortion, and the Supreme Court, have been somewhat overshadowed by concerns over the economy and healthcare.