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Poll finds vast majority of U.S. Catholics concerned by church attacks


Thoranin Nokyoo | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 07/19/22

Concern over attacks on churches and pregnancy centers was one of the topics Catholics agreed upon the most.

A new poll from EWTN and Real Clear Opinion research is taking stock of the Catholic views on various U.S. policies and events. While Catholic voters are somewhat evenly split on matters of politics, one thing the overwhelming majority of them can agree on is concern over the growing trend of attacks on Catholic churches and pregnancy centers in the nation. The poll surveyed 1,757 likely Catholics voters between June 15 and 23, 2022. 

According to the report from EWTN, 84% of respondents said they were concerned over attacks on Catholic churches, with a further 81% citing concern over attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers. These figures were closely followed by 75% voicing concern over the toppling of Catholic statues. Overall, 72% said they feel that anti-Catholic sentiment is spreading throughtout the U.S. 

Church attacks

Attacks on churches and religiously sponsored pregnancy centers have certainly been on the rise since 2020. In the latest update to the USCCB’s tracking of such incidents in the U.S., it was reported that at least 154 incidents (including arson, destruction of property, and vandalism) were documented in 37 states and the District of Columbia. 

Catholic News Agency spoke with Mary FioRito, a Catholic commentator and Cardinal Francis George Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. FioRito said that Catholics “have a right to be concerned” over the disturbing uptick in attacks on Catholic institutions. She suggested they are antithetical to the foundations of the country: 

“We as Americans fought for the rights for everyone to be able to practice their religion without intimidation,” FioRito said. “It’s shocking; this should not happen in this country. It is not what we stand for.” 

Faith practice

The poll also found that devotional practices of the faithful have remained largely unchanged since the last poll in 2020. It was found that 55% of responding Catholics accept all or most of the Church’s teachings. The remaining 45% said they disagreed with one or more “key teachings” of the Church, or said their faith is only a minor influence in their lives. This group was also the most likely to call themselves “former Catholics.” 

The survey found that only one third (33%) of U.S. Catholics attend Mass weekly, with 14% reaching the pews just once or twice per month. On the topic of confession, only 37% responded that they seek reconciliation at least once per year. Conversely, 35% said they never go to confession. 

Only 50% of respondents believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. On the other side, 38% said they see the Eucharist as a symbol and believe the hosts remain bread and wine after consecration. These figures will be in focus during the National Eucharistic Revival taking place in the United States for the next three years. 

While Catholics voiced some confusion on the tenets of their faith, one area in which the majority of Catholics take part is prayer. It was found that 82% of responding Catholics said they pray weekly or more frequently. Furthermore, 26% reported praying the Rosary in its entirety at least once per week. 

Read all the findings of Real Clear Opinion Research at EWTN.

CatholicismFaithUnited States
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