Pew director says negative ratings tripled over mishandling of clerical sex abuse crisis
Pope Francis’s approval ratings have plummeted after a series of scandals and his cover-up of clerical child abuse have been recently exposed.
According to Alan Cooperman, the director of the Pew Research Center, the pope’s negative ratings are primarily a reflection of how he has handled the clergy sex abuse crisis.
Speaking this week during an interview on the Catholic Channel on SiriusXM radio, Cooperman told host John L. Allen Jr. that negative ratings for the pope had tripled, which is directly due to the way he dealt with the crisis of predator pedophile clergy in the Church.
Among U.S. Catholics, the pope’s approval rating plunged to an all-time low last month in the face of his refusal to respond to allegations that he covered up the crimes of child-abusing Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
According to Breitbart, only 30 percent of Catholic adults say Francis is doing an “excellent” or a “good” job addressing the sex abuse crisis, the Pew Research Center found in its most recent survey on the issue, a decline of 24 points since 2015 and 14 points from when Pew last asked the question this past January.
Similarly, a CNN poll in September showed the pope’s approval rating among U.S citizens falling to an all-time low, dropping below 50 percent for the first time since his election in 2013.
This week, the pope forbade the U.S. bishops from voting on new measures to address clerical sex abuse, a move that can only bring his approval ratings lower still.
Even the bishops themselves expressed consternation over the surprising Vatican intervention.
According to the papal ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the reason for the last-minute suspension of the vote was Francis’s concern for “communion,” meaning he wants the whole Church to move together rather than having national bishops’ conferences make their own policies — a justification that many observers find untenable.
The pope has convoked the presidents of the national Catholic bishops’ conferences to meet with him in Rome next February to discuss what can be done worldwide to address the issue.
More and more people, however, are seeing Pope Francis as part of the problem rather than part of the solution when it comes to clerical sex abuse.
Not only has Francis refused to answer allegations against him personally; he has also denied requests by the U.S. bishops to open a formal Vatican investigation into the McCarrick case.
In September, the president of the U.S. Bishops Conference (USCCB), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, traveled to Rome to urge Francis to launch the investigation but returned to the U.S. empty-handed.
“Back in 2014, 54 percent of American Catholics thought he was doing a good or excellent job,” Mr. Cooperman said Monday.
“Today it’s down to just 3 in 10, 30 percent of U.S. Catholics giving him a good or excellent, dropping 24 points in four years, 14 points just from the beginning of 2018.”
In comparison to previous popes, Francis is not seen particularly well, Cooperman said.
“For a while, he had a far higher favorability than Benedict, but I think that now he’s dropped down to Benedict’s level and even below it,” he said.
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