Doubts Linger about Church Abuse Crisis

Associated Press, carried in San Jose Mercury News [San Jose CA]
February 27, 2004

Two-thirds of Americans, including a majority of Catholics, say they disapprove of the Catholic church's handling of the child sex-abuse scandal, says a poll out Friday.

While still negative in several areas, the public's view of the Catholic church's handling of the sex-abuse scandal has improved since October, according to the ABC News-Washington Post poll.

In October, six in 10 said they do not think the Catholic church can be trusted to handle the sex-abuse problem in the future, while just over a third, 35 percent, said they the church can be trusted on this issue. In the new poll, half said the church cannot be trusted, while four in 10 said it can.

The number of people disapproving of the church's handling of the crisis has dropped from 77 percent in October to 66 percent now. The number of Catholics who feel that way dropped from 70 percent in October to 53 percent now.

More than half in the poll, 54 percent, said they now have a favorable view of the Catholic church - up from 40 percent who felt that way in December 2002.

The poll of 1,028 adults was taken Feb. 18-22 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


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