Most Catholics loyal despite sex abuse scandal

Tue Jun 1, 2010 4:06pm EDT
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By Walker Simon

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church has not shaken the faith of most U.S. Catholics, according to a new poll.

Only 12 percent, or one out of eight Roman Catholics, is reevaluating ties to the church following reports of child sexual abuse, the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey showed.

The number was similar among members of all faiths in the United States, in contrast to Germany, where about a quarter of German Catholics were considering leaving the church over the abuse allegations.

In recent months, child abuse allegations against Catholic priests have roiled Europe, forcing resignations of bishops in Ireland, Belgium and Germany, in the biggest crisis in Benedict's five-year pontificate.

Pope Benedict met victims of abuse by priests during his April 2008 visit to the United States. The U.S. church has paid $2 billion in settlements to victims since 1992.

The poll of 855 adults, including 178 Roman Catholics, also showed that more Americans than before, 45 percent compared to 41 percent in 2009, believed that killings carried out by the CIA are "sometimes justified."

But less than third knew who directed the U.S. military.

When asked what profession came to mind when they heard the name of Robert M. Gates, 36 percent said "computer pioneer," apparently confusing the name of the defense secretary with that of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the world's wealthiest men.   Continued...