Poll: Catholic Church Hierarchy is Out of Touch

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Pope Benedict XVI

American Catholics feel the church’s hierarchy is out of touch with their needs and concerns, according to a new poll by the New York Times and CBS News.

Among the survey's findings: 66 percent want the next pope to be “someone younger with new ideas,” 69 percent favored allowing priests to marry and allowing women to become priests. Seventy-one percent said they want the next pope to allow artificial methods of birth control. And 46 percent said they don’t think the pope is infallible on matters of morality and faith.

“They have problems with the hierarchy, but they feel very strongly connected to their own parish,” said New York Times editor Marjorie Connelly. “They may say that they feel like the bishops are out of touch, but they don’t feel that most priests are out of touch. They don’t feel that their own parish priests are out of touch.”

But William Donohue, head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, doesn’t think the poll is representative.

“You find the people who are the most unhappy with the state of the Catholic Church are precisely the ones…who either have one foot out the door, or who have bolted altogether,” he said. “The people who paid the bills, that is to say the ones who go to church every week, they’re not the ones who are unfavorable about the pope, they’re not the ones who are clamoring for the changes.”