Big differencing between considering and leaving Church – researcher

Big differencing between considering and leaving Church – researcher Mark Gray of CARA

The headlines from a Gallup Poll about the growing number of US Catholics who have thought about leaving the Church because of the clergy abuse crisis did not faze one researcher of Catholic data too much.

“There is a substantial difference between considering leaving and leaving. It is also the case among those who do leave, some come back,” said Mark Gray, director of Catholic polls and a senior research associate at Georgetown University’s Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate, or CARA.

“When you think about the question about considering leaving, I am frankly surprised the percentage isn’t higher.

“Given the realities of the scandal I think it is natural to ask oneself questions about membership and identity,” he said after last week’s poll.

It revealed that 37% of US Catholics, up from 22% in 2002, said the abuse scandal in the Church has led them to question whether they would remain Catholic.

The poll’s results are based on interviews with 581 US Catholics from January 21-27 and February 12-28.

Gallup conducted a similar poll in 2002 after The Boston Globe reported on clergy abuse gained widespread attention.