The National Catholic Review

A poll released last month by the Public Religion Research Institute sheds light on the impact of religion and the 2008 vote to abolish same-sex marriage rights in California. The poll finds that today, a slim majority of Roman Catholics, 51%, support same-sex marriage (interestingly, that number jumps to 57% when asking only Latino Catholics).

The poll also finds that:

  • A majority of Catholics believe that parents of gay and lesbian children are better sources of information about homosexuality than clergy; the opposite is true for most Protestants (in this poll, a grouping that includes Evangelical Christians)
  • Catholics are much less likely than all Protestants to hear about homosexuality from their clergy, though the message will likely be negative, as opposed to mainline Protestants, who are more likely to hear a positive message
  • A majority of Catholics and white mainline Protestants say that clergy should not speak out on the issue of homosexuality; the opposite is true for white evangelicals, black Protestants, and Latino protestants And in Sunday’s New York Times, an article that explores the slow march toward acceptance of same-sex marriage rights across the country.

Michael O'Loughlin



Jim McCrea | 8/25/2010 - 11:48am
Ed: I am shocked!  Shocked, do you hear!!  Are you actually implying that there might be homo-sex-you-all BISHOPS in this here Catholic Church?  If so, then, it must be that they are deeply closeted and possibly even self-hating.  But that's OK - anything to keep the job and give the impression that Unholy Mother the Church is united in her (ever wonder why the female identification of an organization that is so male dominated?) stand against homo-sex-you-ality.
ed gleason | 8/24/2010 - 9:16pm
Guess where the most annulments per praticing Catholic are. answer. In the most conservative dioceses of course.. . When the married Anglican priests swim the Tiber and some sadly may eventually divorce , do we cheer that they are now to be celibate or do we boo if they go for an annulment? What pray tell is the magisterium stance?  Many/Most are coming over because the Church of England is willing ordaining a gay bishop. Has anyone in the Vatican given them full disclosure about the Catholic bishop demographic?  Does the Vatican know the demographic? 
Where do you join the Tea Party For Catholic Issues?
Jim McCrea | 8/24/2010 - 6:47pm
Nancy @ #13 above:

A nice bit of casuistry there - or, if you prefer, sophistry.

And let's not even get into logic.
Jim McCrea | 8/24/2010 - 6:40pm
" - the Catholic Church's stance against divorce is well known."

- and it is ignored by Catholics at roughly the same degree as others.

The Catholic Church effectively gives tacit approval to divorce with what has become the charade of annulment.  In their 2002 book, “Catholic Divorce:  The Deception of Annulments”, Joseph Martos and Pierre Hegy state:
“Because the grounds for annulment have become so broad that practically anyone who applies for one can obtain it, many observers now regard annulments as ‘virtual divorces.’  After all, the same grounds for divorce in a civil court have ‘become grounds for the nonexistence of marriage in an ecclesiastical court.’  (Page 23)  To add to the deceit, many couples who receive annulments do so believing that their marriage was, in fact, sacramentally valid – that the marital bond did exist but that, over time, it began to break down.  These couples, understandably, choose not to disclose this part of the story to marriage tribunals so that they can qualify for an annulment.”
In other words it is the Catholic game of nudge-nudge, wink-wink.
Jim McCrea | 8/24/2010 - 6:38pm
"The irony is that the church doesn't recognize a civil marriage between two heterosexual Roman Catholics!"

But it happens all the time in Europe and neither the church nor those countries have sunk into the seas.
Anne Danielson | 8/24/2010 - 6:14pm
Since it is true that one cannot be a Catholic if one is not in communion with Christ's Church, then there are no Catholics who support same-sex marriage.
Anonymous | 8/24/2010 - 5:00pm
Here is the USCCB initiative on concerning marriage:

As you can see at this website, the bishops are not neglecting any aspect of marriage.  If you have not heard this fullness at your parish then please speak to your pastor and ask him why?
ed gleason | 8/24/2010 - 3:58pm
Rasmussen; what's more of a waste of time is not recognizing that Catholics are divorcing at the same rate as all others.
Adam Rasmussen | 8/24/2010 - 11:52am
Does Mr. O'Loughlin support gay marriage? His phrase "same-sex marriage rights" would seem to imply that he does, though perhaps that wasn't his intention.

If someone is physically incapable of having sex, then he or she can't get married. Even if a priest performed a ceremony, the marriage is invalid. Marriage is fundamentally a sexual relationship. He can still live with the woman he would marry if he could. 

Regarding sham marriages (Elvis example above), the Catholic Church's stance against divorce is well known. However, Catholics are just about the only group of people in the whole world and in all history who radically oppose divorce, so an attempt to make this the law of the land in America would be an utter waste of time. What's not a waste of time is fighting gay marriage, a winnable battle, at least at the moment. There is no hypocrisy here.
James Lindsay | 8/24/2010 - 11:52am
This is a telling finding.  I suspect that support for gay marriage will continue to grow among the laity (and secretly among the clergy) and that one day soon enough families will demand that the Church witness these weddings that Rome will discover scriptural justification for doing so.

Both Torah and Jesus recognize that when a couple gets married, they leave their family and cling to each other, forming a new family.  Families are the basic unit of society and marriage is an essential part of family life, both because it creates new families and allows the exit from one's family of birth.  From a civil rights perspective, marriage cannot be denied to gay people because they cannot be kept in their families of origin against their will.  Morally, the proof that the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is accomplished by the couple and only witnessed by the priest, is alive and well in the gay community, is how committed gay couples take care of each other in hard times (and gay people have harder times than most).  As Jesus said, by their fruits ye shall know them.
ROBERT NUNZ MR | 8/24/2010 - 11:07am
I think the broad generaklizations of Mr. Smith are an indication of the lazy thinking he complains about.
Clearly the idea of Christiamn marriage has evolved and will continue to, based on improved understandings and experience - not just personal whim.
David Pasinski | 8/24/2010 - 10:16am
As was pointed out, the ludicracy of the Church's marriage legislation has long been a scandal. I remember when a paraplegic was denied a sacramental marriage because he could not "consummate" the union! Luckily, they found another priest who didn't ask such qyuestions. However, when marriages can be annulled simply because it is discovered that they lack "form" (say, someone was baptized Catholic but it was not known at the time of marriage - I've seen this also!), the system has long been broken..._
ed gleason | 8/23/2010 - 7:37pm
We worked in Catholic marriage ministry for a five decades, preparing about 2500 couples for sacramental marriage. Quite a few were 'there' for the pics and to make grandma happy. we tried to evangelize them and as JPII said 'take them from where they are'. Also the rapid decline in Catholic weddings is a sea change...i.e. No grandma and pics are pics. . When a gay man asked me about how I was to vote on Prop 8 in San Francisco, he asked if I really cared about what was going to happen in the basement of city hall when at present a hetrosexual person can be married there for the 9th time by an Elvis impersonator. I googled a search for bishops' statements about sham civil hetro marriages and found none. We changed our concerns.  
Anonymous | 8/23/2010 - 6:55pm
And a majority don't want an Islamic Center at ground zero.  Should I trust the majority?
David Nickol | 8/23/2010 - 6:55pm
The high approval rate among Latino Catholics is interesting, although of course same-sex marriage had majority popular support in Spain an is now legal there.
David Pasinski | 8/23/2010 - 5:44pm
These statistics are very interesting, but it will take more work to understand what those polled think of "marriage" in general and the aspect of gay unions within that context. Certainly the drastic drop in those seeking religious ceremonies for weddings and the even higher drop among Catholic weddings points to something about the evolution of this status and the change from matrimony to marriage. Perhaps this is another, faster revolution than occured in those centuries in which the Church became the arbiter of marriage which is now ending. I suppose the obvious is the secularization argument, but I'm not sure of that.  Perhaps it is a different understanding of commitment and a very different sense of what is a "societal unit of order." I'll wait for some other research to weigh in...   
Dale Rodrigue | 8/23/2010 - 10:34pm
Also, I am sure you know this but the bishops oppose same sex civil marriage and want to preserve civil marriage as between a man and a woman.  The irony is that the church doesn't recognize a civil marriage between two heterosexual Roman Catholics!