VATICAN CITY (AP) — Fewer than a third of U.S. Catholics rate the honesty and ethical standards of clergy as “very high” or “high,” the latest evidence of the hierarchy’s diminished credibility as a result of the clergy sex abuse scandal, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.
The record-low 31 percent honesty rating marked an 18-percentage-point drop from 2017, a large fall after years of steady decline that followed a new global explosion of the scandal and revelations of high-ranking cover-up.
Catholics aren’t alone in the crisis, however. The Gallup survey also found that while the Protestants’ 48 percent positive rating for clergy is higher than Catholics’, 2018 marked the first time that fewer than half of surveyed Protestants had high marks for clerical honesty.
The poll of 1,025 adults was conducted Dec. 3-12 and had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. For results based on the total sample of 210 Catholics, the margin was plus or minus eight percentage points.
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