American Catholics still believe most priests are trustworthy despite their displeasure with the way their church has responded to allegations of sexual abuse, according to a poll.
About 82 percent of Catholics in the U.S. believe their priests are trustworthy, Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research said.
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Overall, however, just 31 percent say the church has handled the situation in a good or excellent manner. About 28 percent give the church a "fair" rating, while 36 percent think they've handled it poorly.
Non-Catholics have a more skeptical attitude toward Catholic priests, with 60 percent assessing them as trustworthy. Just 19 percent give the church good or excellent marks for handling the sexual abuse scandal.
The results come from a national telephone survey of 1,723 adults, including 405 American Catholics. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points for the full sample. For data reflecting Catholics only, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. In all cases, the margin of sampling error is stated with a 95 percent level of confidence.
The survey found 68 percent of Americans say that have followed the sexual abuse scandal somewhat closely or very closely. Among Catholics, the number is 77 percent.