Carl Anderson

There is no more pressing evil facing the United States than the deaths of 40 million or 50 million unborn children in the abortion industry since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court opinion, according to a new poll that also reveals Catholics are being prompted by the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to vote their life issue opinions.

The poll was done by the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal benefit society founded in 1882 whose members just last year donated 68 million hours of volunteer time and $143 million to charitable causes.

“It’s very difficult to see an issue that trumps the pro-life issue when you understand that after 35 years, we’re talking about 40 million abortions, the deaths of 40 million children,” Carl Anderson, the organization’s supreme knight told WND. Estimates vary on the actual toll from abortion.

Anderson, who previously served as a special assistant to the president and acting director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, said the poll shows Catholics as a group are 40 percent more likely to vote in the 2008 presidential election because of their inspiration from the pope’s visit.

And he said the poll reveals fully half of the respondents expressed a desire to lead a “moral life” because of the pope’s visit.

The survey was done by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which has run independent research on elections for years. The poll surveyed 1,013 adults 18 years or older who live in the continental United States and were interviewed from April 22-24.

The survey results for all residents are statistically significant with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Catholics typically have been an influential voting bloc in U.S. elections, and Anderson said it appears while taxes, the war on terror, the economy and other issues are getting attention, the issues over life and abortion trump everything.

“What pressing evil tops that?” he said.

“The overview is this: Sixty-four percent of Catholics say they understand better the church’s position on issues now, and 40 percent of Catholics say they are more likely to vote as a result of Benedict’s visit,” Anderson said.

For candidates, he said, “This is big news. They ought to be paying attention.”

“His largest applause line on the trip was when he said we must defend unborn children at Yankee Stadium,” Anderson told WND. “I was there. Nothing else was close. And he had a similar experience at National Stadium.”

The survey showed after the visit, 66 percent of Catholics said they were more likely to appreciate being a member of the Catholic Church, 64 percent now better understand the church positions on important issues, 50 percent “are more likely to want to make family a bigger part of their lives and are more likely to want to lead a moral life,” about 40 percent are more likely to attend church, participate in elections and be active in their community, and one in three is more likely to want to contribute financially.

Benedict made his first visit to the U.S. from April 15-20, visiting in New York, Washington and at the United Nations. One of the emotional high points was his meeting with victims who had been sexually abused by priests in Boston.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents, which included both Catholics and non-Catholics, said they were satisfied with his apology for the harm from pedophile priests.

The poll included before-and-after results to gauge the impact of the visit, and those with a favorable view of Benedict rose from 58 percent to 71 percent.


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