Less than a third of Catholics in the United States regard priests as honest and ethical, according to a new poll, the latest blow to the Church’s credibility amid the ongoing fallout from priest sex abuse scandals.
A record-low 31 percent of US Catholics rate the honesty and ethical standards of the clergy as “very high” or “high,” a Gallup poll released on Friday found.
The honesty rating marks an 18-percentage-point drop between 2017 and 2018, when more sexual abuse allegations against priests and high-ranking cover-ups were exposed.
Gallup has measured the public’s views about the Catholic Church’s ethical standards since 1977 as part of its broader “honesty and ethics of professions” poll.
Ratings of the clergy have been declining steadily in the US since 2012, Gallup said.
The latest drop in Catholics’ positive views of the clergy’s ethics, from 49 percent to 31 percent, is the second double-digit drop since 2004.