Catholic public officials who oppose church teachings of the Catholic Church create confusion and disunity and should not present themselves for communion according to a poll released Tuesday by Catholic Vote, a national faith-based organization based in Wisconsin.
The survey has arrived at a pivotal time — just as President Biden is poised to visit the Vatican.
The new poll found that 83% of Catholics who regularly attend mass believe Catholic public officials who oppose essential church teachings create “confusion and disunity” among the churchgoers. It also revealed that 74% of Catholics say these public officials should not present themselves for communion — while 72% agreed that bishops should address such complex matters.
In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is set to consider the controversial question of whether Catholic politicians who support abortion and other substantive policies contrary to Catholic teaching should receive communion.
“Catholic politicians who advocate for policies considered ‘gravely immoral’ create confusion and discord among believers,” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, in a statement.
“Catholics’ concern about the flouting of Catholic social teaching by public leaders is less about politics and more about the integrity of the faith, along with reverence and respect due the Holy Eucharist,” Mr. Burch said.
The survey also found that 84% of the respondents agree that it is “hypocritical of any politician to campaign on their faith to get votes” and then advocate for policies contrary to their faith once they get in office.
“This polling data should bolster the confidence of Catholic bishops as they prepare to discuss how to recover an understanding of the beauty and richness of the sacrament — among all Catholics. The data is very clear: Bishops have an obligation to act,” Mr. Burch noted.
In addition, 87% of the poll respondents also believe Catholic bishops should defend the teachings of the Church, even if some Catholics might disagree with them on fundamental issues. Another 88% believe it is important for Catholic bishops to teach and lead others in matters of the faith, including those who are public officials and other people in influential or powerful positions.
The poll of 600 Catholic respondents was conducted June 1-8 and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.