STUDY: Catholics Aren’t Nearly As Anti-Gay Or Pro-Child Rape As Their Pope

Some Queerty readers can’t understand why a gay person would choose to remain Catholic . But it makes more sense when you realize that most U.S. Catholics disagree with Papa Ratzi and the church’s official positions on homosexuality and child rape.

A recent study of changing American Catholic attitudes since 1987 revealed that:

– Only 35 percent of Catholics oppose same-sex marriage.

– Only 16 percent of Catholics say church leaders have “the final say” on homosexuality, down from 32 percent over the past 25 years.

– 57 percent of Catholics say individuals have “the final say” on homosexuality, up from 39 percent over the past 25 years.

– 83 percent of Catholics say the clergy sexual abuse has hurt the bishops’ moral and political credibility.

So being Catholic means ignoring your community’s supposed figureheads, huh? Hey, a lot of us LGBTs feel the same way about our supposed figurehead at the Human Rights Campaign! Maybe we have more in common than we thought!

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  • kylew

    This is heartening, puzzling and disturbing. It’s good that catholic parishioners are more liberal than their leadership, puzzling to know why why on earth they stick with a religion whose basic tenets they disagree with, and disturbing because it shows their capacity for self-delusion.

  • MikeE

    Think about it: the Canadian province of Québec – almost 100% catholic – was the first territory in North America to give some sort of recognition to same-sex couples (civil unions), and had gay rights protected in its constitution since at least the mid-late 1980’s.

    The majority of Québec’s catholics (including a high percentage of nuns and priests) believe women should be allowed into the priesthood (something the Vatican is firmly against).

    So, being catholic does NOT mean you have to agree with the church hierarchy. Sadly, that hierarchy is solidly protected from any “change from within” by its very construction.

  • MikeE

    @kylew: maybe because “anti-gay” is not a “basic tenet” of catholicism. there’s a lot more to the faith than that matter. while it IS an important one, I can honestly say I’ve NEVER heard a word spoken in church (for the time I did participate – my childhood/teen years/young adulthood) regarding homosexuality. I went to a catholic boys school (no, no molestation went on there.. however, the protestant school down the block DID have its sex abuse scandal). I got into an argument with one of my teachers regarding homosexuality, but it was actually a very civilized argument… more a mildly heated discussion (oh, how Canadian). And that teacher was a priest.

    So, no, being “anti-gay” is NOT a “basic tenet” of the faith. Unlike for some protestant groups who seem to have a sermon regarding the evils of sexuality every other week.

  • Cam

    The issue is, many people stay Catholic (Or whatever religion they were born) out of habit. If they actually would wake up and leave or complain in numbers the church might be forced to change.

    The stranglehold of the Catholic church was broken in Ireland not that long ago when the decades long systematic abuse of girls in the Magdeline houses was exposed. In a mere 10 years the number of people that said they were active Catholics in Ireland dropped by 20%. If the U.S. members REALLY listened to some of the things Ratzinger has said they would probably leave in similar numbers as happened in MA. when the molestation scandals broke.

  • WillBFair

    The problem is that the Catholic Church brainwashes people when they’re young. So even though they’re more liberal as adults, they don’t leave. Hopefully this’ll change. One never knows which straw will be the one to force Catholics to flee the church in droves. Here’s hoping.

  • Kurt

    Clearly, the life long experience of being Catholic leads to a more positive view of gays.

  • SteveC

    Why is this a surprise?


    All catholic countries
    All countries with full legal equality for gay people.

    All religion is dumb. We all know that. But singling out catholic people as being bigots simply because their clergy rape children or protect the rapists is equally dumb.

  • rafe

    its true that most Catholics are born into it and dont leave eventhough they are no longer practising, makes Cathlolics kinds the silent majority really. the ones who convert into it as an adult tend to be the more conservative ones I would think. however being part of a religion does not mean you have to listen to your leaders, its non sensical really, but who says you have to listen to your leaders whom you have no power to elect anyway. im sure most Catholics would be happy to vote in their Pope and priests lol, but regardless my point is that you can be Catholic and not listen to your church hierarchy.

    The fact is that the Catholic belief is in itself is amongst the most liberal and open to intepretation to its community then almost any other Christina branch. except maybe for the smaller more liberal or inclusive christian groups. And I say that only in terms of its doctrine. The catholic belief has amongst the most peaceful and love advocating principles, though sadly its very leaders fail to see that and don’t even follow through with the fundamental principles of Catholicism, you can say that the Catholic average person on the street has a better understand of what it means to be Christian then many priests or even the Pope. what should happen is throwing out many of the priests at the top and replacing them with common every day sensible Catholic believers. but thats never gonna happen, not in the next 100 years anyway lol.

  • CBRad

    It makes sense to me. Catholics are vast and varied, most pretty modern thinkers. Don’t forget, though, that in certain places- NYC especially, it’s practically required for gays to hate Catholics (or any ethnicity associated with Catholicism) because it’s considered “classy.” The gay transplants have to be of Protestant background (that’s why the blogs like Towleroad are so anti-Catholc and especially anti-Irish). Though why anybody who hates Catholics or Jews would move to NYC is kind of kooky to begin with. Like moving to Riyadh if you hate Muslims. But real traditional gay hatred for Catholics is more from the elitist thing rather than actual Catholic-homophobia or dislike of the Pope or theological reasons or anything like that.

  • CBRad

    @rafe: And nobody wants to be one of those crazy priests now, anyway. I read that in Ireland there’s only 25 men currently studying for the priesthood. That’s in the whole country. And most of the people have this attitude like “What’s wrong with THEM?” rather than being admiring (as it would have been in years past).

  • stuart


    “But singling out catholic people as being bigots simply because their clergy rape children or protect the rapists is equally dumb”

    Really, discrminating against child rapist clergy is dumb. Wow I’m sure you are just another brain washed Catholic. If you are gay and a Catholic or give $ to support it you are a quisling to the LGBT community.

  • kylew

    @MikeE: Sorry Mike but I’m going to have to call you on that. One of the fundamental tenets off the Catholic faith is the fact that the bible is the direct word of god, and the bible condemns homosexuality in at least four places, ipso facto, being anti gay IS a tenet of catholocism.

  • Pedro

    @kylew: The basic tenets of the Catholic church (the church I belong to, as have every member of my family going back generations) has nothing to do with being anti-gay or pro-pedophilia…Please get a grip! And why do you think one has to be self-deluded to be a person of faith? I know you have the right to your opinion, but why do you have to put others down simply because they have a differing point of view as to the existence of God and the meaning of life?

  • Joe

    @kylew: actually, you’re incorrect about the Catholic Church’s position on the bible. Read any modern biblical scholar or theologian from the Catholic tradition. None of them assert that the bible is historically or scientifically without error. Not one.

  • Cam

    @SteveC: said….

    “Why is this a surprise?
    All catholic countries
    All countries with full legal equality for gay people.”

    True, but you could just as easily list off

    etc… All Catholic Countries where they don’t have full gay rights.

  • CBRad

    @Cam: That’s partly because Catholicism varies greatly from country to country. Mexican Catholicism is so different from Irish Catholicism, etc. The culture of the country and people, to begin with, affect the whole thing. It’s interesting.

  • Sceth

    Catholicism has a history of associating with schools and universities that is richer than most. So does Judaism.
    There are Catholic astronomers in the Vatican. They’re essentially atheist, but they can’t afford to quit on their life and culture. Much like most Jews (judging from the hella Jews in my math department) are atheists but still celebrate their Jewish traditions, Catholicism is a culture.

    One of the mathematicians who trained me for math stuff was a Catholic monk.
    He told me,
    “If the lay person knew what I believed in, they would say that I’m an atheist.”

  • Shannon1981

    The issue is that these people won’t stand up to the Pope. If there was any justice at all, the letters suggesting the molestation stay secret until the statute of limitations ran out alone would be enough to jail him for life, along with the priests who did the molesting. Instead, the people who disagree with all this shit ignore it and go and tithe and defend and spout off about not all of them being like that when the people who really matter continue to wreak havoc on the world. I don’t give one flying fuck what you personally believe. If you continue to do nothing, you are still part of the problem. A BIG part.

  • Riker

    @kylew: None of those four are real criticisms of homosexuality. Leviticus is a set of laws for the Nation of Israel, which died out millennia ago. Sodom and gommorah is about inhospitality, not homosexuality. The two mentions in the Pauline Epistles is a mistranslation: the word Paul wrote in Greek was arsenokoites, which Paul seems to have invented himself, and scholars believe the word refers to male prostitution or temple sex rituals. The word for homosexuality was well established in Greek as androkoites.

    So there, the four mentions in the Bible don’t actually exist.

    I was born and raised catholic, but was excommunicates latæ sententiæ for heresy.

  • Phil

    The books of Leviticus and Genesis are part of the Catholic old testament and are no longer binding. The context of the story doesn’t even matter anymore. I’ll agree with you about the mistranslation of the Pauline Epistles considering how often all of the christian faith’s books are misconstrued. Catholicism can be summed up as: Love everybody. Love good people and do good things. Love bad people and show them how to be good (or make them be good, I guess). The refuse of the world especially need your love and good work. They are the poor, the injured, the infirm and the discriminated. Also, you totally gotta believe in magic zombie god child.

  • Riker

    @Phil: If you want to know the true meaning of bible verses, you need to go back to the original greek, hebrew or aramaic (as the case may be). I don’t speak any of those languages, but I enjoy looking at what scholars who do speak them have to say on translations. Aside from the obvious political reasons for intentional mistranslations, we have a much better understanding of Ancient Greek and Aramaic now than we did in the time of King James, for example. Moreover, for centuries the Bible only existed within the Catholic Church and was preserved in copies handwritten by monks, introducing human error into the equation.

    Anyway, the reason I was excommunicated was that my own personal faith disregards Leviticus as irrelevant to today’s world, ignores the Pauline Epistles as the rantings of a racist, misogynistic madman who never actually met Jesus, and includes some of the Gnostic Gospels like Thomas, Secret Mark and Mary Magdelene as canonical. Also, I believe that Benedict XVI is wrong on numerous issues, such as birth control and condom use in Africa. Which essentially amounts to heresy, hence latæ sententiæ excommunication.

  • Kyle

    I agree. I wen’t to Catholic church a lot when I was a teenager, and homosexuality was never brought up…. Actually (as far as I can remember) no “hot topics” at all were ever brought up. Mass was more about the ritual. I remember the priest reading from the bible, but interpretation was left to us. My extremely Catholic family knows I’m gay, and religion was never an issue. I left the church for other reasons, but I can understand why some stay.

  • kylew

    @Riker: Well that’s certainly an interesting piece of info Riker, and I thank you for it. What did Paul mean by arsenokoites?

    So what about this verse from Conthians:

    “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”

  • kylew

    @Kyle: Kyle, I wonder if it’s better or worse that hot topics were not brought up by your church if there was a tacit acceptance that the churches view on them was right? I mean, it seems to me that this whole teen suicide thing is not just about bullying, but the prevailing attitude in households that the bible’s stance on homosexuality (even if mistranslated) is right.

    According to the poll reported on queerty a few days, more catholics than not, support gay marriage, let alone homosexuality per se. That being the case, it might be contentious to raise in sermon. So instead, it’s left there as a little cancer to carry on quietly subverting the minds of the unwary.

  • Riker

    @kylew: @kylew: the word translated as “effeminate” in Greek is malakoi, which us usually translated as moral or intellectual weakness. “Homosexuals” is arsenokoites, as I stated earlier. The first century Jewish philosopher Philo, in his work The Special Laws (I can’t remember which part offhand), used the word while describing the practice of temple/shrine prostitution in Corinth at the time, so this is not a new translation made up by gay Christians.

    In the Greek translation of the (originally Hebrew) Leviticus that Paul was familiar with, 18:22 (the whole “lie with a man as a woman” part) uses the phrase “meta arsenos ou koimethese koiten gunaikos”. The words arsenos and koiten literally translate to man + bed, but first century Jewish writers linked that particular verse to pederasty and temple prostitution, a.k.a. the sex rituals associated with worship of fertility goddess Ceres.

    As another example, John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople (essentially the Eastern Orthodox version of a Pope) in the 6th century, wrote “In fact, many men even commit the sin of arsenokoitia with their wives”

  • Kurt

    There is no doubt that at least some people use their legitimate disagreements with the Catholic Church to justify their pre-existing “Know-Nothing” bigotry against Catholics.

  • Fitz

    During the Bush administration, I felt as though my
    leader was an asshole, a dry drunk, and a violent criminal.
    I still felt like I was an American. In fact, I very strongly
    felt that I was a BETTER American than him. The leader does not
    define the population.

  • Robert in NYC

    SteveC, Brazil does not have full equality for its LGBT people. If you’re referring to the recent court decision allowing a same-sex couple to marry, that has not been applied to every gay man or woman in Brazil. There is no marriage equalty legislation pending either or any law granting the right to marry for all of its gay citizens as of yet.

  • ewe


  • Otis Criblecoblis

    If I were in a les charitable mood, I’d suggest that Pope Rat & his strange cabal of closeted freaks should be on trial for crimes against humanity.

    But the real crime is that anyone is dumb enough to still support & fund this bizarre organization, which has been fleecing the ignorant sheeple for hundreds of years.

  • sic!

    leave my Poland alone! there’s transgender (men->women) and openly gay activist recently nominated as members of Polish Parliament, so Poles are not catholic homophobes!

  • Gtsrgdgvfbttdbdtfgdbghfdgh

    So it’s ok to stereotype priests as pedophiles but not gays when all evidence clearly states their more likely to be pedophiles

  • Gtsrgdgvfbttdbdtfgdbghfdgh

    The “lgbt” community oppresses and brainwashes HOCD people into thinking their gay

Comments are closed.