View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

ND Polls - Swayed by the question/information

Two polls, two different results. Thanks to the way the question was worded.

A Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life survey found that Catholics supported the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Obama to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree by margin of 52-28 percent.

Sounds like the Bishops are out of touch with the thinking of the average Catholic, right?

Well, a subsequent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 60% of Catholics - and 52 % of Americans - believe that the University of Notre Dame should not have made the decision to award President Barack Obama an honorary degree.

A possible cause of the difference?

Rasmussen Reports told survey respondents that the university was violating the US bishops’ guidelines:

Guidelines established by U.S. bishops state that Catholic institutions such as Notre Dame should not honor people whose actions conflict with the church's moral principles. Given these guidelines, should Notre Dame award President Obama an honorary degree?

The Pew Forum, on the other hand, simply asked, “Do you think it was right or wrong for Notre Dame to invite Obama to give their graduation speech and receive an honorary degree?”

So when informed, Catholics - and Americans - gave the decision a thumbs down.

Sort of like when they're informed about abortion. Or the Church's teachings on other issues.

Makes me think we need MORE education in homilies, parish bulletins, and bishops' statements.


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