Poles losing faith in Catholic Church, survey shows

Pope Francis attends a Vatican mass at St Peter's Basilica on Dec 12, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WARSAW (AFP) - Devout Catholic Poles are losing their faith in the Church, a survey published on Thursday (Dec 17) suggested, following sex scandals and protests against a near-total abortion ban backed by the institution.

Some 41 per cent of Poles view the Church favourably down from 49 in September, according to a survey by the CBOS institute, quoted by the Polish news agency PAP.

Meanwhile, 47 per cent of the 1,010 adults surveyed earlier this month said they disapproved of the Church, up from 41 per cent in September.

It echoes the results of a poll by another group last month when 40.4 per cent of respondents said they trusted the Church down from 58 per cent four years ago, and 42.4 per cent said they distrusted it.

The Church's reputation has suffered from scandals including a bishop who resigned in October over suspicions he covered up sexual abuse of children.

A documentary about the claims against bishop Edward Janiak went viral online and ignited a national discussion about abuse by the clergy - unlocking a taboo subject in Poland.

Adding to the Church's woes, a ruling by the Constitutional Court that abortions owing to birth defects were unconstitutional sparked nationwide demonstrations.

The protesters turned their anger on the Church as well as the government.

Since then, increasing numbers of Poles have been formally leaving the Church and opting out of Church lessons in public school.

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