The Boston Globe | Abuse in the Catholic Church


64 percent of Catholics say Law should step down

By Globe Staff, 5/16/2002

Only 1 in 10 Americans think that leaders of the Catholic Church have done a good job in handling charges of sexual abuse by priests, while 64 percent of the public - and as many Catholics - say they think Cardinal Bernard Law should resign as archbishop of Boston, a new CBS News poll has found.

The poll also found that 75 percent of Catholics and 79 percent of Americans said they do not believe Law revealed everything he knows about the situation in his diocese during his testimony in court last week. Only 5 percent of Americans and 10 percent of Catholics believe he told everything he knows during the depositions.

Public opinion of Law remains low, though it has risen since the last CBS poll two weeks ago. Four percent of Americans say they have a favorable opinion of Law, up from 2 percent at the end of April, and 35 percent said they view him unfavorably. Among Catholics, 6 percent view Law favorably, and almost 40 percent see him negatively. As in the poll two weeks ago, about half of all respondents said they do not know enough about Law to decide.

At the end of April, 61 percent of all respondents and 62 percent of Catholics said they felt the church was doing a poor job of dealing with the scandal; yesterday, 83 percent of the public and 79 percent of Catholics felt that way.

The poll was conducted among a nationwide sample of 647 adults, 164 of them Catholic. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.


This story ran on page A26 of the Boston Globe on 5/16/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

For complete coverage of the priest abuse scandal, go to