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Bishops gain approval, poll says

NEW YORK -- Nearly half of US Roman Catholics who regularly attend Mass believe bishops are doing a good job responding to the sex abuse crisis, an increase from last year, according to a survey released yesterday.

However, parishioners remain concerned about how prelates are spending diocesan funds, with 75 percent saying the church should be made more financially accountable, the study found.

The survey by the Gallup Organization and Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities was a follow-up to a poll the groups conducted in 2002 as the crisis erupted.

The US bishops have also commissioned a national study on the number of abuse cases and their costs. That report is expected to be released in February.

In the Gallup survey, 49 percent of respondents felt the bishops were doing a good job handling the scandal, compared to 35 percent last year.

Most said they had not reduced donations to their parish or diocese. But 27 percent said they did not respond to national appeals from the bishops, up from 19 percent the year before.

The poll of 309 Catholics was conducted last month. The margin of error when comparing the 2002 and 2003 studies is plus or minus 7 percentage points.


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