With the conclave to elect the next pope set for Tuesday, the College of Cardinals has been meeting all week to discuss the priorities of the church and the qualities its new pope must possess. Further, the College of Cardinals must also consider the attitudes of the Catholic people when electing the next pope.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Friday indicates that while 52% of Catholics said the church is moving in the right direction, 52% of those polled also said the church is out of touch with the views of Catholics in America.
The poll also showed increased Catholic support for same-sex marriage. Amid growing support for same-sex marriage nationwide, the poll indicates that 54% of American Catholic voters stand for gay marriage while 37% oppose it.
Interestingly, only 47% of Americans polled support same-sex marriage, suggesting “"Catholic voters are leading American voters toward support for same-sex marriage," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Along with an increased support for same-sex marriage, 62% of Catholics polled said the next pope should allow priests to marry, and 64% believe he should relax the church ban on contraception.
These numbers certainly show a significant evolution in the views of American-Catholics so it will be interesting to see how much the College of Cardinals considers these numbers when choosing the next pope.