British people like Catholics but not the Church, study shows

Negative attitudes about the Catholic Church and its teachings are worsening in Britain, a study has shown.

An analysis of 180 opinion polls among British adults from the 1950s to today shows a steady decline in esteem for the Church and its clergy.

This seems to have accelerated since 2000.

But the same study by academic Dr Clive Field shows latent and institutional anti-Catholicism has died away in the UK.

His findings show that Catholics are, on the whole, viewed positively.

While 24 per cent of Britons disagreed with marriages between Catholics and Protestants in 1968 this figure dropped to five per cent by 1993.

Findings also show that Catholics – and not just the general public – believe the Church is out of touch on moral and gender issues.

This, Dr Field argues, suggests that hostility to the Church is not a new form of anti-Catholicism.

While 48 per cent of Britons view Pope Francis’s impact on the Church as positive, this is a much lower approval figure than in the United States and Canada.

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