Monday, 6 September 2010

opinion surveys on the Pope's UK visit

Two separate surveys have been published recently.

Theos has published one conducted by ComRes, see Who’s a fan of papal teaching? and Theos Papal Visit Poll September 2010. Detailed results are available at Theos Papal Visit Tables 4 September 2010.pdf.

The Tablet has published another, conducted by Ipsos MORI see The Pope, the Church and the visit – what Britons really think. Detailed results are available here. Some of the findings:

Perhaps the most surprising finding is the number of people who recognise Pope Benedict from a photograph bearing no clues to his identity. He was correctly named by a sizeable majority of all those polled (65 per cent) who recognised him more readily than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, identified by only half of the respondents. Curiously, Dr Williams is more readily recognised by Catholics (54 per cent) than by the general public (50 per cent), although surprisingly nearly a quarter of the Catholics polled failed to recognise the Pope…

Awareness of the Pope’s role as head of the Catholic Church is well understood by the vast majority of the general public (93 per cent) – in fact, more people are aware of this than that the Queen is the head of the Church of England…

Overall the public’s view of religion generally is fairly benign. More than half (52 per cent) say that on balance it is a force for good. The figure rises to 60 per cent among those aged over 65. However, when asked the question with specific reference to the Catholic Church, respondents are not so sure, with only 41 per cent of all those questioned either strongly agreeing or tending to agree that the Church is a force for good. Even fewer Anglicans – 39 per cent – believe this. Among all Christians the figure is 47 per cent. However, a big majority of Catholics (78 per cent) hold that the Catholic Church is a force for good…

There is keen awareness of one of the main matters that divides the Catholic and Anglican Churches. Fewer than two-thirds (63 per cent) of those polled understand that women cannot be ordained priests in the Catholic Church while among Catholics the figure is considerably higher (74 per cent). Perhaps this demonstrates interest and possibly concern about the issue.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 September 2010 at 6:04pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: News

The Pope should stay home and tend the needs of the RCC which continues to shoot itself in the foot by its' inept and arrogant handling of the priest sex scandal soap opera.

Posted by: Richard on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 1:56am BST

I was disgusted when I read in the Catholic Herald that the Papal entourage were staying in 5 star hotels at the cost of nearly £300 a night. I shall not be contributing at the Church door.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 6:36am BST

I am rather pleased that many people dont realise the Queen is Head of the Church of England, since she isn't! Quite why the fact she holds the title "Supreme Governor" hasn't sunk in,despite the fact that the monarch has held this title for 450 yrs, even among moderately educated opinion is something of a mystery. But then,fortunately most people in the pews are happily unconcerned by the Anglican Communion culture wars. Not quite sure what this IPSOS Mori poll really contributes.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 12:10pm BST


Maybe you are acquiring a bit of sense? The behaviour you rightly condemn can't be separated out from the whole thing. Come back - we will welcome you,


Posted by: john on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 12:13pm BST

'Supreme Governor' or 'Head', they mean the same thing, Perry. Henry VIII and Edward VI were titled Head of the Church. When Elizabeth I became Head, the title was changed to Supreme Governor to placate those who believed that women could not be the head of anything.

Posted by: Terence Dear on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 2:39pm BST

@Robert: The travel expenses (which probably has at least something to do with the security arrangements possible at a hotel that caters to the rich) don't bother me nearly as much as the admission charge, which seems like barely veiled simony.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 5:18pm BST

You omit Mary 1st Terence..who of course as Head of the Church used the Royal Supremacy to bring England back into the papal fold.( One of the reasons for causing Cranmer such anguish since he had such a lofty conception of the Royal Supremacy).The change of title surely had significance not least in getting the Elizabethan Settlement through Parliament in 1559. Elizabeth did not attempt to exercise the Supremacy in the way her father did, though she used it effectively to block further religious change and if she hadnt Anglicanism as it emerged would never have happened so perhaps we should be grateful to her.Certainly the present monarch can hardly be said to "head" the Church of England in the way the Pope "heads" the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 5:42pm BST

Thank you for your kind words John. However I am quite happy as a Catholic. Whilst I am loyal to the teachings of the Church, I feel one can be loyally critically of crass actions like this.

Blind loyalty is symptomatic of a cult.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 8:21pm BST

Of course the Queen doesn't head up the CofE in the same way as the Pope is head of the Roman Church. Any more than she is head of the UK and her other realms in the same way as the Pope is head of the Vatican City State. That's obvious. The Queen is a constitutional monarch and her powers - spiritual, ecclesiastical and temporal - are executed in her name by democratic institutions.

Nevertheless, however irrelevant the Queen's constitutional position may be to most people today, I am one of those who believe that the proposed Anglican Covenant will have constitutional implications and will need to be incorporated into UK law by an Act of Parliament, unless of course the CofE in the meantime is dis-Established and the Royal Supremacy abolished.

Posted by: Terence Dear on Wednesday, 8 September 2010 at 10:12am BST
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