Reputation survey: Lack of faith in Pope

The Pontiff's visit to the UK did little to improve his or the Roman Catholic Church's reputation, with the issue of child abuse by priests considered to be the most damaging.

Reputation survey: Lack of faith in Pope
Reputation survey: Lack of faith in Pope

The Pope's visit to the UK has not boosted his or the Catholic Church's reputation, new figures show.

The vast majority - 71 per cent - of the 3,000 respondents to PRWeek/OnePoll's survey said their opinion of the Church had not changed since the Pontiff's visit.

One fifth of respondents said their opinion of the Church was more negative, and 22 per cent said their opinion of the Pope himself was more negative, with 66 per cent saying their opinion had not changed.

As our graph, right, shows, the public feels allegations of child abuse is the biggest reputational issue facing the Pope and the Catholic Church.

Nearly 80 per cent of respondents did not feel the issue was adequately addressed during the Papal visit.

Back in March, PRWeek and OnePoll asked the public if the Pope's recent apology to victims of paedophile priests had changed their opinion of the Catholic Church. Most - 71 per cent - said their opinion had not changed, and 18 per cent said their opinion was more negative.

When asked this question again after the Papal visit, 74 per cent said their opinion had not changed and 12 per cent said their opinion was more negative.

This indicates the visit has had little impact on the public's opinion.

The visit was funded by the taxpayer, a fact of which 67 per cent of respondents were aware. An emphatic 86 per cent did not consider this a good use of taxpayers' money. And despite the media coverage of the visit, which was watched or read by 51 per cent of respondents, just 26 per cent said they were interested in the Pope's visit. Survey of 3,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

HOW I SEE IT

Suzanne Evans, Former BBC religious affairs correspondent. Now creative director, Aquarius PR

So, the British people give their damning verdict on the Papal visit and, in a nutshell, it translates as 'we don't care'.

The Vatican might consider Britain 'aggressively secular,' but these statistics are more a sign that, when it comes to religion, we are actually aggressively apathetic.

What a shocking contrast to the upbeat welcome Pope John Paul II received 28 years ago. Benedict XVI's inexcusable involvement in the child abuse scandals, his inadequate, belated apologies and his hard-line, regressive views have considerably diminished the reputation of the Papacy.

He clearly has not redeemed himself on this trip, not least because taxpayers have resented having to pay for it.

For many, this visit will only cement the view that appointing Cardinal Joseph 'Rottweiler' Ratzinger as Pope was an almighty PR blunder.

Has the Pope's recent apology to victims of paedophile priests changed your opinion of the Catholic Church?

Yes more negative 12%

Yes more positive 14%

No 74%

March 2010

Yes more negative 18%

Yes more positive 11%

No 71%

Do you feel the Pope's apology went far enough?

Yes 20%

No 80%

March 2010

Yes 28%

Yes 72%

PAYING THE PRICE

86% of respondents said the Pope's visit was not a good use of taxpayers' money

LACK OF INTEREST

74% said they were not interested in the Pope's visit

NO CHANGE

71% said the Pope's visit had not changed their opinion of the Catholic Church

SUPPORT

20% said it was a good idea for the Pope to visit the UK

POSITIVE VIEW

12% said they had a more positive opinion of the Pope following his visit

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