"As Pope Benedict XVI's visit to New York and Washington, D.C., approaches, a Newsday poll has found that Long Island Catholics view religion and prayer as critical parts of their lives, though they may dissent from church stances on major issues such as allowing priests to marry or the ordination of women.Having heard countless accusations against Atheists that we have no moral guidance, it is with some amusement I see that 62% of Long Island Catholics do not look for moral guidance in their faith. I guess (most) Long Island Catholics and Atheists aren't that different after all - when it comes to morals.
The survey found Benedict XVI's visit -- his first to the United States since his election to the papacy three years ago -- is sparking excitement, but not as much as Pope John Paul II's visit in 1995, according to a poll conducted then by Newsday. Some 58 percent of respondents were "very interested" or "mildly interested" in the April 15-20 visit, compared with 66 percent for John Paul II's visit.
The poll also found Long Island Catholics still consider "moral guidance" the most meaningful aspect of their faith, though it declined from 48 percent in 1995 to 38 percent. It was followed by the sacraments, which 33 percent said was the most meaningful aspect, up from 27 percent in 1995. Other areas lagged far behind: church teachings on social issues (5 percent), closeness with other parishioners (7 percent) and spiritual example of priest and nuns (5 percent).
Bonner of Molloy College said the relatively high rankings of moral guidance and the sacraments showed that "we must be doing something right." He added, "If people don't get moral guidance from their spiritual leaders where are they going to get it?"
Newsday.com, April 5, 2008