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Assuming the Quinnipiac poll is sound, what next?

October 8, 2013

I leave it to those trained in such things to assess the reliability of the recent Quinnipiac poll purporting to show American Catholics favoring, roughly 2 to 1, same-sex marriage and women priests. It did not surprise me that the poll indicates greater support for same-sex marriage and women priests among older Catholics, i.e., the generation ‘catechized’ (I use the term loosely) during the worst of the post-Conciliar confusion. But whatever the etiology of such news, I write to suggest that those numbers, if they are even close to correct, portend a true crisis for millions of American Catholics.

That God established marriage to exist between one man and one woman, and that the Church has no power to ordain women to priesthood, both figure on the relatively short list of assertions that the Church teaches with infallible certainty. The Church has never taught anything else in regard to these two points, and she never will teach anything else in their regard. Therefore, millions of American Catholics are in for a shock as they come to learn—as they inevitably will—that what they sincerely view as being possible in the Church (namely, that we might someday recognize same-sex marriage and that we might someday have female priests) is never, ever, ever, going to happen. Many of those Catholics will, Deo gratias, allow the Church to illuminate their hearts and minds on these points; but many others, one fears, will not. The pastoral challenges to be faced in their regard are enormous.

If the Quinnipiac poll is even in the ballpark, it’s time to start thinking those pastoral challenges through.

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