American catholics cite climate as a higher concern than persecution
US Catholics are more concerned about climate change than persecuted Christians, a new survey reveals.
While nine out of 10 U.S. Catholics believe that persecution of Christians around the world is somewhat or very severe (51 per cent and 40 per cent respectively), only half (49 per cent) said they were very concerned about it. Almost 1 in 5 said they were not concerned at all (18 per cent).
The nationwide poll of 1,000 Catholic adults was conducted from January 16 to 24, 2018 by Aid to the Church in Need’s U.S. division and survey research company McLaughlin & Associates.
When asked to rank their concerns about global issues, US Catholics put Christian persecution last as the issue they are very concerned about, the survey said.
Human trafficking was the top global issue about which Catholics are very concerned at 72 per cent, followed by poverty at 68 per cent, climate change at 55 per cent, the refugee crisis at 51 per cent and then Christian persecution at 49 per cent.
Christian persecution is close behind climate change for Catholics’ level of concern in the survey (49 per cent ‘very’, 33 per cent ‘somewhat’, and 55 per cent ‘very’, 28 per cent ‘somewhat’, respectively).
However, it has the lowest level of concern of the five issues surveyed, Christianity Today reports, along with the highest share of those with no concern: Christian persecution (18 per cent), climate change (16 per cent), refugees (14 per cent), human trafficking (7 per cent), and poverty (6 per cent).
“The National Catholic Survey – Findings on Christian Persecution Around the World” measured U.S. Catholic perceptions of Christian persecution around the world.
It looked at American Catholics’ awareness level of Christian persecution, the countries and regions where they consider Christians most severely persecuted, and specific measures and policies they want the U.S. and other Western governments to take up.
The survey also measured how engaged they feel that the pope, their bishops and their parishes are on the issue of Christian persecution, and the actions they believe they themselves can and should take.
Approximately half of US Catholics say that Pope Francis is “very engaged” on the issue of Christian persecution, the survey said, while just 27 per cent think their local bishop is engaged and only 24 per cent believe their parish is involved with the issue.
Conversely, eight per cent of Catholics say Pope Francis is “not engaged” on the issue of Christian persecution, at the same time 13 per cent indicate their local bishop is not engaged and 17 per cent of U.S. Catholics feel that their parishes are not involved
A significant number of US Catholics are unsure about the engagement level of the Catholic Church on the issue of Christian persecution, the survey said, with 10 per cent saying they do not know the engagement level of the pope, 21 per cent unsure about the engagement level of their bishop, and 18 per cent who do not know the engagement level of their parish.
“The survey reveals quite clearly that there is a need to increase the engagement level of the U.S. Catholic Church when it comes to global Christian persecution – both at the grassroots and leadership levels,” said Aid to the Church in Need-USA Chairman George J. Marlin.
Crux’s John Allen also noted in his report on the survey that the results “reveal a relatively low level of urgency among American Catholics about coming to the aid of persecuted Christians.”
Pope Francis has spoken in support of persecuted Christians, asking for prayer for those suffering persecution, and recently meeting with victims of Christian persecution.
Francis’ support for advocacy against climate change – an issue that remains the subject of dispute – has gotten considerable news coverage, with a largely climate change-friendly media and also owing to the pope’s many statements on the issue, the numerous climate change conferences conducted by the Vatican during his papacy and his 2015 ecological encyclical Laudato Si
Marlin said in regard to the ACN survey results on US Catholics’ perception of Christian persecution that there is a need to better inform and engage the Catholic audience.
“There is an obligation to keep the spotlight on the topic and showcase the seriousness and pervasiveness of Christian persecution around the world,” Marlin said.