Huge majority of U.S. Catholics who left the Church can't picture returning, research states ...

Pope Francis has a light moment as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the Vatican after an audience with with altar children and girls on Aug. 4. (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

The majority of Americans who were raised Catholic however have given that left the church could not visualize themselves going back to it, according to a brand-new Pew Proving ground survey examining American Catholics and domesticity. The survey's findings were launched Wednesday, weeks before Pope Francis makes his first see to the United States, and as Catholic management competes with dramatic demographic shifts.

source: Pew Research Centersource: Bench Research Center

Seventy-seven percent of those who were raised Catholic but no longer relate to the religion said they might not imagine themselves ultimately going back to the church, according to the Church bench survey. The study likewise examined U.S. Catholics' views on problems such as divorce, same-sex marriage and sinful habits, finding an openness for non-traditional household structures.

Although Catholics have actually long comprised about a quarter of the U.S. population, recent information has actually revealed that portion dropping. In 2007, 23.9 percent of Americans identified as Catholic. In 2014, 20.8 percent of Americans said the same, according to previous survey results from Seat.

But the new study illustrates something else about Catholic life in the United States: while the percentage of Americans who might recognize their religious beliefs as Catholicism is dropping, a much larger group of Americans determine as Catholic in some method.

In all, 45 percent of Americans state they are either Catholic, or are linked to Catholicism. That larger percentage consists of "Cultural Catholics" (comprising nine percent of those checked) who are not practicing Catholics but who relate to the religion in some way; and "ex-Catholics" (likewise nine percent) who were formerly Catholic however no longer relate to Catholicism at all. And another 8 percent stated they had some other connection to Catholicism, for instance by having a Catholic partner or spouse. For the functions of the study, Seat kept each classification mutually special.

According to the study, about half of those who were raised Catholic wind up leaving at some point, while about 11 percent of those who left have given that returned.

The breakdown offers an interesting take a look at the cultural reach of Catholicism, beyond those who would call themselves members of the faith. For instance, the study likewise discovered that 8 in ten American Latinos have some direct connection to Catholicism, whether as a current practicing Catholic, as an ex-Catholic, or otherwise.

(Pew Research Center).

The research likewise sheds some light on how Catholic American attitudes on family, sex, and marriage compare with church teaching. When asked whether they thought the church should alter its position on a variety of issues, a very large portion of consistently recognized Catholics-- 76 percent-- expressed a desire to see the church permit the usage of contraception. Sixty-two percent felt that the church should enable priests to marry, and about the same percentage thought that the church needs to allow separated and cohabitation couples to receive communion.

Source: Pew Research Center(Bench Proving ground).

Fifty-nine percent of Catholics surveyed believed women must be allowed to become priests. Meanwhile, just 46 percent of Catholics believe the church should recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Amongst those Catholics who participate in Mass weekly, support for these changes was lower total. However Seat notes that even among this particular population, two-thirds of Mass-going Catholics think the church needs to unwind its prohibition on contraceptives.

Overall, cultural Catholics were more supportive of the modifications named by the survey, while ex-Catholics were more encouraging of enabling priests to marry, and for women to end up being priests.

Although a frustrating majority of Catholics (9 in 10) care about the concept of sin, they don't seem to agree on exactly what, exactly, constitutes one. Fifty-seven percent of Catholics believe it's a sin to have an abortion, compared to 48 percent of the general U.S. population who say the exact same. Forty-four percent believe homosexual habits is sinful (about the same state this among the public). And just 17 percent of Catholics think its a sin to utilize contraceptives, while 21 percent state the very same of getting a divorce.

And although those portions are higher for those who go to Mass weekly-- 73 percent of weekly worshipers say that abortion is a sin, for instance-- the numbers are still quite low on the problem of birth control: simply 31 percent of weekly Mass attendees say using synthetic birth control is a sin.

Regardless of those arguments between U.S. Catholics and church teaching, the poll does not show that a change because teaching would lead more Catholics to "go back" to their faith than do currently.

Pope Francis says he will give all priests discretion to formally forgive ladies who have actually had abortions and look for absolution during the Catholic Church's special "year of mercy." (Reuters).

Cultural and ex- Catholics gave a variety of responses when asked why they chose to leave Catholicism, and no consensus emerges from those reasons that could indicate any one element repeling those who were raised Catholic from the faith. A 2008 Seat study asked a similar question, and found that less than one in 4 Catholics stated that the guideline banning priests from marrying was an important factor for leaving Catholicism. About 3 in 10 said that the church's teachings on abortion and remarriage was essential.

Far more common, in that 2008 survey, were those who said they simply stopped thinking the church's general teachings, or slowly drifted away from Catholicism, or stated that their spiritual needs weren't being satisfied.

The current study finds clearer responses for why "cultural Catholics" relate to the faith in some non-religious method-- 59 percent of those who were raised Catholic or have a Catholic moms and dad cite this familial connection as the factor they are tied to the church. Cultural Catholics without an adult connection cite a variety of factors, including having a Catholic partner (15 percent), a general association with Christian beliefs or practices (nine percent) or the concept that their religious beliefs is rooted in Catholicism (15 percent).

The 2015 Bench study was performed in between May 5 and June 7 amongst a national sample of 5,122 adults reached on standard mobile phones, including 1,016 Catholics. The margin of sampling mistake for outcomes among Catholics is plus or minus 3.5 portion points; the mistake margin is 5.5 points among the sample of 425 "Cultural Catholics" and amongst the sample of 413 "Ex-Catholics."

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

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