Poland's Catholic Church admits clergy sexually abused hundreds of children

Pope Francis arrives to board a bus as he leaves for a week of spiritual exercises in the village of Ariccia at the Vatican Sunday

Pope Francis arrives to board a bus as he leaves for a week of spiritual exercises in the village of Ariccia at the Vatican Sunday

"Many Catholics may consider leaving the church but ultimately decide not to do so, or they may have no intention of leaving but simply be responding to this question as a way to express their frustration with the way the church has handled the problem", Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey Jones said in his overview of the poll results.

This graph illustrates the proportion of Catholics who questioned their commitment to the church in 2019, compared to 2002.

Pope Francis is marking his sixth anniversary as pontiff with prayer, attending a weeklong spiritual retreat while elsewhere in the world one of his cardinals is sentenced for sex abuse and a new poll finds American Catholics are increasingly questioning their faith because of the scandal.

Growing numbers of Catholics in the United States are questioning their commitment to the Church in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis.

This graph illustrates Catholics' confidence in different church leaders.

Gallup cautioned that it is unclear whether Catholics who say they are questioning church membership will actually make the decision to leave.

Gallup suggested that the current sex abuse crisis could have a lasting effect on the U.S. Catholic Church.

Other surveys have indicated that Catholicism in the USA has experienced sharp losses due to people leaving the faith. Pew claimed that no other major American religious denomination has experienced this high ratio of losses to gains through religious switching.

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Even believers don't think everything is flawless, with 60 percent of Catholics saying they think the church should allow priests to marry and women to become priests.

The poll also found that a majority of Catholics say they have either a great deal (40 percent) or quite a lot of confidence (18 percent) in Pope Francis.

They have similar faith in their own priests - 58 percent have quite a lot or a great deal of confidence in those leaders.

The numbers deteriorate slightly more when Catholics were asked about US bishops and other leaders in the faith: Just 30 percent had a lot or a great deal of confidence, while 26 percent have very little or no confidence.

According to the survey, 40 and 41 percent of American Catholics surveyed said they have "a great deal" of faith in Pope Francis and the priests at their church, respectively, even as just 19 and 20 percent said they have that same amount of faith in US bishops and other Catholic leaders in the USA and Catholic priests in the country.

Archbishops speaking at the news conference emphasized that pedophilia was not limited only to the Catholic Church and that most abuse took place in families.

Catholics are spread across the country, with 27 percent living in the South, 26 percent in the Northeast, 26 percent in the West and 21 percent in the Midwest, according to Pew Research Center.

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