The long-simmering Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has been back in the headlines following new allegations against Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., who resigned from the College of Cardinals last weekend. Pope Francis accepted the resignation — reportedly making McCarrick the first cardinal in church history to resign over allegations of sexual abuse. In addition, some church officials have been accused of having long known about at least some of the allegations against McCarrick.
Even before news stories about McCarrick came to light in recent weeks, U.S. Catholics were increasingly unhappy with the church’s handling of the sex abuse scandal. A January 2018 Pew Research Center surveyfound that just 45% of U.S. Catholics said Pope Francis is doing an “excellent” (13%) or “good” (33%) job addressing the crisis, down from 55% who said this in 2015, the last time the question was asked. The same recent survey also found that 46% of American Catholics said he is doing only a “fair” (27%) or “poor” (19%) job handling the sex abuse scandal, up from 34% three years prior.
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