Catholics’ Support for Female Priests May Be Exaggerated, Researchers Say

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(Photo: Reuters/Giampiero Sposito)Faithful react as Pope Francis arrives to lead his weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican City, August 5, 2015.

Polls indicating strong support among American Catholics for opening up the priesthood to women might be overstated, according to researchers.

In 2015, the Pew Research Center released a report indicating that 59 percent of Catholics in America supported female ordination.

However, associate professor Benjamin Knoll of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, and Cammie Jo Bolin of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., have said they believe actual support for female ordination is lower.

In an entry posted to the website Religion in Public on Monday, Knoll and Bolin noted that they believe that past polling indicating strong support for female ordination suffers from respondents wanting to give a popular answer rather than what they actually believe.

Knoll and Bolin opted for a “list experiment,” in which they would provide respondents with a list of statements and ask them how many they agree with rather than which specific ones they agreed with.

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