U.S. Catholic magazine has undertaken a survey of women religious in the United States about the upcoming apostolic visitation. They plan to publish the results in January, but have already received more than 600 responses.
At the same time, the magazine also published another survey on their web site asking for reader feedback on the question of the visitation. They got a little more than they bargained for. While the initial response of readers to the visitation was somewhat negative, the poll results changed after a priest supportive of the visitation posted a link to the survey on his blog. At this point, 80 percent of the respondents classify the visitation as “necessary,” whereas in the early voting 55 percent found it “insulting and unjustified.” That’s quite a swing, and it shows the ease with which on-line polls can be manipulated. As someone who writes for U.S. Catholic, I find it highly unlikely that the current results actually represent the views of its relatively left-leaning leadership.