Poll: Majority of Europeans say Pope Benedict was not influential and has been ignored by politicians

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Despite his attempts to turn back the clock on gay rights during his eight years at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church, a YouGov poll shows Pope Benedict XVI has been of little influence to Europeans.

According to YouGov’s latest EuroTrack survey, which tracks public opinion in Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, most people think that Pope Benedict XVI and leading Catholic bishops have not been influential in their societies.

Asked how much notice they think leading politicians have paid to the views of Pope Benedict and Catholic bishops in their respective countries, and a majority of people in every country surveyed say either “not much” or “none at all”.

In Britain, 71% say Pope Benedict has not been influential, while only 9% say he was and 21% are undecided. Amongst British Roman Catholics, 78% say politicians have not paid attention to the views of Pope Benedict, while 17% say they have and 4% aren’t sure.

In predominantly Roman Catholic France, 61% of people believe the Pope has not been influential compared to 18% who believe he has been, and 21% who are undecided.

Also, a majority of people in every country except for Germany – the birth place of Benedict – say leading politicians in their respective countries were right to not pay much notice to the Pope’s views.

Meanwhile, only a small proportion of people in every country surveyed say they attend church once a week or more. In Britain, 30% of people say they never attend church services.

Amongst British Roman Catholics, 23% say they never go to church.

The poll could make for grim reading for the outgoing Pope – if his advisers bring it to his attention.

Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation because of “lack of strength” on 11 February, will officially cease to be the head of the Roman Catholic Church tonight at 8pm.

Over the past eight years, he has pursued a staunchly anti-gay doctrine, opposing everything from condom use to equal marriage.  

PinkNews.co.uk published some of his biggest anti-gay moments in a feature this month.