Majority says Pope should resign

A vast majority of Austrians think the Pope should step down were there a rule that enabled him to do so.Vienna-based public opinion research agency Karmasin found that 57 per cent of Austrians are of the opinion Pope Benedict XVI should resign amid sex abuse incidents at Catholic institutions across Europe.Only 34 per cent of the 750 Austrians the institute spoke to for its survey said the Pope should stay put given the chance to resign.These results – published in today’s (Fri) edition of political magazine profil – come just weeks after a poll revealed around one million of Austria’s 5.6 million Catholics were seriously considering leaving the Church.The Integral study from last month also showed that 69 per cent thought the Church was lacking in credibility in its dealing with the increasing number of sexual and violent abuse revelations.More than 53,000 people left the Catholic Church in Austria in 2009, and local figures for the first three months of this year hint that last year’s record number could be exceeded.Austrian media reported earlier this week the Catholic Church was already negotiating ways on how to cut costs over the expected decreasing amount of membership fees.