Britons' trust in clergy dips to historic low -survey

The number of Britons who believe clergy to be truthful has dipped to a historic low, while the group which trusts politicians and police has shown considerable improvement and is growing in number, said a survey whose findings were released last month.

(REUTERS / Gareth Fuller / Pool)The new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sits in the Chair of St Augustine as the Dean of Canterbury Robert Willis takes him by the hand during his enthronement ceremony, in Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, southern England March 21, 2013.

The results of an Ipsos MORI poll among 998 adult respondents several weeks ago showed that only 65 percent of people in Britain believe in the honesty of priests. This was a far cry from the 85 percent who said they trusted the clergy when the annual survey was first held in 1983, The Christian Post noted.

In December last year, Premier Christian Radio reported that the proportion of people who trust clergy slightly increased to 69 percent from 67 percent in 2015. However, the figures have observably gone on a steady decline since church abuse issues emerged.

"Ipsos MORI has been tracking trust in professions for over 30 years, and over that time there have been some notable movers," said Ipsos MORI's political polling head, Gideon Skinner. "Groups such as professors, scientists, the police, trade union officials and civil servants have become more trusted, but the clergy are the most notable losers. But not everything changes — doctors, nurses and teachers have consistently been near the top, and politicians and journalists down the bottom."

The same survey showed that the most trusted professionals were nurses at 94 percent, with doctors next in line at 91 percent. People's trust in police also hit an all-time high at 74 percent, and trust in journalists rose to 27 percent.

Trust in politicians also improved from 17 to 20 percent, and those who believe government ministers made up 22 percent of the respondents. This figure was an improvement from the 19 percent result of a survey conducted before sexual harassment issues broke out in the Parliament.

Baptist minister Jonathan Edwards told Premier that the drop in clergy's trust ratings can be attributed to ministers who committed mistakes and pulled down their fellows' reputation. He said everyone has faults, but the Church should receive these figures with humility.