Gallup finds the president's standing among Catholics basically unchanged since the furor engineered by Benedict's hand-picked reactionary bishops over contraception and the religious freedom of the hierarchy. It doesn't surprise me. If the Bishops had picked abortion as their planned attack on the president, and he had somehow (inconceivably) fought back, this would be very very different. But the hierarchy picked the one issue – contraception – almost none of their flock agrees with them on. And notice how there seems little difference between the more devout Catholics and the less dedicated to attending Mass.
I think the revised compromise will help him even more – and the Bishops' refusal to accept it will hurt them even more. And I think this will be particularly true among Catholics who, like me, regard abortion as far more morally troubling than contraception. Because many of us support contraception not just because we don't think non-procreative sex is a sin, but because, for fertile heterosexuals, we think it lowers the rate and risk of abortion.
If you really oppose abortion, you should back contraception, especially for those women least likely to afford it outside health insurance plans. But the new rigid fundamentalism of the John Paul II and Benedict XVI hierarchy cannot allow such moral trade-offs. But trading off the rape of children for the reputation of the church? Suddenly they get pragmatic.
I'm sorry but I find the protectors of child rapists preaching to women about contraception to be a moral obscenity. When all the implicated bishops and the Pope resign, ther replacements will have standing to preach.