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Public trust in priests hits record low in UK, new poll finds

(Pixabay/Senlay)A new survey has found that the British public's trust in clergy has hit an all-time low.

An Ipsos MORI survey has found that the British public's trust in priests has declined to an all-time low, although the clergy still scores higher than politicians.

The findings of the long-running survey known as the Veracity Index indicated that only 65 percent of adults say they trust priests to tell the truth, down from 69 percent in 2006.

The latest figures show a continuing decline in trust for the clergy in the U.K. from 85 percent in 1983 when the priesthood was the most trusted profession.

In contrast, trust in the police reached a record high, with 74 percent of the public saying that they generally trust the police to tell the truth. The figure showed a steady increase over the past decade, before which, around 60 percent of people in any given year said they put their trust in the police.

Priests ranked significantly higher than politicians, which generally remain the least trusted profession at 17 percent. Journalists are also considered less trustworthy than priests at 27 percent, although there are some signs of improvement.

However, clergy came in below weather forecasters (76 percent), television news readers (67 percent), and only slightly above "the ordinary man/woman on the street" (64 percent).

Trust in scientists was identical to its previous high of 83 percent from 2014. The latest figure is 20 percentage points higher than the equivalent figure from 1997, an increase that is only surpassed by trust in civil servants which rose from 36 percent to 59 percent in the same period.

Nurses have been ranked as the most-trusted group of professionals at 94 percent, followed by doctors at 91 percent.

"Ipsos MORI has been tracking trust in professions for over 30 years, and over that time there have been some notable movers," Gideon Skinner, head of political polling at Ipsos MORI, said, according to The Telegraph.

"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," he added.

Baptist minister Jonathan Edwards explained to Premier that the recent scandals within the church could be a factor in the decline of trust in the clergy.

"Clearly, there are many clergy who have slipped up and done things they ought not to have done, and that tends to blacken the reputation of others," he said.

"Statistics like this should always be received by the Church with humility; we're all failed people and we should be deeply disappointed by these things," he added.

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