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  • Cardinals take part in a prayer at St. Peter’s basilica at the Vatican.

A couple of passages jumped out at me as I read “U.S. Catholics in Poll See a Church Out of Touch,” a front-page story in Thursday’s New York Times.

The poll was taken by the Times and CBS News. There was this:

Majorities said they wanted to see the next pope maintain the church’s opposition to abortion and the death penalty, even though they themselves were not opposed to them. Three-quarters of Catholics supported abortion under at least some circumstances, and three-fifths favored the death penalty.

Which reflects what is to me something attractive in human nature: its appreciation of absolutes—in their place. If the church didn’t keep reminding us that abortion and the death penalty were evil, perhaps all us relativists would stop justifying them as sometimes the lesser evil, and instead begin endorsing them as some sort of good.

War, too.