The Pew Research Center poll released yesterday showing that American Catholics strongly favor allowing the use of birth control -- and allowing priests to marry and women to be ordained -- comes as no surprise. It has long been thus. Catholics also continue to give high marks to His Humbleness, Pope Francis, whose approval rating remains in the mid-80s, unchanged from a year ago. Even the fact that half of Catholics think the church should recognize same-sex marriage is old news, given past polls.
The more interesting news came earlier in the week, on Ash Wednesday, when an interview with Francis was published in which he revealed his willingness -- even eagerness -- to re-examine these kinds of cultural flash points.