Irish Catholics Reject Church’s Teachings on Sex

One third of Irish Catholics may attend mass every week, one of the highest numbers in Europe, but they strongly disagree with the Church’s teachings on sex.

Commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests, the Contemporary Catholic Perspectives survey was carried out among 1,000 Catholics throughout the island of Ireland over a two-week period in February.

It found that 75% thought that what the Church had to say on sexuality had “no relevance.”

87% said that they believed that priests should be allowed to marry, 77% believed there should be women priests and 72% believed that older married men should be allowed to become priests.

61% disagreed with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Less than a fifth thought that homosexuality is immoral.

Divorced and/or separated people in a second stable relationship should be allowed to take Communion, according to 87%, with just 5% saying they should not.

According to the United Nation’s 2010 Human Development Index, Ireland has the world’s largest percentage of married women under 49 using contraception.

A survey carried out in 2008 showed that 84% of Irish people supported civil marriage or civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples, with 58% supporting full marriage rights in registry offices.

The Catholic priests’ association is regarded as ‘liberal’ and one of its leaders, Fr Tony Flannery, is being disciplined by Rome by being sent to a monastery where he might “pray and reflect” on his liberal views and his role with the association as well as being blocked from either writing or talking to the media. Flannery’s association described the Vatican’s move against him as “an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland.”

The move against Flannery is being seen in the context of the recent slamming by the Pope of a call to disobedience by Austrian priests and laity on celibacy and women priests. The Vatican’s actions have been “designed to create a climate of fear among liberal clerics,” critics charge.

One of the Catholic priests’ association’s other leaders, Fr Brendan Hoban, told the BBC that the numbers the survey found were “startling” but reflected Irish priest’s experience.

“We had the feeling all along that the way lay Catholics were being presented – as a very traditional, a very conservative group of people who weren’t open to change and were happy with the way things were and – we felt anedotally from our own experience in parishes around the country that that wasn’t the case.”

“The perception that Rome has of the Church in Ireland is very different from the perception on the ground,” Fr Hoban said.

84% of Irish people describe themselves as Catholic. In an Editorial, the Irish Times said that the Church had suffered a loss of authority “caused by sex abuse scandals and extensive cover-ups, along with the emphasis placed on personal conscience by Vatican II.”

“Rome may not be listening to the views of ordinary Irish Catholics. But there is nothing new in that,” the Times said

 

Related stories:

Catholics Fight Church’s Victims – Again

The Catholic Church’s Intolerance For Gay Rights

Could Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” Be Made Today?

 

Photo credit: Father Ted screengrab by twm1340

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100 comments

Iona S.
Iona S.3 years ago

The survey found that 35% of people in Ireland who identify themselves as Catholic attend Mass at least once a week. This means that 65% of people in Ireland who identify themselves as Cathloic attend Mass less often.

If the opinion poll did not distinguish between the two groups, its findings are not very informative.

Angela N.
Angela N.3 years ago

Thanks :D

Mandy Harker
Mandy H.3 years ago

It's about time that someone in the Catholic Church realised how disturbed and backward they are.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal3 years ago

Heaven forbid people might think outside the box, ask what Jesus would do, and question whether rules are manmade or inspired by God.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.3 years ago

Why don't liberal Catholics break away from Rome and form their own church? I think Ireland has some very positive ideas and should lead the way.

Nelson Petrie
Nelson Petrie3 years ago

It is time the people of Ireland seriously viewed their religion and thought of converting to any Protestant church, evangelical or non-evangelical. Irish people may not want to join the Church of Ireland but certainly many of these Protestant churches might satisfy their religious, social and spiritual aspirations which the Roman Catholic church has failed to give them.

Nelson Petrie
Nelson Petrie3 years ago

It is time the people of Ireland seriously viewed their religion and thought of converting to any Protestant church, evangelical or non-evangelical. Irish people may not want to join the Church of Ireland but certainly many of these Protestant churches might satisfy their religious, social and spiritual aspirations which the Roman Catholic church has failed to give them.

Nelson Petrie
Nelson Petrie3 years ago

It is time the people of Ireland seriously viewed their religion and thought of converting to any Protestant church, evangelical or non-evangelical. Irish people may not want to join the Church of Ireland but certainly many of these Protestant churches might satisfy their religious, social and spiritual aspirations which the Roman Catholic church has failed to give them.

KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Frances C.
Frances C.3 years ago

If the Catholic hierarchy ever admitted that religion, any religion, was formed from fear and superstition, it would be the end of their gravy train.