Thursday, March 20, 2008

Irish Examiner National Opinion Poll on Attitudes to Catholic Church

MARCH 20TH 2008

Do you agree with the Church's stance on:

Abortion 44% Agree 41% Disagree 15% No Opinion
Same Sex Unions 31% Agree 50% Disagree 19% No Opinion
Divorce 30% Agree 57% Disagree 13% No Opinion
Contraception 23% Agree 66% Disagree 11% No Opinion

The Catholic Church is out of sync with the views of the majority of people on key issues around sex and marriage- apart from the subject of abortion.

Asked how they felt about the Catholic stance on contraception, divorce and same sex unions, more people said they disagreed than agreed with the Church's teachings. But slightly more people sided with the Church's anti-abortion stance than opposed it.

However, the survey shows a significant amount of uncertainty on these contentious issues. While half (50%)disagreed with the Church's stand against same-sex unions, almost one in five (19%) could not or would not offer an opinion.

Over half (57%) said they opposed the Church's anti-divorce teachings but one in eight (13%) did not give an opinion for or against.Even where the Church was most at odds with those surveyed- on the issue of contraception where 66% opposed the Church's stance- one in 10 (11%) still felt unable to give an opinion.

Abortion is the most divisive issue with 44% in agreement with the Church's anti-abortion stance and 41% holding against the church, but one in seven (15%) could not or would not give an opinion.

Social class and region of residence had no significant bearing on the views expressed but there was some variance among different age groups surveyed. The over 55s were most likely to agree with the Church but even amongst this group, abortion is the only issue where more than half backed the Church's line.

The youngest age group, the 18-34s, were the least likely to agree with the church on abortion, same sex unions and divorce but they were slightly more likely to agree with the Church on the contraception issue
than the 35-54 age group.

The only significant difference between the views expressed by men and women emerged on the question of same sex unions. More men (36%) than women (26%) agreed with the Church's stance.

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